Holding On versus Letting Go

Artists have great strengths – and extremely complicated weaknesses.
It’s part of how God created them.
They feel things deeply and therefore can craft moments that tap into
what others feel but can’t seem to express.
Yet this very strength – feeling things deeply –
can drive artists to self-doubt, perfectionism, and fear of failure.
Nancy Beach, An Hour on Sundays

God, in His Infinite Wisdom created all types of people – ones who feel deeply and ones who don’t. Ones who hold on to grudges and pain and ones who let things go. There is a balance in life and perhaps one of our tasks while on this earth is to live within the balance rather than in one of the extremes.

I have a curious mix of both. I hold on to past grudges like a child holds on to candy. But, like my male parental unit, I drop people, careers and things out of my life without a second thought – when it is time to be done, it’s done.

Why is it I am able to dump the exterior stuff out of my life so completely and yet hold on to the interior grievances so well? Is there a connection? I have a sneaking suspicion there is. Maybe one of the reasons is I don’t want to experience any more pain so I make vain attempts to bury grudges while jettisoning the outward pain-possibilities before they become too painful. Does that even make sense?

The connecting factor between these too opposites is not quite clear, in fact, not clear at all. It is something that will need to be mulled over, masticated if you will, and in time I will understand.

What would happen if I did the opposite – eject the grudges and held on to people (maybe not careers or things) like precious gems? Would I die of pain? Would I be free from pain? Maybe my life would be so good that I would die from joy! Maybe it is the possibility that scares me – the unknown of the matter. What would I do with all the empty space in my soul that once held grudges. Since ‘nature abhors a vacuum’, what would take the place of the pain? Certainly not joy, could it?

What if I made a list of all the grudges locked up inside and systematically forgave and forgot? Is that even possible? Is the solution so simple? Well, the act might be simple to write but probably difficult to actually do. But how do I know that? Maybe it is not as difficult as I think. I think it must be because I like to make things hard on me. I am a difficult taskmaster, one not easily satisfied.

But it may be worth a try. What do I have to lose but some pain?

anchorage b

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forgiveness is a possibility

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards:
they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want
so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse.
You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do,
in order to have what you want.
– Margaret Young

The thought and subject of forgiveness has come up again in my mind. I have occasionally mentioned my male parent, the one I identify as a “monster” and have been thinking about forgiveness of him for a long time. Now I believe I may be ready to take the next step – and that is talking about forgiving him.

In order to be fully healed from the anguish of my childhood, I must forgive and release it. But I am not sure how to do that. I have done some releasing of the anger and depression associated with this pain but there is more to do. And I am quite sure there will always be some deeper level of pain to let go. When someone is injured as deeply as I have been, it will never completely go away until I go Home. But all I have to concentrate on is the next layer.

So how do I go about forgiving? How do I forgive and accept without sanctioning the actions? I’m not sure I can do that. To me, forgiveness means sanctioning. Is there a difference? I think so, but in my brain there is no difference.

It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway, that there is no way on this planet I will forgive if it means I am sanctioning the events. So I must see and understand the difference. I am depending on God to show me the difference, to help me understand the difference. Maybe this is one of my bigger stumbling blocks I have to forgiving not only my male parent but past relationships as well. The way I see and understand it is that if I forgive then I’m saying “What you did to me was okay-fine by me. Yes, it hurt but I forgive you so now we are friends and loved ones again.”

I know cognitively that the above statement is incorrect. I know in my head that it is okay to forgive a person but not love or even like them.

But in my heart of hearts, in my deepest, secret self, I believe the statement to be correct and that same secret self refuses – absolutely, stubbornly refuses – to be put in that vulnerable situation again.

To tie this in the daily quote, if I want to be ‘happy’ I must discover my true self, the uninjured me or even the injured-yet-healed me. And in order to do that I must first go back and forgive.

And I am slowly, but surely headed in that direction.

 

dawn 5
predawn by sabina

 

inside my head

Nothing is as far away as one minute ago.
-Jim Bishop

Time is ticking away. Even as I write this, it ticks endlessly onward, forward marching, until the end of my days. Each day I am given a choice, each moment I am given a choice. A choice to live in the now or to live in the past or the future.

For me, living in the now has always been the struggle. I don’t live in or for the future. I don’t save for retirement (except what my employer or the government forces me to save). I rarely think beyond today (like saving for something, or making plans for anything). My past churns beneath my subconscious silently, sometimes screaming, but I rarely think about it, at least not willingly or consciously.

No, it is the now I struggle with. Because of the need to find a way to survive at the hands of a monsterous father I developed a very active and realistic fantasy life. There were times during my teen and early adult years I lived two lives alongside each other. The real, painful one in the physical world and the safe, happy one inside my head. (I can’t say the ‘real’ world because the world in my head was as real as the physical one.)

When life was going well for me physically, the world inside my head was moving in concert. If life was moving along okay then the physical me and the inside-my-head me were doing and saying the same things. But if the physical me was going through something bad or scary then the inside-my-head me would become stronger and more vivid and I would retreat to her world. The things that were happening to me didn’t even register in my brain because I was somewhere else.

Maybe that is why I don’t have many childhood memories. The inside-my-head me was busy creating a safe environment for me to survive and the physical me was simply enduring.

A very distinct memory of this happening was of me sitting in an airport with my family. My father was very angry at me for some reason – I was going to say I don’t remember why, but I do – I made a smart-ass remark to him (I was in my early twenties) – and he started yelling at me. It was the kind of yelling that in this day and age would bring on the police. He was standing in front of me, or rather, over me (I was sitting) pointing his finger in my face, screaming bloody murder.

To this day I have absolutely no memory of what he said. All I saw was his mouth moving up and down and the finger practically hitting me in the eye. I heard nothing. Pure silence. Because, after a long period of dormancy, the inside-my-head me woke up and took me someplace else for safety. The only feeling I had was prickling in my lips. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t anything. But I was safe. (This was the beginning of the long ending of my association with him.)

When the inside-my-head me was in charge time was suspended. I had no concept of time passing. Just like in the airport that day, time had stopped while I was safe. Once she went back to sleep, time moved on as normal. I am grateful that she was there, taking care of my fragile brain, keeping my sanity safe. But I am also grateful I no longer need her assistance.

In time, I moved on from living in fear. It is that fear, though, that rules me still. If I look back, I am afraid I will wake her up. So I continue to work on living in the now. Without her, but with Him – with God. God created in me – in all of mankind – a marvelous brain whose inner workings are a mystery. He gave me a way out of terror, and a way through the madness. He gives me now the means of finally putting to rest those old ghosts and terrors. If I am willing to do the work.

 

(image source click here)