Writing these past few weeks has been difficult. Work is up to my eyeballs and spilling over, as I am in the middle of report cards. I have a new assignment this year and the reporting process is quite different. I continue to approach life differently than I have in the past. I’m not overwhelming myself with the work and it is taking a lot of my time and energy. I’ve felt it more in the last week. When I take the time to breathe, I find myself fighting back the tears. My choice is often to stop the tears. My goal in the next week is to breathe more and let the tears happen when I am aware of them. I can really hold on to not letting this happen.
My choice was to not write an article for Into the Centre again this week. I just finished writing an email response to a friend from Phase 1 at Haven and I realized how much I enjoy writing and how much I have learned from taking the time to write in these past few years. I decided to start writing this and see where it went. I also decided to go back to journaling.
Last night, I sat in front of the TV watching a movie and sorting through another of the endless boxes we have in storage. This one contained old journals and cards. I found a couple of journals from before I started therapy back in 1982. I skimmed through some of the entries. Wow — have I ever learned a lot since then! I was amazed. I almost threw them out, thinking they had no meaning for me. In the end I decided to keep them as a reminder of where I have come from.
As I wrote to my friend just a few moments ago, life is about living in the present and letting go of the past. My friend is struggling with letting go of the past. She wondered if her experience was just a necessary part of letting go. I responded that “nothing is necessary.” Letting go just is. I think letting go is just attaching less importance to something. In fact, it can be very simple — and she is making it a very long and difficult process.
I reflected back on my journals and remembered how difficult it was, back then, to let go of so much. I struggled and struggled, trying to let go, and there I was stuck for some time. The more I struggled, the less it seemed likely that I would ever be able to let go. Life seemed to be just that — a struggle. And then I chose differently. I simply let go of my grasping. Nothing to it. An opening of my hands. A change of my focus. Turning my attention in a different direction. A realization that the past is simply that — the past. It has no impact on the present except the one I choose to give it.
Letting go was simply making another choice. Trying out new patterns. Recognizing the old ones for what they are. Giving myself grief for catching myself in an old pattern is a complete waste of time. They will always be there. They will sneak out of the most unusual places and I will get caught. From those experiences, I will learn. That is my life and I imagine that is true for most people. It is all about getting more elegant at catching ourselves, not about giving ourselves grief for all the times we got something wrong. There is no moving forward from that place.
I can catch myself holding on. Not wanting to let go. And I can hold on very, very tightly. At this moment, I am desperately holding on to the belief that I can’t let go and let the tears flow. I’m not caught in the struggle of this. I don’t expect to ever go back into that struggle again. I don’t see it as a great long learning process that I have to work my way through. It is simply my choice at this moment. Not a “good” one — and it is my choice. I recognize that. If I choose not to let go, then I take responsibility for that choice.
I may choose to hold onto something because I am not ready simply to let go. I’m simply not ready to let go of the control I have over my tears. It is not because letting go is too difficult or there is this great list of experiences that I have to go through before I can let go. I don’t see it as a long process. I see it as a choice. I will let go when I make that choice.
At that moment it will be simple. The tears will flow. I’ll go back to the control again and again. I will choose to let go of the control again and again. I will simply notice when I choose control over expression and wonder why. I will not go into self hate because I did it again. That serves no useful purpose in my life.
My past is filled with hurts and pain. I accept all of that with gratitude. It has made me who I am today. I would not change a thing. I like who I have become. I have worked through the anger and let it go. I have let the past go. Those experiences have played a big part in me becoming me. I will often catch myself in old patterns. When I notice, I simply make different choices. Ones that work for me now. It is all learning. It is all me. It is all about choice.