When he decided our marriage was over, I didn’t know how to let go. When he collected his family, colleagues, clients and friends and drew a line in the sand, I didn’t know how to let go. When he began seeing another woman and spending nights out, I didn’t know how to let go. When he introduced our children to the other woman, I didn’t know how to let go. When our house went into foreclosure, I didn’t know how to let go. And I was dragged. I was dragged. I was dragged. And it hurt, how it hurt, how it hurt. But I survived. I began to pray to God Show me how to let go. Show me how to surrender gracefully. Slowly but surely, Life revealed to me what remained when what was no longer serving me was dragged away. I’m finding more stable ground, and learning how to love what is here, now. I’m discovering that I’m happier by myself, healthier living in alignment with my deeper self, more confident speaking with my true voice, grateful for the simple things, the simple grace of being. I am grateful for this sweet surrender to life.
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, eventually 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 spiritual bypassing— 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? Peace. I think I’ll keep praying.
Tomorrow morning 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 spaciousness, in trust, in a willingness to feel what is alive, right now.