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Posts Tagged ‘letting go’

I want to believe.
I think I belong,
I’m not really sure,
I’m scared of the words I put on this page,
fearful of the direction my thoughts will go,
unsure of the meaning,
avoiding the necessary pattern,
constantly questioning my motivation,
my sanity,
my ability to get you to hear.
… am I speaking too softly?
… have you tired of my attempts at clarity?
… could you see when I was weak?

I think I belong,
I’m not really sure,
I can’t find the brevity needed,
stringing words together so fast even I lose track,
my mind wanders from present to future to past,
randomly thrown together in a delicate mix,
waiting for a sign that you heard,
hoping my courage is safe,
hidden in an ornate metaphorical phrase.
… which words did you hear?
… am I still brave?
… are you leading the naysayers?

I think I belong,
I’m not really sure,
these words are neither black or white,
the picture they paint is in clear gray,
the mind they reveal is focused,
the beautiful disillusion of purpose,
pull it all together,
sit up straight,
breathe — become.
… are we safe in each others hands?
… does the sparkle still show?
… is a smile hidden inside?

I think I belong,
I’m not really sure,
moving away from concrete ways,
a chattering mouse quieting herself,
a novel destined for publication,
always becoming better,
welcoming revisions from a soul-filled author,
a story that needs to be told,
a song you will always remember.
… did I make you stumble?
… will you hear my melody again?
… am I learning who I am?

I think I belong,
I want to believe.

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Just sleep,

I’ll sit here,

I won’t make a sound while I watch you contentedly as the night rolls around.

I’ll glance past the dark, making sure you’re asleep, I want to keep you safe… even in your dreams.

Is that alright with you?

Go play,

I’ll be here,

I’ll watch you from this chair as you turn the corner and I can barely see the shine of your hair.

I’ll squint my eyes until you’re far from my sight, I want to keep you safe… even when you play.

Is that alright with you?

I’ll drop you off,

Eyes straight ahead.

Whispering, “be careful”, before you open the door, and when you walk away I’ll whisper it once more.

I can see you lighting up the world with your smile, I want to keep you safe… even if I’m not on your mind.

Is that alright with you?

I’ll cry when you leave,

I’m sure of that,

I’ll walk past your room and take a moment or two, closing my eyes to think of you.

I’ll smile and touch your door, I want to keep you safe… even when you’re away.

Is that alright with you?

I’ll smile.

I’ll laugh.

I’ll wipe my own tears, I’m overcome with all those motherly fears.

Stand under my umbrella, it’s big enough for us both, I want to keep you safe… every minute of the day.

Is that alright with you?

Letting go is so hard,

The pain takes a seat just so it can linger.

No worries, this umbrella will keep you from harm, me underneath it with my outstretched arms.

I’ll welcome you back, I always want to keep you safe… even when I can feel your embrace.

Is that alright with you?

I’ll smile,

I’ll cry,

I’ll remember,

I’ll live.

I’ll walk away when I need to…

I’ll hang around as long as I can…

I’ll let go and I’ll hold tight and we’ll dance that dance…

under my umbrella.

Is that alright with you?

 

This poem was sparked by the incredibly talented Pam Carlson , her doodle magic and her ever sparkling, kind, lovely self.

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Don’t put this story down, it’s far from over.

A few more chapters, at least.

It’s been such a bumpy ride,

but bumpy can be fun,

if you’ve passed it and left it behind.

I was lost in my mind for such a long time,

living for tomorrow’s… out of reach.

Spiraling and spiraling further down the hole — stop!

It’s too much,

it’s done.

I’ll be open, like a book,

just read me, please.

See… there’s another story to tell.

Cracked but not broken,

it’s true,

it’s easier for the light to get in.

Lost in my mind,

but it’s time,

it’s time,

turn the page so a new chapter can begin.

Tears that can drown the world,

but a smile that lights up the dark,

lost in my mind,

no more.

So here’s where I am,

right here,

I am.

I am.

Turning the page for myself,

Letting the light seep through the cracks,

My heart listens, softly.

Run.

Laugh.

Dream.

Write.

Breathe.

Conjure the story,

that was lost in my mind,

A story about today…

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You hear it,

the humming is too loud to pretend you don’t.

You feel it,

the vibrations are shaking you off your stance.

You see it,

its strength will crush you and never look back.

But now…

now it’s time to let go,

now it’s time to move away,

now it’s time to see how strong you really are.

Timing is everything in the letting go’s and the holding on’s,

so figure out which time this is…

time to dance,

time to cry,

time to yearn,

time to laugh,

time to move,

time to hide.

This is the time to let go of the parts that are keeping you from being that better person, those parts that are strapping you to the track, the parts that tell you standing in the corner is far safer than dancing by yourself in the middle of the floor, the parts that want you to whisper instead of screaming your truth… this is the time.

Move.

Dance.

Sing.

Cry when you need, it hurts.

Scream when you want, you’re angry.

Laugh when you should… we’ll all laugh with you.

Move away from the train.

Let its whistle fade.

This story isn’t finished.

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When my father died, he was buried in a double grave. The grave would be the final resting spot for he and my mother. Being that it was a double grave, the marker would be a double marker as well. When my father died, we really didn’t need to think too many things through, except what would be inscribed on the marker. It takes several weeks for grave markers to be engraved so in the interim, they put up a nice picture of your loved one with their name displayed — that’s it, just a picture with their name on it. When you go there to visit you have a smiling picture to remind you that someone is missing — the person who is looking at you through that photograph is buried in the grave you’re standing on.

It took a little longer than usual for my fathers marker to be engraved because, being that it was for my mother as well — who was still alive, we had to come up with the words to mark her final resting spot too. The words for my father’s side of the marker were easy enough — father, husband, son, kind. To be honest, I don’t know what it says… I’ve never been able to look at it long enough to read it and when my mother and I were deliberating what it should say I remember giving many “uh-huhs” desperately trying not to hear the actual words she was saying. If I heard the words it meant I had to succumb to the realization that my father was dead.

Our angst at finding the perfect words for his marker was magnified by the fact that we also had to find the perfect words for my mothers marker, who, as I said, was still alive at this time. When we first began contemplating the marker, we were unaware of the cancer that was coursing through my mother’s blood stream. It was the cancer that was making it impossible for her to walk and eat and sleep and get dressed and care for herself. We thought she was overly tired from taking care of my father as he battled lung cancer. A short six weeks after my fathers funeral, my mothers diagnosis was complete — Multiple Myeloma. The saying on the marker became too much for us to contemplate once we learned that cancer was again infiltrating our world, a little too real, so my mother finally choose a saying without too much fanfare — mother, daughter, wonder woman. Again, I really have no idea what it says, I “uh-huh’d” when I thought she sounded sure of whatever she decided to put there.

I’ve never been able to look at it long enough to read it — ever. Three years after my father’s death and a year and a half after my mother’s death… I’ve never let my eyes rest on that marker long enough to read the words.

I can remember when I was young. I had a cousin who died — hit by a car. She was older than me, beautiful, smart, funny… my own superhero. A tragedy that has possibly affected and shaped my interactions to this day but that is another post for another day. I was 9 or 10. I went to her funeral. I saw her in the casket. She and I had played together a few days earlier. I cried. I shook. I couldn’t stop. A harsh reality that I was unable to avoid — as long as I was at my grandparents house anyway. When the summer ended, I went back home as I did every summer and I continued. My cousin and I lived in different states, we only saw each other during the summer so when I was at my home it was so easy to pretend everything was completely the same because at my house, it was. I didn’t have to face the reality until the next summer when I visited my grandparents and I would be repeatedly punched in the gut with her absence on a daily basis. But, then, at my home — I was free from the pain of loss. I didn’t have to see it.

It’s the same premise of not looking at that damn marker. If I never look at it, if I never read their names on it, I can pretend a little longer. I can pretend they’re at their house waiting for me to arrive with my kids. I can pretend we are all going to go on a hayride or to the movies or to the mountains. But once I look at that marker, it’s over. The fantasy ends. The reality begins. One look at that marker and I have to finally concede that they’re gone.

A concession I’ve been unwilling to make… until now. Seems my life has led me down a path of letting go, of making new connections, of relying on a community of friends and strangers to guide me in the lessons of this life. Seems an easy task, really. Holding your gaze on a few words. Reading the letters that form the words that signify the time to move is now. Reality is an awesome place. We can shape it and bend it and coddle it because we are the reason it is real. The reality is, it’s time for me to open my eyes and see where I’m going. The reality is, it’s time for me to see what that marker says. The reality is, it’s time for me to embrace reality. What about you? Any realities you need help to see?

The reverb10 prompt today was community… this post is just where I ended up.

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“Each has to enter the nest made by the other imperfect bird.” – Rumi

I think I’m possibly messed up — you know, in that way that you think you’re thoughts are far more different from the thoughts of those around you so you tell them that you think you’re messed up hoping that the response is a hearty, “Yes! You are messed up — but no more than the rest of us.” And when you hear that… it makes it all okay, because we’re all messed up and we’re all clinging to each other in hopes of something, anything to get us through.

My thoughts, lately, have settled on this concept of “letting go”. When ever I hear people say this, they say it with such nonchalance, with such disregard — with more matter-of-fact to their voice then I think anyone who has actually had to contemplate this concept would ever dream of using. Letting go is never just that.

We travel through this life and we meet people and we experience joy and shame and embarrassment and exuberance — we experience everything that makes our lives worth living. We take these experiences as they come and we sort through the ones that might bear repeating and we toss the ones that were less than appealing. But that’s the experiences — those are easy to let go and process and move away from.

The people who come in to our lives throws this concept of sorting through the good and the bad somewhere out in to the wind on a stormy day. I’ve never been one to hang-on to people. When I knew a relationship had run its course or had run me down — I let go… easily. Then, without hesitation, I would always shut down — completely… no way in, no way out. To me, letting go meant letting go of the actual person — never just letting go of the bad feeling or the wrong encounter or the moment in time that came between us. Letting go was final. Permanent. So, I would shut down… retreat back in to whatever protective shell I had managed to maintain while I was testing the waters of human connection. A delicate balance of standing in the middle of a stampeding herd of oncoming emotions and jumping behind the barrier of a stony heart.

Now, as should be the case as we learn to experience and learn to grow and learn to contribute to those around us, I have been attempting to come to some type of understanding between the need to let go, the need to hang on, and the need to not shut down — the gray area… knowing what to let go of and what to hang on to. Letting go does not have to be all-inclusive. Letting go can be as refreshing as a deep breath after trying to prove you can swim from one end of a pool to the other, underwater. If we let go of the right things… the feelings, the thoughts, the moments that break us, then we learn, we evolve, we continue to assemble the puzzle that is us. Hanging out in the gray area sifting through it all — that’s where the power is… there, in the gray area.

We learn, we evolve, we accept our own short-comings and we hold ourselves up to a mirror to recognize the need for change. Shutting down is easy, complete, absolute — wash your hands and move on. To not shut down is a true sign of growth. So I’m sitting here… letting go of the right things and hanging on to the right things and taking a giant step away from a stony heart — I’m sitting in the middle of the gray area. I’m messed up. I’m letting go, but I’m not shutting down.

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I’ve been remembering an image that brings me to my knees with sorrow and pain and worry and longing and dread. The picture of his face has been prevalent in my mind for the last several days — I don’t know why. Perhaps a story I read, a video I watched, a memory that won’t go away.

When my father was in the hospital for the last time, a few days had passed since he had been flown by life-flight — he was stable and coherent and… alive, he was alive. The doctor made arrangements to meet with the whole family to discuss his case — in a waiting room down the hall from my father’s room. I thought this was odd that the doctor wouldn’t include my father in this discussion… I didn’t think it should be a mystery to my dad. The waiting room was filled when the doctor arrived and we all watched him and waited. He explained that my father was alive but it was only temporary, he would die. In a few days, in a week, at some point in the near future, he would die.

I can remember when I was about 7 or 8 years old, there had been a couple of significant deaths in my family at that point — death was a mystery and it was scary and it was unknown. But… it made the people who were alive so sad, so alone, so lost. I would lay in my bed at night and cry thinking about my own death, cry silently and think about death and how scared I was of it. It was the unknown. It was the sadness. It was the finality. I would lay there thinking… I wanted out of that particular journey.

It’s occurred to me recently… my fear is not of death. My fear is not about the unknown. My fear is not about leaving people behind… they will carry on when my time comes (hopefully when I’m 103), just like I’ve carried on when I’ve watched someone I love take their last breath. But, I think, I’m more afraid of what will be left. Who will comfort the people I love when I can’t anymore? Who will take away their sadness? Who will make them red velvet cake and buy new tires for their car and give them financial advice and talk about books and call on their birthday and hug them… who will hug them?

After the doctor was through talking to us about how my father was going to die, my mother and I went into his room and sat down. He never looked at me. His gaze remained on my mother the whole time. His lip quivered in that way it does when we are just about to cry and the thought of crying is taking over our face and our body and we can’t control it. His eyes were red and bloodshot with tears that he was trying so desperately to not let fall down his cheeks. His hand reached out for hers. And there we all sat, in silence — pondering an imminent death.

I remember that look and his quivering lip. I remember thinking he was afraid and there was nothing I could do. I remember thinking I just wanted to opt out of that particular journey. But… that option didn’t exist, so I was there…until the end, in every moment. And I sometimes fear my children will one day be standing over me, seeing my quivering lip, wishing they could comfort me — not knowing what to say, pondering an imminent death. I wonder if they’ll wish they could opt out of that particular journey. I’ll want to tell them to stay there, in the moment… every step of their journey, because sometimes the journey seems too hard and sometimes I scream at the top of my thoughts, “I want out!” — but the mystery of this journey looks better when I stay connected to it, unveiling it myself — a little at a time.

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When there’s nothing left to burn… you have to set yourself on fire.

I’ve seen this quote many times. I’ve never understood it. I googled it to see if that would help me. It didn’t. I found out that it is a lyric in a song and that it is loosely tied to a young Czechoslovakian martyr who set himself on fire to protest the Soviet-led invasion of 1968. But what does it mean?

Recently, my journey has taken many twists. I have leaped and there was no net to catch me. I stepped out onto the path of the unknown and found myself lost in the dark. It was scary and it was exhilarating and it was breath-taking. I’ve cried and I’ve laughed and I’ve assessed the damages that I caused and the damages that others should take ownership of.

I attempted to draw back into my shell. I attempted to rebuild walls that were torn down. I attempted to harden my heart so no more pain could ever seep in. And when I looked around at the mess I was standing in, I was alone — and nothing had changed. Then I realized there were cracks in the mortar and it’s always that one small unassuming crack that allows the most beautiful of sunshine in — and there I was, allowing the sun to peek through the cracks and pull me up again. And it occurred to me… what it means — “when there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire”, it means this — all of it. You have to put your whole being into something if you want it to change, if you want to succeed, if you want to move-on in the journey.

I don’t want to search for any more excuses as to why what I want doesn’t matter. I don’t want to look for any other reasons as to why my wishes are less important than anyone else’s. We all should get a say as to what happens in our lives… in our journey’s. If I want something, that matters too. If you want to write a book, just do it. If you want to sing a song, get on with it. If you want to dance, get out of your chair. If you want to love and laugh and feel, open yourself up. Set yourself on fire.

So, I’m here. Letting go of those who toy with my emotions, holding tight to those who recognize my friendship, moving past the situations that reduce me to tears and laugh at me while I’m on the ground. I am here… writing words in a blog that should probably stay hidden. I am here, making new friends and making plans with old ones. I am here, saving a seat for those of you who want to be on the front row. I am here, learning… just learning.

I am here, setting myself on fire because there is nothing left to burn… and I like the way it hurts.

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I heard a story from a friend the other day. She had gone to dinner with a friend she had known for some time, the dinner didn’t go too well. There were things she noticed about her friend that night that she didn’t enjoy, perhaps things she had been able to overlook in the past. I’m hoping she writes a story about this dinner — but, it made me think about friends and how we become friends and who we’re drawn to and who we avoid.

I’ve had people come into my life at some very peculiar times, maybe it was times of change and therefore I was beckoning them in — whether it was kindergarten or high school or college or now. People who come in and out of my life because we share something — a laugh, a thought, a cry, a hug. It’s hard to know when to let those people go — or even if you have to. Some, I would say, stay with you forever — it’s meant to be… the friendship the togetherness. Some, I would say, have only a fleeting stay. You grow, you evolve, you move on — sometimes it’s sad, sometimes it’s necessary. Sometimes evolution draws you to a different path and you part ways.

I think we can take comfort in the fact that as you grow and evolve people will be drawn to you because of this — the right people will be drawn to you because of this. Those are the friends that will endure. Those are the friends that you will sit down to dinner with and overlook the loud chewing or the constant motioning for attention from the waiter — those are the friends that will stick to you and you to them.

I’ve had friends in my life that I thought I couldn’t live without — still do actually. Some of them I no longer speak to because of time or distance. Others have stayed in spite of or due to that strange phenomenon called evolution. I’m hoping my evolution will keep them close to me — I know my evolution will keep them close to me. And that gives me comfort. I’m drawn to people for a reason — they shine, they glow, they sparkle, they cry, they fight, they continue to love. That’s who I’m drawn to — that’s who I’m sticking with.

I hope you enjoy this clip from

one of the greatest friendship pairs of all time! I’m pretty sure I’m Carol!


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Life is full of things we have to let go of, things we have to, have to — no question — let go of. But, what about the things we don’t intend to let go of — the things that we will keep because they make us strong and happy and fun and intelligent and all the good things we can be? I guess the point is, I always hear people say, “I’m letting go of …”, but I haven’t really heard anyone say, “Hey, this I’m keeping, this will never be on my ‘letting go’ list.”

So, I made a list.

An “I have no intention of ever letting these things go no matter if they beg me to, if they go out of style, if they disappear, if they…” . Ok, that may be too long of a name for a list but, I’m not letting go of it.

1) Dr. Marten boots — I have a pair and I’m never letting them go. I don’t wear them anymore. They sit in my closet, in the back, under some other crap. But, I have them.

2) Tennis rackets — I don’t mean good tennis rackets. I mean the ones I used in college. The ones that aren’t made anymore. The ones that people stare at when I pull them out of my bag — yea, I’m keeping them.

3) My guitar — I got this guitar when I was in the fourth grade. It’s strung for a left-handed person because I am. I can play it. I’m not letting it go.

4) My “work girls” — Courtney, Adrienne, Amanda, Lynnette, and Ada. They made me promise to include their names on the blog at some point. They make me laugh and think and talk and hug and talk some more. I’m not letting them go.

5) My kids — I know we, as parents, are supposed to teach them to fly and send them out on their own. I really think that’s just a load of crap. I have every intention of home-schooling my kids when they become college age (no sense in doing it now, public schools are working for them). I’m not letting them go — not yet.

6) A couple of friends that will be stuck with me for life — again, I’ve heard that saying “If you love something, set it free…blah, blah, blah”. I’m a smotherer (something I discovered rather recently). My new motto is, “if you love something, hold it so tight that it will either love you back or die”. Ok — on second thought, I better rethink this philosophy. I’ll let go of the new motto, but not the friends — they’re stuck with me, for life.

7) My love of dogs – I’m not letting this go. In particular my love of my dogs (even the annoying one). I guess they’re stuck with me. My dog is sweet and neurotic and needy and independent — we are good for each other.

8) My memories — I’m not letting them go. I have quite a good memory — almost too good. I remember things people promised me or said to me or events or vacations or cars. Maybe I hold people to what they’ve said too much — not everyone has as good a memory as me. I’m not letting it go.

9) Righteous Indignation — I haven’t possessed this for very long, but I like it. It’s acquired. I’m still learning — I’m not letting it go.

10) Myself — I’m quirky and needy and smothering and jealous and possessive and funny and smart and … some other things. I’m not letting go of myself. I’m actually gaining more of myself — more of the good. Some things I have to let go of — I have to — let go of. But I need to keep enough that it’s still me. Maybe I’m a puzzle with some missing pieces, waiting for it all to get assembled. I think we are always acquiring new pieces of ourselves. It depends on the people you let in your life — what piece of you are they waiting to give you? So, I’m not letting go of myself.

That’s my list.

What are you not letting go of?

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