Just move your fingers, open that palm and release. I recently attended a weekly acting class, which was an attempt to fill in the gaping chasm of time when my relationship ended. And also to tick off things on my personal to do list. The class was everything I hoped it would be. Funny, silly, challenging, sad, difficult and exhausting. The ‘group’ clicked within a couple of weeks and those that didn’t fell away. We were left with a mixture of personalities, experiences, hang ups and dreams. I loved it. It was a time for release and let go. I learnt to react to other ‘actors’, although I still regret not accepting a marriage proposal in an improv session. Chris, you were right, it would have been funnier to accept. Sorry mate.
Letting go is a well being mantra. An easy route to a calmer mind. Especially letting go of people. And doubly so if those people are bad for you in some way. I believe that we are a mixture of good and bad and it’s just our behaviour that changes, dependent on the situation we are facing. I’ve come up with an internal test, which seems to work. The first is – if I feel a physical reaction to something, usually in my stomach then I start listening more carefully. Usually the good old gut instinct works every time. However there is a caveat to this one. Sometimes it’s just because you need to place boundaries with someone and my gut is reacting as they are stepping over them. This isn’t a done deal, as once the boundaries are in place and they know how far they can go, it’s off we head to friendship town. Hopefully. The other is time. If I have (again) a physical reaction to something (I go quiet, tense up, frown, hold my breath, look down or away, cross my arms), and I’m still thinking about what was said a couple of day’s later, then it needs to be discussed. Most of the time it can be worked out, in my experience. But sometimes it can lead to a parting. A letting go and release.
I recently decided to let go of three people in my life. From a social construct pecking order they loom large in life. I gave them a choice. I clearly was not giving them what they needed and was in fact causing upset, so I said they could let me go. One has done so (bye bye FB) and the other two have gone quiet. Not surprisingly, as I did vent vociferously at one of them. But after years of not being heard, sometimes you have to scream. The reasons behind this letting go and release are complex, upsetting and lead to numbness and despair. This writing is about the discovery of just how deep a hole they have left. It’s like the more damage someone does to you, the wider the chasm of grief when they leave. I had this when I made room for having children. I widen out a huge canyon in my schedule, mental health, physical home, compassion, patience and relationship. I prepared to be invaded and be taken over with difficult decisions, but hopefully much love. That canyon was never filled. It remained empty after many years. Filling it back up was painful and slow going. I wandered around it’s cold floor searching for something, anything. So I filled it with all the bad things at first, food, sex, alcohol, arguments and fear. But eventually it got covered over and I’m back on terra firmer. Although it seems to have the occasional sink hole when a ridiculously cute baby comes into view.
So these people kicked around in my psyche, made themselves at home and became a house guest who is out of control. Maybe I have Stockholm Syndrome, along with lots of other people. “These alliances result from a bond formed between captor and captives during intimate time together, but they are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims” Intimate time together could be being forced to interact with members of family. Now I know that seriously suggesting that victims of kidnap somehow have the same experience as being part of a family you don’t feel you belong, is I agree, a stretch. But the concept is an interesting one. You are placed with people who are supposed to be like you, you spend minutes, hours, years together. You become ‘intimate’ in that they are supposed to know you. And you identify with them, believe them, want to please them and make them happy.
Even though these people are “supposed” to be a huge part of my life, they can’t be. They damage me and I them. However, the crater which has been left behind is cold, dark and terrifying. I am lost again, alone, untethered, flailing and panicked. This time I hope I don’t fill this with the things that are bad for me. I hope I will be kinder to myself while I fill it up.
I want to remind myself that spending time with those who make me feel understood, accepted, loyal and loving are those I want to share my incredibly precious time with. I want to look forward to seeing them, I want to feel blessed and I want to rise to a place of warmth and contentment.