What is it about life, love, and letting go?
It’s a recurrent theme in the human animal life.
I have loved many times, I often joke that I am the Elizabeth Taylor of Charleston. (Not that I look like her in any way, it’s that I continue to have faith in LOVE.) I continue to risk falling in love and even marrying for and with LOVE.
I have also, have had many divorces and losses to death and walking away when it doesn’t work. This is the cost of love and life lived.
Recently, I’ve have been reminded of the spiritual and practical cosmology of letting go. Not a metaphorical letting go, a more “come to Jesus” letting go in life.
STOP READING HERE IF YOU’RE NOT INTERESTED IN THE COSMOLOGY OF LETTING GO.
Today is the 26th anniversary of the death of my first husband, this lifetime. He would have been 52 years old this year and who knows what we would have been together, apart, or somewhere in between.
Outside of my mom and grand-mom, he was my first and deepest lesson in loving and letting go. I still struggle with letting go and Jered. I wonder where I would be if we were together, what we’d be doing, where we’d be going.
Then, I have to stop, you are not with me and continue moving in a somewhat forward, mostly sideways with three steps forward and sometimes five steps back. Mostly, letting go and mostly trying not to cause or create sadness. Mostly trying to succeed and sadly, often failing.
Today I attended a conference. I was sitting there, and a few colleagues were there, and they shared their care and joy at my new position as an assistant professor at our local community and technical college. I was humbled and surprised myself. I cannot even believe I am where I am, pretty much every day.
Today as I left the conference, walking to my car, I started to cry. I was thinking about if those who I have loved and gone, if they were proud of me. I hope that they would be proud. I got in my car, cried for a bit, just thinking over all of the love I have had the privilege of knowing, and the privilege of being loved.
I drove home, I thought about my husband and our tiny zoo awaiting me, and I was in tears again. All that love, all that life. It has taken a million miles of life and loss to get here, but I would not change anything. The loss, the grief, the resiliency of being goofy.
I’ve been in a deep dive for a while now, approximately six months. I’ve been praying, thinking, prioritizing and working to understand and accept when life seems to be ruthlessly optimistic in a fairly existentially dystopian inclined world.
Here are my go-to’s for letting go and acceptance.
* Life is not easy and there are NO guarantees, we all have to make our life shaped by us, heart-shaped, box-shaped, circle shaped, it is our responsibility to shape it. When shit goes sideways, you can reconfigure it and tell your story. You can shape your life by paying attention to what you hold onto, what you cling too and what you deep down wish for, but yet ultimately know it won’t work out. Letting go is a bitch, but it’s necessary in order to move forward and let gOd or the diety and universal energy that you have faith in, guide you and aid you along the way. I have found that gOd has saved me, hopefully, you will find that grace too.
* I’ve worked to be a kind person. Sometimes people accept that kindness about me and find that my kindness is genuine. Sometimes they do not. I have struggled my whole life with this. This too must be accepted. You may always be the villain in someone else's story, but you do not have to be the villain in your own.
I have felt such a failure when my kindness is rebuked. I now understand that when it is rebuked, it is the responsibility of the other person to understand the kindness. It takes two, and sometimes the one cannot see past their ego, their life circumstances, or their own psychosis. I am reminded daily, that people can only meet you where they are and understand their reactions as being a part of their journey, not a rejection of me. DO NOT PERSONALIZE PEOPLE’S JOURNEYS with YOUR OWN.
* I will say this, it hurts, like f*ck when you feel the stings of rejection. It seems careless and stabbity to your heart. Instead, work to re-frame it as a way of seeing where you are, seeing what is in your heart and working toward the goal of just being authentically you. No matter what or who shows up, stay to who you are, don’t waiver and don’t accept excuses for bad or otherwise hurtful behavior. YOU will be ok, you will heal and you will surprise yourself in that you will also grow. The trick, if there is one to not getting lost in others drama, is this: Don’t personalize the pain of others and when they express that sideways, move out of the way and work toward another goal.
* I have reached out recently to folks from my past, they have not reached back. That too is ok. They don’t need to. I wanted to re-connect, they did not. That too is ok. Sometimes I am wistful for my past and sharing memories I had with someone who knew me then, my oldest memories shared anymore are with those who have known me the past 15 years. Wistful is a great word. Sadness, without being sad, but with being full of love.
*The past six months my life completely was turned upside down, by quite a few things. Some have been within my world of responsibility and most have been out of my control. I have noted that when those things happen and people know you, they also know, thankfully…when to check in with you. When to connect and when to offer their love. It’ showing up that means so much to me. I’ve struggled the past six months and wrestled the demons of my past and my now, I’ve wrestled with gOd and the angels of late. It’s been actually, dark. I am just now seeing the light that is offered and the joy that can be there in life. When you learn to let go, not attach to the outcomes of others, but to your heart and your faith, life does turn itself back to you. It is not easy this time in my life, but I know it will pass, and it might not go gently into that good night, but it will be the dark night of my soul that has helped me to reconnect to my authentic and heart-centered nature.
Over the next few weeks, you may see me, I may cry in your presence, over something that may seem trivial to you, but in my heart, it means such a great deal to me. I may seek to connect and reconcile with you, as I have NEVER been a grudge holder or someone who likes to hold their old wounds close. I may cry, laugh, or otherwise just want to hold your hand if I see you. I saw someone at Kroger the other day while getting fuel, I hugged them, started crying, as I hadn’t seen them in a LONG time. They said they missed me. That was all it took. To be missed, or to be seen. Sometimes it is both.
You may see me and I may just share some goofy shit with you about life, you may inquire to me personally what’s going on and I will share authentically what is happening, do not be scared, it and life are not contagious. What happens to one person, does not mean it translates to another. Promise.
* I enjoy and nurture the relationships that have authentic reality and honesty. Even when I piss you off, it’s ok. I’m sure that happens to most, but the point is, maybe, just maybe, we move beyond it and look to find what we loved and cherished in our friendships before. If that is still there, we carry on, if not, we are free to move on.
* I am also making changes in my world, those that will be for the betterment of my life. Life has been exceptionally stressful in some areas, I will be letting go of that and changing up others. I need to do that in order to stay healthy and well this lifetime. I hope to show up in your life, healthy and well, so that we may connect.
Letting go and Loving, it’s all about compassion. Love is as much letting go as it is holding close. I love those who have loved me, and let me go as much as I love those who love me and over the past months have shown up. Thank you! My gratitude and my life cup, it has runneth over. I am grateful, each and every day as I make my way through this, together and alone. Letting go and holding close.