Monday, February 22, 2016

How to Let Go of the Past and Embrace What Is

"At some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen, and live in what is happening." - Heather Hepler, The Cupcake Queen

What I THOUGHT should happen was a successful acting career, marriage and kids. What DID happen was Lyme Disease, Babesia, Breast Cancer and early menopause, making the kid thing obsolete. There was painful disappointment, bitterness and tears. But I refuse to be bitter.  I only have so much time left on this earth and I won't use up my energy in bitterness.

My apartment furniture is still in storage in Los Angeles, and has been since 2009. First I assumed I would be heading back any day to get my things out of storage and continue my acting life where I left off.  Then I thought eventually I would head back and try to pick up the pieces. It has taken me seven years to accept that I'm not going back, ever, and the physical objects in my storage unit were a painful reminder of my hopes and dreams that weren't going to be fulfilled.  Letting go of that stuff felt to me like giving up on the dream.

As the new year dawned I finally had the mental and physical energy to go through old paperwork and files from that time in my life.  I shredded bags worth of old energy and upon doing so felt a huge release. I finally gave up some clothes from my life in Los Angeles, and now I'm ready to tackle my storage unit and truly let go of what that represents.

Steps that helped me let go and move forward:
1. Acknowledged the pain that was there regarding lost opportunities, unfulfilled dreams or difficult life detours or tragedies
2.  Forgave myself for not being able to achieve my goals
3.  Acknowledged the limitations I had in the present
4.  Accepted my life as it was in the present
5.  Cleaned out my physical space, when I was ready, of old items that didn't serve me in my life as it is now 
6.  Meditated and created an open space in my heart and soul for possibilities

I have found the sooner I can let go of the bitterness of unfilled past expectations, the sooner I seem to be healing in the present. I think that also translates into finally joyfully moving forward into an exciting and opportunity filled future.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pain Acknowledgement

Here is what has been said to Lyme patients regarding illness..."You just need to get up and get moving." "Get over it." "Gee, I wish I could stay in bed all day and do nothing." "What's your problem?" Here is what would be much more healing and helpful..."I'm sorry you are in so much pain." "How can I help you feel better?" "Yes, what you're going through sucks."

Sometimes, what a person needs, is to have the pain in their soul, the break in their heart, the physical aches in their body acknowledged and validated. We are a culture that says, "It will get better, get over it, move on. You'll find someone or something better. You'll be fine." But this does not allow space for the hurt to be recognized and in being recognized start the healing process. Sometimes what we need is to hear, "Yes, your pain is real, what has happened is awful and it may never be ok. And that is ok." Somewhere in the acknowledgement of "not ok," healing can begin.