When I was in high school my parents got divorced. My mom, younger brother and I moved twice before I left for college while my dad moved to another city.
It was a tumultuous time of high emotions, tears and confusion for everyone in my family. Well, what used to be my family.
As a restless ungrounded teen, I began going to more parties and concerts. My GPA went down to a 1.8 and I barely graduated from high school. I was mad at the world and the circumstances around me, social and personal.
Without direction, I threw myself into my independence. I moved out of town, paid my own rent, got myself into college and filled my own gas tank. My GPA jumped to a 3.8 and I realized I had reinvented myself.
It took letting go of my old self first, which I had gladly done. I still had a bone to pick with society but I was gaining tools and exploring making my own decisions.
I recently did a meditation that talked about being with what is. Easier said than done.
Taking time to be with things as they are, without trying to change them or manipulate my way out of my discomfort if things aren’t quite the way I want them to be, has become a lifelong practice.
I’ve learned that disappointments and setbacks come in cycles. That when things get difficult, they won’t stay that way for long. If I can embrace what is, instead of resisting it, grasping onto a belief that things “should be” some other way, I get to the other side more quickly.
I learn and grow. My perspective and the world around me transforms. This is the gift.
Remembering this practice is most challenging when it comes to death, illness, divorce and loss in general. Trying to make sense of something in the thick of feeling the pain of it is not easy at all.
I name these times rites of passage. When we let go of something that no longer contributes to the path we are on, consciously or unconsciously. When the snake sheds its skin, willingly or unwillingly, it’s time.
Sometimes it’s simply giving up the idea that things should be a different way other than the way they are. To get complete when the end of something has come. To recognize it as that, be honest with ourselves, and surrender to what’s next with curiosity and an open heart.
What are you holding onto these days? What are you shaking your fist at the sky about, cursing, kicking and complaining about?
This usually points to the stuck place. The place where we carry the lodged up pain we refuse to feel. The place where the pipe is backed up with muck because we’re not quite ready to push it through and be with the mess of the past.
I’ve been having wonderful conversations with my husband recently about how when we have complaints about the behaviors of other people, it points to our own destructive behaviors that we likely have not been willing or ready to admit to.
I likened it to dream interpretation where every character in our dreams is an aspect of ourselves.
What is the world mirroring back that wants to be healed in you?