I let you go. I let you go.I let you go.
At the beginning of this rising, there is grief. The world that I wanted seems lost. The friendship I trusted goes up in smoke. The mother who has held me inside her field of love for so long is dying.
This rising IS grief. And under that, twisty sharp things, brittle as dead branches, which feel icky and scary – and I don’t want them inside of me.
They poke at my tender places, warning: Look away!
But I don’t look away. I won’t. I know who I am now. They cannot have me anymore.
As I rise, tears rise – and long strings of memory pearls. All the things I thought I’d lost but which, I see now, are in need of recalibration.
For example. the story of the girl who invited everyone but me to her 6th-grade birthday party. For years, I have held onto that rejection but this morning, as it slices its way to the surface of awareness, and I just let it be there, something changes.
I sit beside my 12-year-old self as she is rejected. I watch that rejection pierce the field of love and acceptance she has always lived in, the field which, until now, she has trusted.
I watch her as realization dawns: I’m not invited. It was deliberate. I watch as she processes this pain. I watch as, even in her surprise and hurt, she walks over and bravely says, “I see that you’ve invited everyone else in the class to your party. You must have made a mistake.”
“No,” the other girl says. “I don’t want you there.”
In the past, whenever I’ve remembered this, I’ve kicked myself: what a doubly-stupid thing to be rejected and then to walk up and ask to be rejected again.
This morning, I see it differently. I see that ‘younger me’ was, in fact, refusing to believe that someone could be that cruel. In an act of tremendous courage, she was giving another little girl the chance to choose toward love.
This courage, which rose from her own nature, is still there – it’s MY own nature. Yet, by denying my the truth of my own courage all these years, I’ve been using this incident to bully myself.
I’ve been telling and retelling myself this story to separate myself from the truth of my own kindness – because, after this wounding, I believed that my kindness made me vulnerable. And I’ve used this story as evidence – See? This is what happens when you want too much, when you get too close – and this has made me hold all of my friendships ever since with reserve, unwilling to risk being hurt like that again.
These memories are salty and deep – and they open onto others, a network of stories, which move and open, releasing layers of love that I’ve withheld from my own heart.
As each memory rises, I let it rock through my body, which shakes and aches and shivers as the energy is released from muscle and bone. I sit in my meditation corner, sobbing. I think of the therapists I should probably call, the healer who knows me and knows my story. I should get support. I should not do this alone.
I know this – but then, a quiet certainty rises. I know what is happening. I know what this is: it’s movement toward healing and I know that this process, while painful, is the rising of love toward myself.
I also know – because I have been here before – that once it rises, it will be forever changed. Less toxic. Less painful. So much less that I may never think of it again.
Knowing this is possible, I let feeling rise.
And keep rising – all the stuffed-down rage, the sadness and self-loathing that oozes from its hiding places in my belly. As it rises, it grips at my guts, twisting knife pain and ache, and clutching anxiety and then…. it’s gone.
A moment later, the back of my heart starts to burn and I feel the pressure of an invisible hand pressing into my chest. I breathe – opening to it, becoming curious, I welcome it. A wisp of blue-gray shadow slips into view and whoosh… the heat and the pressure let go of me, the front of my rib cage relaxes. The back of my heart opens.
As I work, I notice things: I see that each of these symptoms is matched to a younger me who is stepping bravely forward with fear saucer-eyes.
I invite them to sit with me. Twelve-year-old me, shocked by a friend’s unkindness. Eight-year-old me, sighing as she sets down the book that she loves and goes to pick up the baby. Six-year-old me, clutching the paw of her well-worn Bunny, her face gray-smudged with disappointment.
Each ‘me’ has her reasons, her version, her story of why she must hold back the fullness of who she is. I listen to them all. Each story is a warning to censor myself, to hide some things and exaggerate others. Each story whispers shadow guidance: you must change, silence yourself, deny your instincts. At the same time, those instincts are also whispering, the much kinder message that I am already free – and so very loved. I sit with these abandoned pieces of my own heart – and decide which whisper to listen to.
I am already free. And so very loved.
I am already free. And so very loved.
And right through those sharp and brittle branches that would hold me back, I move forward.
I walk toward my own heart and I claim each frightened, disowned piece of myself. You are mine. I love you. I’m sorry. I will never disown you again, I tell the six-year-old. I hold her as she sobs through my body.
You are mine. I love you. I’m sorry. I will never disown you again, I tell the eight-year old, the 12-year-old, the 16-year-old… and all the other selves. They soften and start swimming – diving through the hollows of my bones like dolphins, stitching through the gashes of my wounds, like surgeon’s needles, emerging over and over like brand new beings through endless birth canals. All the while we are singing together. All the while this heart and soul music vibrating through everything all at once, this song of releasing and making whole: I let you go. I let you go.I let you go.
This is the rising of joy.
This is the feeling behind big feeling.
This is the light that was held underwater, under pressure, under lock and key for so long that it could only emerge as grief.
Joy is the rising –
but grief rises first.
Grief is the first layer,
and sorrow for the ways that we have let ourselves down.
Grief must move through us
must move up and move out
to make space in our lives for all the other feeling to flow.
This feeling is our power – our joy juice, our life force.
And once liberated, it lights up the world.
We make space for this movement
through tender self-care and gentle self-talk.
We allow it to take the time that it requires.
We honor it when it arrives.
This liberated energy is incredible – it feels like wild horses, flames of fire, tidal waves of pleasure. And it will rise.
Energy will rise – and seek expression.
When it does: move.
Move your body. Hum. Dance.
Pick up your paintbrush. Take a walk.
Move through the kitchen, through your asana practice, through your daily round, opening.
Move through your life, opening.
to what’s here.
Opening to what’s asking to move through you.
Every wound is a wormhole of darkness tethered, on the other side, to a bright star of love.
Every moment is an invitation to dive through.
Use the power of emergence to create the world that you want to live in.
and now I am taking Bunny to buy the New York Times. She likes to drive in the car with me.