September 03, 2012

Can We Really Let Go Of The Past?



“You have an inability to give up what has already been taken.  Until you let go of the people and possessions that no longer represent who you are, or want to be new opportunities are blocked.  Surrender rather than waste time and energy clinging to suffocating familiarity.”



This is what I was meditating on tonight.  I have read this paragraph a hundred times, but never understood it until this moment.  Okay actually I don't understand it, I'm more confused than ever, and you poor souls have to read me hashing it out. 

 I have convinced myself, quite well actually, that I had put all my heartbreak, mistakes, regrets, etc. in the past, and was moving forward.  But then I read, “Let go of the people…that no longer represent who you are”.  That really struck a nerve.  I began to examine how I define myself, or even more simply, how I introduce myself.  Quite often, not far into conversation, the words divorce, single mother, smokin’ hot, creep into conversation.  And while those might be necessary to explain circumstance, they do not explain me, who I am, what I stand for.  Except for smokin' hot, totally represent in that area.

“You have the inability to give up what has already been taken.”



Cling, cleave, and hold fast to all of our shattered dreams and broken hearts.  Even in revenge or hatred, we cling to what we used to have.  We hold on to  “what might have been” for such a long time, for some it may be forever.  What is lost will not be returned to us.   As much as I believe we live in a miraculous world of endless possibility, my Ex-husband may never see the error of his ways. It seems forgive and forget gets mangled in our wounds and scars.

I don’t want you to get the idea that I am missing my marriage one bit, I do not.  But it never did occur to me until tonight that I did sorely miss the thought of it.  The happy ever after that I had sworn before God and friends, was broken.  I also think (gulp) that I use divorce as a bit of an excuse sometimes for how hard things are.  Not that I'm sitting on my tush doing nothing, but there is the blame piece.  I have someone to be mad at when things aren't going my way, or aren't how I wish they would be. 
 
I think for as much healing as I have done, I do catch myself saying, “my life was never supposed to be like this.”  It makes me angry and resentful.  In that moment, I think if he had never done x, y, and z, we might still be married and I wouldn’t have to deal with this.  That’s a little smoke and mirrors game my heart and head plays with one another.  Because if I rationally sit down and think about it, my life would be worse, I would be miserable living with an addict, and my children in an unsafe place.  Why do I have any anger in moving forward to a better happier place?   In many ways I know  my life is richer, fuller, more satisfying as it is now.  But sometimes it’s damn hard, and I just don’t feel like pulling up the boot straps and soldiering on.  

I never should've quit therapy, because I could use some insight here.  If I am ten times happier than I've ever been, why am I still angry about not having what "could've been".  Could've been is complete crap and I don't want it, why do I still care?  I should be happy in this moment.  (for the most part I am) I am utterly perplexed.  Is it human nature?  Time?  Realization? It'd be nice if it were realization and I could call this post good and move on.
And so now, I am still holding on, just a little bit.  Not for unrequited love, but holding on to my past, allowing it to define me.  I get so wrapped up in all those labels from the past that I don't allow any room for the future.  So herein lays my conundrum:

How much of the past can we let go, without losing who we are?

I am a firm believer that my past has shaped me.  I am not a believer in regrets. Yes, I have done asinine, foolish and wrong illegal things in my life, but I have learned from those things and it has made me who I am today.  Apparently I am a slow learner in some areas of Life Lessons 101 as I have repeated a course or two.

If I release all the heartbreak, will I love with compassion next time?

The only conclusion I have at this point is the last line, 
  
“Surrender rather than waste time and energy clinging to suffocating familiarity.”



Surrender.  And see where the wind will take me.

Does forgive and forget exist?  Can we release the past without losing who we are?

23 comments:

  1. The point, I think, is to let go of the delusions of the past that we have. The presumed happily ever after that we think we are missing out on, which was never going to occur on that path anyway. I prefer to think I took the path that led to happily ever after; not that I somehow missed it. Looking forward a little easier if we think it's still there. The past does make us who we are, it's letting go of what we think we should've done differently that is important.

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    1. You should've written the post, my friend. Well said, especially the last line. When we do think back to the past, it comes with a lot of coulda, woulda, shouldas. As much as I hate the phrase, "it is what it is", that sums it up. If we don't move forward, we'll sink.

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  2. I just wanted to say I was here...this is the sort of post I am going to chew on for a few days before responding. count that as a compliment. Most people never bother to say anything that forces me to think.

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    1. Well, most of the time I don't say anything that makes people think either, so it's a first for both of us. I think you might actually be knee deep in a walking talking experiment about this very subject. Would love your thoughts.

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  3. Whoa! I was just thinking how I missed you yesterday and here you are with a timely post about surrender. You've inspired me to post on my own blog for the first time in months. I'm working on not compartmentalizing my life into the past, the Now, or the future. The problem for me is when my anger and resentment become the familiar that I am clinging to. I cannot soar with the wind when anger and resentment weigh me down. The mental chatter and swelling of emotions are like anchors on my kite! When they creep in I visualize cutting them off in some way. I guess I don't want to release the past so much as the emotions I cling to in relation to it. Let it Be. It is what it is. We can't change the past but we can change how we think about it. I wonder why I cling to emotions like anger and resentment. What is my reward? Is it just that they are too familiar, a habit in thought, I can't let them go?

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    1. Man, I missed you! The universe knew we both needed each other today. Love this,

      "The problem for me is when my anger and resentment become the familiar that I am clinging to."

      At first it gets under our skin and is irritating, but then the irritation becomes familiar and we let it fester. I'm so glad you're blog is back, I'm a lost soul without ya, girl;)

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    2. Last week before I faced my own letting go situation Jeremiah 29:11 was shown to me 3 times in one day! You know how I am about the triad! So I surrendered.

      I'm with mare ball on the grief factor and handing it over, as well.

      Still haven't gotten a post up. Ugh!

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    3. Yep, shouldn't mess with Triads, they are brutal;)Mare is a wise soul.

      I say let's surrender to some coffee, me...you and caffeinated goodness and we'll hash this sucker out. x

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  4. Beautiful piece! Had to read it a couple of times.Like the ending to that poem. When letting go of the past it's ongoing I think for a bit ! It's not a one time act that you do ( if it were it would be so much easier) But there are triggers and the smoke & mirror games that will lessen over time. Time is the best healer I think & in time it will be Ok !In reading posts, I also read comments & I like what Christina said about letting go of what we think we could have done differently. Personally that's what I struggle with when I have a broken friendship or relationship.Saying goodbye to the past that you can't undo & letting go of that without regrets. Thanks for sharing another thought provoking piece and hang in there ! You are a strong beautiful woman and will emerge stronger ! xoxoxo

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    1. Yes, sorry, I skipped editing this post too much and just hit publish before I chickened out. I read it twenty times and it still makes no sense to me. I am surprised anyone got anything out of it;)

      I think you are right, time heals wounds, but not just time alone. I think we have to make a conscious effort to heal, it won't happen all on it's own.

      Thanks for all the sweet words, Mama.

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    2. Meant I read it a couple times coz there was so much wealth in it ;)

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    3. Heehee, well I'm flattered then, but honestly, I re-read it and it still confuses me. Good to get it out though.

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  5. I enjoyed this [if that's appropriate given the subject matter]and found myself pondering, along similar lines to you.
    I was into the part about losing people who we no longer have anything in common with. Often we just chug along whereas we do need to evaluate the relationships in our lives and wether they are past their sell by date.x

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    1. Thanks! I agree. While I do believe in lasting friendships, maybe love, not sure about that yet; I am certain that people come into our lives when we need them most. That is part of growth, to expand our horizons, learn new things, think of things in a different way. If we subject our self only to our "circle" we will stay stagnant.

      And I am a firm believer in kicking negativity to the curb, there is no place for people like that in my life.

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  6. I think what you might still be dealing with is grief. As in mourning. We all have losses, and what we don't recognize is that we must grieve the plans that did not work/come into being. Sometimes we get stuck there, and it feels like bitterness, or anger, or any number of other things, when at it's root, it's just sadness. And it's OK to be sad for awhile. It takes time to work through things. For me, forgiveness has only been possible when I remember that I, myself, need to be forgiven too. I may not have hurt people in the same way I've been hurt, but we ALL hurt each other. We're just human, and we're scared and stupid and insecure. Those are the weaknesses we all share. I know you are a woman of faith, and in the end, God is the one who heals the human heart. Give Him all your crap and pray for freedom and peace. It will probably come with some cleansing tears. God bless you, girl.

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    1. Preach it! You are right on, and I know it. Even though I do hand it over to God, I feel like there is a lesson or a take away I'm not quite getting. Perhaps it's as simple as coming to terms with loss, or grieving my life as I thought it would be. Part of me thinks maybe that was my last chance, but again, nothing about that situation was good, so I hate that I even go there. Stuck, indeed.

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  7. I do believe in "forgive & forget", but not the way it's necessarily meant to most people.

    For one thing, "forgive" doesn't always mean the same thing as "making up". To me, forgiving someone means I'm no longer holding onto my anger or bitterness toward them. It's more about me than the person who may or may not have inflicted my aches & pains.

    Secondly, "forget" is the tricky one in my book. I can't just delete an image from my brain like I could my computer. Brains don't work that way. So for me, forgetting means making the decision not to purposely dwell. Choosing to throw it into a river (this is a meditating device I read about recently & I love the image!). Being intentional in my thought process. Catching myself backsliding & then picturing that river & tossing the memory overboard.

    As for the labels that define us, I've only in the last year discovered that I get to choose those labels myself. And also, that I can write my history anyway I please. I keep my labels & back-story honest, but I place them in a positive light. I own them. No more resentment toward how others perceive me, because what others think only matters to a point. Being comfortable in my own skin matters more than being uncomfortable in a skin that others have stitched together for me. My hubz says this goes along the lines of that quote, "You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else." I never understood that phrase, but I guess I do now.

    Sorry I hijacked your comments here. Your message here were very introspective, which I enjoy. And also? I talk too much. xoxo

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    1. You can hijack my comment section anytime, girl! I actually love when people do that. And I really loved your comment. Andi, stop the presses, because we agree. Actually we agree on a lot;) I did really love the meditation visualization, I think that what I have noticed is, you can forgive, but yes not forget. And Forgiveness isn't a one time thing, it is continual, purposeful and intentional, as you said. Well said, Miss Roo.

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