Mar 9, 2014

Endings of a New Kind

On Knowing When To Let Go: Letting go is no easy process, especially for those who have so much to do and think about and so many reasons to keep holding on. After all, have we not made our reputation with our tenacity, our stubbornness, and our ability to continue to persevere against tremendous odds? One of the fall outs of never giving up is that we lose perspective on what is important and what isn't. We lose the ability to discern what is a little battle that is not worth our effort and what is an important battle where we need to stand our ground. We dissipate and squander our energies on little things that really do not matter much and end up having nothing left when we need to face up to the really important. This loss of our ability to discern the small from the large issues is one of the disasters of not knowing when to let go. Ultimately, we need to be able to let go of the little things so we are there for the big ones. If we do that, we may discover there are many fewer big ones than we thought. In the end, it is probably not the holding on that will summarize our lives. It is the letting go that will be of greater significance. 

It is a time-tested principle that letting go is a process and it usually starts with the process of forgiveness. Dolores Huerta said, "If you haven't forgiven yourself can you forgive others?" It is undeniable that forgiveness has to start with the self. To forgive ourselves does not mean to condone or support everything we have done. It means that we own it. We claim it. We accept that we are wrong and then we try to move on. But that isn't really as easy as it me. We hate to be seen as our most naked selves (emotionally) and vulnerable. Often, when we realize and recognize that we are in the wrong, we slip into our self-centeredness, becoming so absorbed and arrogant in berating ourselves that we never quite reach a stage of forgiveness. To forgive, we have to let go and move on and if we do not know how to do that with ourselves... then how can we say we are capable of forgiving others wholly and not just superficially? 

I have observed that it is very easy to forgive others their mistakes especially when it doesn't really involve us directly. It takes more gut and gumption to forgive them and ourselves for having witnessed our own mistakes. The reason for that, I find is that in forgiving others so easily for their awful mistakes makes us feel noble and entitled. Yet, we become paralyzed with guilt and shame when we realize that they have caught us in our worst moments. It is so tempting to try to find something wrong with them and take the focus off what we have done. After all, we grew up believing that the best defense is a good offense, or something along the lines of that... so we've been told. It is extremely hard to let ourselves claim and own our mistakes! Yet, it is also so freeing! We have the possibility of not only forgiving those who have witnessed our mistakes but also to embrace them as a gift to help keep us honest. "To err is human, to forgive divine," and we have heard this said many times but maybe the message doesn't really come across- that to forgive oneself and others is divinely human. Sometimes, our gifts are so well-wrapped that we have a great difficulty of recognizing them as such and as we unwrap ourselves, we can unwrap each present. 

Now doesn't that seem to make everything so easy... to be honest, not really. Unfortunately most of us, myself included are emotional hoarders. Our old "sh**" is so precious to us. We tenderly harbor our old resentments and periodically throw them pieces of fresh flesh to keep them alive to thrive. We nurture our hurt and our anger. The tendency is, before I discovered the power of therapy, we really don't do much or anything at all to work through it or let it go, we just hang on and nurture it. And then we wonder why we feel so stuck and held back in our lives. We may have been able to move and uproot ourselves and start anew in a different place but that is just a physical move and it does not at all translate to moving on. Emotionally, we end up being at a standstill. When we hold on to old resentment, it weights us down. It is as if our feet are stuck in fresh tar. There comes a time when we can see that it does not really matter what someone has done to us, that our holding on to it is hurting us...not them, and that if we want to heal, we had best take our old anger and release it... and finally let it go. I think Toni Morrison said it best, "Want to fly? You have got to give up the sh** that weighs you down." Ultimately, the only way to grow is to let go. 

Finally, when we've settled old scores, let go of our old baggage and finally learn to forgive, we come to the ultimate step of letting go- being grateful for having loved. Rita Mae Brown was quoted saying, "I still miss those I loved who are no longer with me, but I find I am grateful for having loved them. The gratitude has finally conquered the loss." How sweet is the taste of lost loves, whether by death or circumstances! Sometimes, we are so busy being wrapped up in our emotions that we never take the time to savor the pure joy of having loved. More so, it teaches us lessons on how to love again... granted we have come to realize we are capable of loving in the first place. A long time ago, someone I thought to be one of the great loves of my life and I decided to part because our lives we moving in different directions. There was never any doubt of our loving - just our directions. Some time later, when I was trying to make amends to those who I have harmed, I wrote him a long letter (which I really don't do as I am incapable of communicating my feelings through letters, an email, a private message, a text message and other forms of communication known to man... so those who know me pretty well are sure of...) and I apologized for all the things I handled badly. After some time, he responded in his usual casual fashion and while I had hoped that we could be friends...despite all that have occurred- I found that it was a long shot and not something I should've even considered. When you let go, you have to learn to let go of everything...and I mean EVERYTHING. You have to cut and cut cleanly. The only way we can ultimately clear out the cobwebs is to turn a new page and put an old story to rest- finally, FINALLY to rest. 

Despite everything, I have never regretted the loving and "the gratitude has finally conquered the loss." And then I realize what an honor to have loved everyone I have loved in my life, and there are many in many ways. The gratitude far outweighs the loss. So allow me to tell you that based on personal experience, there will come a day that you will have the possibility to be grateful (and no longer bitter) for having loved all those you have loved in your life and that's when you know that you can finally let go... move on... and start over again.

To relate this to my outfit, well, I wore this to the SuperSale Bazaar and I felt that I finally got to wear this outfit and I was extremely happy about it because Summer is fast approaching and with every change of season, comes the chance to change and start anew. Gone are the days of layering and sweaters and jackets that may weigh us down (well, for the next six months anyway), and finally we can breath in outfits as comfortable as this one. It is a new start of all sorts... and that is reason enough to celebrate.

Black Tank Top: Topshop | Neon Printed Floral High-waist Skirt: Iconoclast Line by JL and Domz | Chartreuse 'Candy' Bauletto Satchel with Alligator Skin Details and Strap: Furla | Neon Bejeweled Collar Necklace: Ever New | Neon Yellow Rubber Watch: O'clock | Neon Bangle: Iconoclast Line | Tropical Print Neon Wedges: H&M 

Hair Extensions from: STYLD Hair Extensions

xx, JL

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