Do You Have an Inner Thorn that Needs Removing?

Do You Have an Inner Thorn that Needs Removing?

If you haven’t read Michael Singer’s “The Untethered Soul” yet, do yourself a favor and go buy the book; that is, if you want personal freedom and inner peace. Singer takes you on a journey that is easy to understand, yet is profound in many ways. One of my favorite chapters is Chapter 9: Removing Your Inner Thorn, which is about welcoming life’s challenges and seeing them as opportunities for growth.untetheredsoul

Life’s obstacles can be viewed as “your inner thorns” and may include anger, fear, envy, and more. In my own life, I held onto these issues for a very long time, never being aware I had a choice. In fact, all I knew was that I “protected” them by altering my behavior so they would not be so painful. Many times, that meant pushing them down, denying they even existed, even though they were ever so present in my life. It was like playing the boardwalk game “whack-a-mole”, where I would bop one problem down only to see another pop-up. This was a recurring theme in my life. Have you had this happen?clawmarks

When I got sober in 2000, the veil was lifted, leaving me cognizant I had choices. I had choices!  This meant I could keep protecting my problems or I could remove them. Choosing the latter, I simply let them go. By not holding to anything that weighed me down, I was now free. My chords were cut. Although this is a simple solution, it is not easy! Everything I let go of in my life had claw marks all over it.

One day, as I was sitting in my orthopedic doctor’s office, a miracle occurred.  Let me give you the background.

The Friday before Labor Day, 2013, I had an MRI of my knee to rule in/out a meniscus tear. The results were available in 48 hours, but since it was a holiday weekend I wouldn’t be informed until the following Tuesday. By Wednesday, after not hearing from the doctor’s office, I called asking for the outcome. Since no one was able to come to the phone, I left a message. The same thing happened on Thursday. By Friday I was thoroughly irritated and I told the receptionist I was staying on the phone until I spoke to someone. The PA took the call and was surprised because she told her assistant to call me to find out where the MRI was taken. When I informed her of the location, she promised to call me right back. Within twenty minutes she was on the phone telling me a tear was present and I needed surgery.

Since my insurance was to be renewed October 1st, and knowing I had an appointment at the end of the month, I asked if it could be rescheduled for an earlier time, allowing sufficient time to schedule the operation. The PA told me there was an opening at 9 am that Monday, but at a different location. “Great, I’ll take it”, I told her and was beginning to let go of my earlier agitation at the staff’s ineptitude. thorn

Scenario: I arrive at the new location at 8:50 am and check-in a full ten minutes early. As I sat down to wait, I began reading Chapter 9: “Removing Your Inner Thorn”. Twenty minutes later, the receptionist called me upfront and asked, “What are you doing here? Your appointment isn’t until the end of the month.” Without any emotion, I related what I was told, and her reply was, “Oh, we’ll have to squeeze you in here somewhere.”

As I sat down and waited another thirty-five minutes, there was no angst within me at all. I just watched as the spectacle, the angst, just passed me by. I didn’t have to remove my inner thorn, because I never allowed the thorn to come in, in the first place. Now that, my friends, is a true miracle!









Have you ever held onto anger when you’ve been cut off by another car? I have, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. My stomach would knot, my chest felt like it was about to explode, and I would bless the driver with my middle finger. It was a personal attack on me. So personal, I  knew they planned to cut me, Debbie Gill, off, on Friday, August 13, 1999, at the on-ramp of Rte. 1 and I-95  precisely at 4:46 pm! The anger and resentment overflowed within me. As a result, I took my rage out on unsuspecting and undeserving people, such as my partner, friends, and parents.

There are many other ways I cultivated resentments: having expectations, trying to control others and not being able to, and being betrayed by a lover or spouse, to name a few. Needless to say, I wasn’t a pleasant person to be around. It wasn’t until the following year, when, after an 8-month relapse, that I understood the meaning of an expression from AA (not Buddha, as most people think), “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” The quote I love the most is, “Resentment is when you’re an asshole in a bad neighborhood!” You resend the hurt over and over, the story gets bigger and bigger, and the “offender” has no clue; they’re off somewhere in the world having a great time! Now tell me, who’s hurting who?

How did I let go of the anger and resentment? It wasn’t easy and may take time, but be patient with yourself. The following steps are the ones I took to overcome this significant barrier to peace and serenity:

Step 1. Follow Step 3 in the AA 12-step program: “Made a decision to turn our will and our life over to care of God as I understand Him.” This step is a biggie, but it is the cornerstone of my “letting go.”  “Let go and let God.”

Step 2. Realize you have a choice: hold onto the anger and resentment, ruminating about it, or release it by reflecting on why someone may have wronged you; sit with the hurt so you can then choose to forgive. Think of several redeeming qualities the person who harmed you has.

Step 3. There’s a wise story in the back called “Freedom From Bondage in the Big Book of AA.” A profound betrayal deeply wounded me, so much I wanted revenge. My sponsor told me to read this story. The gist of it is: “Get down on your knees and pray for that person – even if you don’t mean it. Do this every morning and night for two weeks,” and the resentment will begin to recede, which leads to:

Step 4. Forgiveness. You choose to forgive the other person, not for them, nor condone what they did. But forgiveness is necessary for you to open your heart to love again. And my dear friend, love is all we need.


To learn more about how you can let go of resentments, schedule a free 15-minute assessment today!