happily, yes!


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Stepping out of the Shadows

I need a good cry. I feel the tears pooling up behind my eyes and I wonder why they just won’t come out already. Maybe it’s because despite the sadness that I’ve been feeling lately, my life is really great. It’s amazing in ways that I didn’t know possible in the sense that for the first time ever I value myself for the treasure that I finally, finally know myself to be. I’ve stopped taking everything so personally and am in a state of mostly acceptance about what the Universe is laying out for me. When I’m in tune, I am guided in a way that feels rare and precious to me.

I’ve been on this path of discovery that has taken me around some mighty strange twists and bends over the past year and especially the last few months, and because of the fact that I’ve been laser focused on how every little bit of it impacts me and shows me what needs to be healed, I’ve been both amazingly self-assured and deeply sad. It’s time for me to not just let go of a relationship that means a lot to me, but to let go of a myriad of false beliefs and programs that have been running in my background for oh, thirty years or so. Even though these patterns and behaviors have been harmful to me, they still feel comfortable, sort of like a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I know I can’t touch the stuff anymore, and I really don’t want to, but sometimes I look at it with a longing that transcends my understanding. I suppose it’s because when I was younger, all of these behaviors and beliefs cropped up as a mechanism for me to feel safe in the world. Lowering a veil over your eyes can be a comfortable place to be and I thrived in an environment that allowed me to only pull in the bits and pieces that I wanted to acknowledge.

Over the last five years I’ve been lifting that veil slowly but steadily. At times it’s been almost imperceptible, but recently I feel like it’s getting yanked off my face. I’m seeing why I’ve been so comfortable in the shadows for so long, how I’ve never felt that my light was strong enough or important enough to be the brightest in anyone’s life, most of all my own. I’m seeing how I allowed myself to be dwarfed by others and by life and by myself just so that I could stay in a place that seemed to be less vulnerable. I understand how I believed that stepping into the forefront of my life threatened my very foundation.

Despite making huge strides in this arena, I recently considered sliding into the shadows again in a relationship. It wasn’t even expected of me, I just felt myself desirous of slipping into that space of delicious darkness and secrecy. It’s easy to manage something if you don’t have to be held accountable to it. If I can keep my emotions safely tucked away, I don’t have to worry so much about what I may lose. Retreating into the penumbra also allows me to create my own set of boundaries, something that can be very enticing to someone that has trouble establishing and maintaining them. Getting through the boundary creating phase of my life (2012) was challenging in ways that were terrifying, though ultimately gratifying. Now that they have been identified, I’m beginning to understand that not everyone or everything belongs in my life in ways that I before believed possible or necessary.

I’ve done a lot of growth and so I was surprised when this popped up again. I packaged it really nicely too, I’m sure in the hopes that I could deceive myself. There were many wonderful things about the relationship, and I learned more about myself in this short dance than I have in a while. The reason for this is that I went into it with my eyes wide open, and despite the fact that I considered sliding into an unhealthy safety zone, I was in such a state of awareness that I was able to literally smell the fear that had provoked it. With that, I had the opportunity to hold my own hand and walk myself through the process. I called on a few trusted others as well, but the main thing was that I refused to close my eyes no matter how painful it got or what came up. I may not have handled everything perfectly, but I do feel like every step along the path – even the so-called mistakes – were actually mirrors allowing me to see what I needed to tend to.

I’m ready to let go. In all honesty, there is a big part of me that doesn’t want to do so. The petulant child in me wants to twist and manipulate things to be the way that I want them to be, but the adult in me knows that is not the answer. I tried to do that for a good thirty years with no success. I’ve learned that letting go really is letting God. I have to make space in my life for the something better that always comes along whenever you release that which doesn’t support your highest good. I know this to be true because as I’ve let go of the relationships and situations in my life that didn’t enhance my growth (even when it wasn’t my own idea), I’ve been able to let in many amazing people and opportunities. I have co-created more wonderful and fulfilling friendships in the past year than I had in the preceding 10 and my support system is so strong that I never have to look for a shoulder to cry on.

So here’s my true confession: Sometimes this healing stuff really sucks. Sometimes it is so hard and the not-numbed pain is so intense that I want to throw myself down on the ground and pound my fists and scream. Sometimes I do scream. The unbelievable part is that with each passing day it gets easier and easier. The pain passes more quickly and I no longer blame myself or anyone else. I don’t take it all so personally anymore and along with the pain comes the joy of feeling a wee bit more miraculous and alive every day. My senses are honed and there is a remarkable amount of clarity in my life. My life is so full of love and beautiful people and blessings that I have to keep expanding just to accommodate it all.  In the end, it’s all worth it, every last bit of it.

 Banksy Red Balloon