She stopped. Sat down.
Breathed. Ventured within.
As her shoulders relaxed away from her ears
She could hear the same old fears
rattling around her brain,
clamoring for attention.
She dropped her awareness deeper,
all the way down into her belly.
There she felt the ancient tension
of the ones who struggled for survival,
the ones who toiled and strained
and numbed their pain
with the fruit of the vine
again and again.
Then she prayed,
calling in the Angels,
The Teachers, The Wise Ones,
The Guides, The Ascended Masters,
The Well Ancestors:
Thank you for being present.
Thank you for holding me
in your Matrix of Light.
Thank you for rewiring my neural circuitry.
Thank you for restructuring my DNA.
Thank you for helping me to
see what needs to be seen,
do what needs to be done,
hear what needs to be heard,
forgive what needs to be forgiven,
heal what needs to be healed…
Breath by breath,
forward and backward,
across all time and all space,
she sits complete within herself
in the center of this Universal Mandala
feeling and knowing
ALL IS WELL.
Forgiveness cannot be forced.
When my family fell apart
I tried to rush to forgiveness,
thinking that it would speed up
the healing process.
But I was just engaging in
using my spirituality
to circumvent the messy trenches
of deep grief and traumatic loss.
I prayed to God to show me the way,
hoping I could fly over
the dark valley and avoid
what lurked there in the shadows
of my deepest, darkest memories.
I read books and listened to speakers,
I attended meetings,
I thought I knew what I was doing,
but I was really attempting
to avoid the inevitable.
Finally I discovered
that what I really needed
was to allow myself to feel.
I had to go through the grieving process.
I had to face the loss of the life I knew,
I had to take each day
one at a time.
Some days the pain was so intense
I didn’t think I could live through it.
People would tell me
It won’t be like this forever;
I didn’t believe them.
Over time, as I remained clear
and focused on my goal
to find a place for me and my kids,
I noticed the fog was lifting;
I felt more like myself
with each passing day.
Looking back I see
that it was my effort to heal
that blocked the healing.
It was my belief
that things should be a certain way
that kept me from embracing things
as they were.
And now I’m still working on forgiveness,
but at least I have the sense now
to allow that grace to come, naturally,
when the time is right
and my heart is ripe
for such sweetness…
I’ve been turning my will and my life over
to a power greater than myself…
At first I was just dipping my toe into these waters,
foreign waters, ones I was told to deny and mistrust.
But it struck me one day that those who were telling me
that a Higher Power didn’t exist weren’t happy people!
Rule of Happiness #1:
Don’t take advice from unhappy people.
So I decided to try something different,
and admit I knew nothing,
and I had no control,
and things had become unmanageable…
and I began to pray…
I turn this day over to you.
I turn my life over to you.
Guide me, let me surrender to your will,
show me how to surrender gracefully,
and let me do your good work this day.
I’ve been praying like this for months.
You know what is starting to happen?
I think I’ll keep praying.
I hand over the keys to my old house.
This evening I brought my children,
7 and 9 years old,
over to the old house to say goodbye.
We lived there for almost five years,
and when you’re 7 and 9,
that’s a good portion of your life.
They had fun running through the empty house,
their whoops and hollers echoing off the bare walls.
I walked room to room, thanking the house.
I said goodbye to the experiences it held,
good and bad.
I said goodbye to the kitchen island,
the epicenter of my creative expression there,
where so much fabric was cut for sewing,
so much art was made,
many meals prepared,
many words exchanged.
So many feelings now.
Relief to let go.
The pain of still healing wounds,
the memory of the grief and loss,
and the love that was shared there too.
I can remember all of it.
We returned to our new home,
still piled high with boxes,
little paths running through them.
I made a big pot of chicken soup
and we sat in the kitchen together,
the kids goofing off,
giggling with their noodle mustaches,
droplets of broth flying…
I’m grateful for them.
Just when I thought my heart might break
from another surge of memory,
they remind me that
home is here
and life is now
and love is real and present
and there is nothing missing.
Ok. Brace yourselves.
I’m almost all the way moved in.
Just one or two more CARLOADS.
I mean…how did I accumulate all this stuff?
People are telling me
Just be patient.
You just moved in.
Unpacking takes time.
And I’m thinking
I have way too much stuff.
I hoping that my letting go muscle
will get stronger and stronger
as I go through this.
I took one carload to Goodwill today…
toys, shoes, baby clothes, rugs,
shower curtains, towels…
and a beautiful (expensive) bedspread
that we got as a wedding present…
I looked at it last night and thought,
I couldn’t possibly take a new lover
into my bed with this thing on it.
(I mean, I’ve been celibate for 2.5 years,
but maybe someday there will be
a lover in my midst…)
And so this bedspread had to go.
I keep holding a vision
of myself in a better place
and I look at these objects
and ask if I want to take them with me
into my future.
If it doesn’t fit with my future vision,
I let it go.
I didn’t realize that I had been working so hard
my whole entire life
to arrive in this moment
with enough strength
to simply let go.
As I sort through boxes of papers,
kids’ drawings, greeting cards,
old photos, clippings,
my drawings, lists upon lists
of ideas, plans, goals,
as I survey many more boxes to go through,
boxes of stuff…random bits…
appliances, cleaning products,
textiles of every kind,
doodads and thingamabobs,
it brings new meaning to the phrase
Going through it.
I, my friends, am really
Going through it.
I’m going through layers upon layers
of the life I shared with another
when we were married,
when we were a family of four.
He left and took what he wanted.
He left me responsible for the rest.
I am going through it.
It strikes me as odd and yet fitting,
that I would need to take my old life
with me to this new place
in order to see how my old life
doesn’t fit in here.
I had to feel this feeling of my old life not fitting
in order to go through it and release
what no longer serves,
what is too heavy,
too laced with old memories.
I didn’t feel safe letting go in the old house.
Somehow the old things protected me.
But I had to leave the house we shared;
it’s no longer mine, or his.
So I took all our stuff with me,
and crammed it into my new space,
a smaller space,
a much smaller space.
Boxes and bags and bins
and little pathways in between,
it has felt like a hoarder’s den
the last few days,
as I carted the last bits
from the old to the new.
I see now:
My old life is choking the new.
I had to feel this.
I had to feel this discomfort.
I had to feel this feeling
of drowning in my old life,
surrounded by what no longer works,
so that I could clear some space
to welcome the life that wants to be lived
when I’m willing to stand in the present moment,
in a willingness to feel what is alive, right now.
Back and forth
and back and forth
between the two worlds.
And slowly what was before
is transferred over to what is now.
If I keep taking this stuff with me
wherever I go,
I’ll keep having the same experiences
over and over and over.
I’m ready for something different,
but I need to learn to let go.
I can hear the shaming voice,
the one who blames me,
who tells me I never get anything right.
And then I need to just sit and breathe
I can’t get this wrong.
No matter what happens,
life will hold me.
Can I surrender into this infinite embrace,
and just allow what is to be?