Every so often, something comes up in my life that feels bigger than me in every way possible. Some situation or feeling (or both) that I have reached the end with. In recovery we talk a lot about “turning it over”. It’s the idea that the only real way to gain perspective or understanding is to let it go.
I’ve been reading a lot of Elizabeth Gilbert lately. Most recently I have read about letting go and (just this morning) about getting our joy back. I want my joy back. The things I am struggling with have run their course. Next step: the God Box.
I started this little cardboard box years ago. In it, are the many things over the years that have left me undone. Almost to a fault, there has been resolution when I complete the simple act of quite literally “letting a thing go”. I write it down and give it over to this little container.
I’m working on a future blog post about another ritual I have around the Solstice. In winter, I am free of distractions and the things that pull me away from self. I try to focus on a ritual of letting go of things in a much more literal sense involving fire and water, earth and air. But that’s for later.
Today, I’m wondering if you have a practice or a means of letting go of the things that sit heavy on your heart. When you are at the end of your rope what do you find yourself reaching for? Or do you let go, hoping for a soft landing? My God Box is over thirty years old and I still pull it out when I need it. There is such comfort in things that endure. I hope you’ll share*
It’s serendipitous that this post comes to me right now. I have been struggling in therapy with trying to get rid of anger at my parents for when they were bad parents. Both are gone so I cannot talk it over with them. I understand they had poor models and did not choose to be bad parents, but that knowledge does not allow me to forgive and let go of my anger. I’ve been talking to my therapist about writing a letter to each of them, explaining all the things I am still angry about, and tossing it into a bonfire – I have fires frequently in the winter to clear brush from the land. We both think it is a good idea, but I am reluctant, now that it comes down to it, in case I forget. I use my memories as encouragement to be a better person and a better parent, and I don’t want to forget any of it, I just want to stop being mad. Clearly there is more going on and I need to get somewhere before I can give it away. I think this may be what you’re talking about when you say that after something runs its course, then you give it to the God box.
Next step for me is writing, like Nancy says. My fingers can take dictation right from my soul. Some of my blog posts go in a direction I never expected, and it’s because I sat down and just let my fingers type until they were done. Then I read what came out and thought, “wow.”
I think the go-to things I reach for are mostly in my quest to understand what’s going on with me. I can usually let go of something I understand completely. So I ask myself questions, “why do you think that/do that/feel that?” “Why are you uncomfortable right now?” “Why did that thing just suddenly make you cry for no known reason?” I try to trust my gut. I go to a therapist when my own efforts aren’t getting me anywhere. Another perspective always helps.
My wish is that you get your joy back sooner rather than later.
Oh my, where to begin? Anger can be such a bugger and I know you’ve been struggling with it a bit. Thank you for sharing the story of it. I can only imagine how untethered you must feel with them both gone. It is certainly true that it is not only love that connects us. So many complicated, complex feelings. I hope you find a meaningful way forward as you seek a way to let go of the anger..
Personally, I have quite ceremoniously let go of guilt, obsession, resentment and anger. It isn’t the same as forgetting. For me, it’s more like forgiveness. Feelings run rampant are like small toxic landfills. I can almost visualize the act of being free of them by writing it down, burning it to ash and releasing it down the river. Sometimes, my “God Box” is all I need. The simple act of admitting my own powerlessness and turning it over to my own wildly creative vision of God as I understand God is so liberating. That little purple box is stuffed. The heavier it is, the lighter I am. Unencumbered by grief and disappointment, the easier it is to find my joy. I love that box. I hope you find your way through, my friend. Thanks so much for sharing*
The pen. I reach for the pen. And breath.
You are such an inspiration when it comes to your committment to the page. I really do love how you embrace so much of what writing has to give. Tool, counselor, release, all of it. Would love to sit and talk about it sometime. And tonight, after sitting for a beautiful Fusatsu ceremony, I am coming back to pen and breath too. Letting go can be such a beautiful thing*