Learning to Let Go is the Hardest Thing to Do
This month I talk about GRIEVING and how it is an important part of letting go and moving on.
In a YouTube segment by Kelly Corrigan, when she said that it is as much an honor to witness a birth as it is to witness one's passing, I started to see the 'book-ends' in our lives from a new perspective and to confirm that our tangible existence is made up of many layers. The physicalness of acknowledging a loved one moving from the material world back to the spiritual world is honored in structured rituals; wakes, sitting Shiva, funerals, bagpipes at dusk, 21-gun salutes. But what about the invisible passing of something internal; saying goodbye to your childhood fantasies of becoming a professional athlete, saying goodbye to your innocence, saying goodbye to your fears, saying goodbye to the desire finally for once and for all to be truly loved by your parents or accepted by your siblings?
How do we ritualize these passings? How do we get permission to let go of what has defined us all these years even if it was dysfunctional...you had ownership of your dysfunction.
Our identity, for better or for worse, is made up of both natural instincts and behaviors learned in order to survive our childhoods. Many of us have come to the fork in the road where we no longer want to live our lives on two tracks...one which is authentically us and the other what we adapted to in order to please others; we are tired, fed up and angry that we traded off our souls for the unobtainable. But surrendering those scars takes a lot of time and discipline. Healing moves in gentle cat steps, one paw at a time.
Grieving and mourning can function on many levels, but it is an integral part of letting go and moving on. Learning to be compassionate with our scars and giving ourselves permission to mourn those losses is huge.
Naming the elephant in the living room in and of itself is a big accomplishment; identifying WHAT the loss is begins the journey of healing.
How do we start to forgive those who have trespassed on our psyche? A common mistake we make is comparing our loss and suffering to another. Many years ago when I was in formal therapy and my therapist was trying to get me to see that I had a choice to let go and move on, I bemoaned that I felt spoiled...my level of pain and loss did not compare to a friend's whose father literally dragged her around by her long hair when he was in a rage...what right did I have to complain?
She explained to me that my damage is as profound as hers because it was my experience...and that's all the justification one needs. This is YOUR life, not someone else's. You have the power to fix only one life...yours.
And BTW, no one is sitting high atop a tennis match being the referee of your life unless you put them there.