Piggy Bank

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I’ve seen many variations of the thankful jar: a container that you jot down your joys or blessings, watching it fill, so that at the end of the year, you can unfold the papers and delight in the many simple treasures you’ve received.

The thankful jar is a gorgeous idea, but I don’t really want to store up my treasures that way.  What I want – nay, what I need – to get out, are feelings much more unpleasant.

Sometimes I feel selfish.  Or jealous.  Or angry.  Or really, really alone.

The thing is, I know that these ugly feelings are, at their core, never from the source which I might so easily and mistakenly point them to.

In that whiny little girl voice, I stomp my foot and bellow, “I know it, but it’s just not faaaaaaaair…”


So then I let out a big long sigh, tell myself that I’ll be ok, and I slide barely by another inburst of frustration.  Yes, I said inburst.

Over time, though, something really toxic begins to happen if these feelings are not actually let out.

So, I’m working on a very intentional way of letting these feelings out – while reminding myself, of course, that the source of my sorrow or anger is rarely ever with a person; not down to the real core of the issue, anyway.  It’s with generations, centuries even, of bottling up feelings or dishing them out where they don’t actually belong.

While reading from my favorite book today, I came across something I had glossed over many times before, but this time, something about it really resonated with me.  Here’s how it goes:

A violent man meets a healer.

The first man was possessed with a spirit that caused violence, and this hostile spirit (not the man, mind you, but this foreign spirit within him) spoke to the healer, saying, “What do you want from us… Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

The story continues, that the healer took the spirit from the man and released it into a pig, and that the pig ran directly into the river and died.

I’m not violent – not externally, anyway.  But this issue with bottling up feelings, with shoo-shooing them away until I feel trapped in loneliness?  It’s imploding.  And imploding is just as violent as exploding.

The interesting thing, is that this man and the spirit were not one-and-the-same.  The man, with help, was released from the bondage and was set free.

So, back to me, and my imploding.

Because I am setting a deliberate intention to release my feelings, discontinuing their permission to fester within me, it means I will need to be mindful of how I am releasing them, and where I am placing them.

When I feel someone hurts me, I can remember that my feelings count, that it’s entirely appropriate to get the ugly out, while being mindful of the realization that the person is living in their own place in their own path and that truly the only way any of us, ever, are going to release the feelings that can otherwise fester, and to do so responsibly, wisely, lovingly, without pointing fingers at others is to call upon that one healer who did this for that one man, so many years ago.

What about you?

Can you cast out your anger without hurting anybody?

Can you remember that the person who hurt you is trying to sort out how they too, can unpack their hurts without hurting others?  That hurting them back doesn’t teach them anything?

The lesson to this biblical account is not about hating pigs or cruelty to animals, it’s about releasing something that the person had no business harboring and doing so in a way that protected himself and others around him, so that he could be freed, so that he could heal, so that he – and those around him – could safely grow.  The man’s own weary, worn down intellect was all that stopped him from being the one who dashed to his own death, and this is such a sobering and serious reality.  Our festered discontent can absolutely plummet us down to the depths of drowning.  Our lonely efforts sometimes aren’t enough to keep us from sinking  – we might need a counselor, a healer, a trusted friend.

I know it sounds very silly, but when the healer drew out the negative thing and put it into a pig, that’s such a perfect reminder for me.  So much so that from now on, in the place in my home where I curl up to write my feelings into my journal, when I speak about my frustrations aloud, wherever I am that I need to release the ugly but do so purely in protection of myself and others, to remind myself that this issue with trying to do this well is as old as antiquity, I am going to keep a little pink pig near me as a visual reminder.

My little piggy bank will be my reminder that I can store up treasures in a whole new way – by releasing the ugly to make room for the entirely beautiful.  I’m so excited.  Do you have any kind of visual reminder you use, to reminds you that feelings of shame, guilt, regret, dread, do not define you? To keep things in perspective for you when you feel you might lose your temper, lose control of your feelings, lash out, or implode?

What works for you?

Do you want to try the piggy bank?  You can use an actual piggy bank, or a drawing, painting, bracelet, keychain, doodle or photo of a pig – anything that can be an instant visual reminder that you can get it out so that you can grow.  Share your stories and send in your photos here at stillbirthday!





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