Let go of the things that no longer serve you.
This is my 2016 mantra.
I run shit into the ground pretty hard, particularly things and people that turn out to be negative influences on me for a myriad of reasons. I just can’t fathom giving up sometimes until whatever it is has gone so far off the rails that it might as well be dead. I need it to be dead. I’m driven by hope and possibility and probably an unfailing, naive optimism that people are their highest selves inside somewhere, and that I have some magical power to bring that out in them. What a narcissist.
Instead of being irritated at my natural compassion and huge threshold for pain, I try to frame my relentless exposure to patterns of self-sabotage as some kind of samsara of gaining knowledge and tools so I can climb higher. I choose to believe life gives me what I need to have, even if sometimes that’s painful. Seemingly pointlessly so.
I value closure, resolution, and hard stops. Completion. I like things to be finished and know the whys and hows. I want a bow around it, and I want to know I did everything in my power to save it. I will analyze and turn things over in my mind until they are just abstract concepts, as if thinking obsessively could somehow will things into being as if by magic. I will stay awake at night trying to decipher someone’s cryptic motivation for an action that generally has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them. The new trend of ghosting and just dropping off the face of the earth, or just never talking about the things you really should be talking about, this everyone is disposable world… it’s unconscionable.
I am probably going to actually die from being ignored.
I try to live my life in a way that doesn’t hurt people. I want to be kind and fun and dependable and someone with character that can be trusted. I want to be present and available and helpful and loving. I strive for honesty and truth in my relationships. I tell people the things I need to tell them. I’d say by looking around my life at the people in it, I’m doing a good job of being a decent human person. But there are always going to be those times where someone just decides they don’t care to be in my sphere. Be it romance, or friendship, or work. Not everyone is going to like you all the time. Life fact. I know. It’s the worst. I am totally a sweet, dumb dog in a world full of nonchalant cats.
|ACCEPT MY LOVE, CAT.|
Accepting this, the idea that I could have done some unknown horror to someone I care about and never know that I did it, is almost impossible to bear. I have to really work at it, as there’s a quagmire of fear, hurt, and rejection that sucks me in and tries to swallow me. We empaths have to accept that not everything needs to be talked about and analyzed forever. Not everyone needs to hash things out in this way until there is a resounding solution. Some problems never get solved. Some relationships never happen. Some things just are as they are, there is no why.
We must respect boundaries, even when, especially when we don’t understand why they are there. Especially when they are not the same as ours. Not everyone has the ability or desire to say what they really want to all the time. Some people don’t need that. They just need space and time and distance. We must learn to really hear the silence, and take that as a resounding and clear signal that our time is done. Sometimes the colony collapses and leaves the queen alone and she never knows why.
So how do we let go?
Fire up your internal spotlight. Chances are, you already know what needs to go. You’ve got a closet full of emotional bullshit you’ve been meaning to take to the charity shop, but you’re holding on to that party dress just in case full body sequins come back this year. And if you’re not sure, ask yourself, in the words of the illustrious Janet Jackson, “What has he done for me lately?” Or, you know, it. What has it done? Whatever. My point is, people show you who they are. Trust that. Get inside your head and heart and figure out what’s giving you that anxious feeling and get rid of it. (I’m speaking metaphorically. You always look good though. For real.)
Be here now. Clinging on to some old place and time or the hope of a future that may not come to be is futile and takes your energy away from the present. What and who do you have in your life this instant that makes you feel your best? Form a protective circle with those things and set up camp in the middle of it.
Say goodbye. It may sound cheesy and silly, but releasing rituals really do help. This can be as simple as just saying goodbye in a letter or note, even one you never send. It can be gratitude toward the purpose that was served in your life by this person or thing. It can be whatever symbolic act makes you feel good. Here are some I like: (because fire, come on.)
Start where you are. Someone quoted this to me once from the deeply wise Pema Chödrön and it remains one of my most cherished spiritual ideas. We tend to manifest what we need in life, right where we are. In fact, she says it so well…
“WE ALREADY HAVE everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.”
Dance it out. Because all my life advice begins and ends with getting your jive on with your body and music and breath and life and your protective circle. Do it up.