It’s a hard thing to accept. That life is completely out of our control sometimes. That no matter how hard we try, no matter how badly we wish, some things are simply not meant to be. It’s been four months since I’ve been home in Australia. There were many reasons why I left Hawaii. There were many reasons why my marriage fell apart. There were many reasons why my depression returned. All of which are too sad and too personal to share here. Let’s just say I wanted a fairytale ending and instead I learned that not everything is supposed to become something beautiful and long lasting (read previous post Once Upon a Time).
Oscar Wilde once said that “Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterward”. I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons this year. I’ve learned that things don’t always turn out the way wanted them to. That things go wrong and don’t always get put back together the way they were before. I learned to leave that table when love is no longer being served. This year has kicked my ass, shook my belief system to the core and took away some of the things I loved most. There were days when I felt like my soul didn’t fit in. There were days I would hold a conversation with you, look you in the eye but I was dead on the inside. There were nights I cried so much I struggled to breath and mornings I woke screaming. There were times when my heart felt like it was being ripped apart – literal tearing, burning, blinding, physical pains in my chest. And moments where I would do just about anything to make it stop. But the greatest lesson I have learnt, this year and in all the years of my existence, is to feel.
Letting go, moving on, change, healing, whatever you want to call it, it’s a painful transformation. It goes completely against our emotional nature and is overwhelmingly hard to do. It hurts to grow. Anybody who tells you it doesn’t is lying. These growth pains are a part of the human experience and they don’t go away because we want them to. Our human tendency is to push away, run from, try to outsmart anything painful. Sometimes we turn to numbing, temporary fixes or using another person’s body and emotions as a scratching post. This experiential avoidance and emotional suppression is okay, until it’s not. Because until you can confront this internal work you will always recycle experiences.
It might not be pleasant or comfortable, but sometimes the art of letting go can be as simple as relinquishing control and relaxing into heartache. It’s harder than it sounds and is the opposite to what most of us do. In a world where we’re constantly being told to “stay strong” and have been conditioned to “fake it”, it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to fall apart, it’s okay to break down. Because that is real. Pretending to be okay, ins’t. Sometimes being strong is giving yourself permission to have those shitty days. Because you absolutely have to burn through that negative emotion in order to transform it. You have to spend time with grief, get to know sorrow, let nostalgia turn you inside out, in order to authentically move forwards. When you wake up and want to cry, cry. When you feel lonely, be lonely. Learn to be okay with not being okay. Learn to accept that you are both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously. The sooner you realise this, the sooner you healing can start. There are no shortcuts or quantum leaps when it comes to healing and letting go. The ones who seem to have it all figured out are usually the ones who haven’t even started yet. I cannot elucidate enough, that letting go is an exquisite, complicated, excruciating day by day process that demands you to be vulnerably open. Some days it hurts like hell. But with each new day it hurts a little bit less than it did at ground zero. Then slowly things start to turn themselves around, a shift happens. You realise how far you’ve come and you remember when things were such a mess you thought you'd never recover. And then you smile because you are so proud of who you have become and you know it's time to just be happy.
People change. Relationships fail. Good things come to an end. This is life. It flows on within and without you and it doesn’t stop for anything. Nothing in life is ever stationary. Look around you. Every person, every plant, every atom in the universe and cell in your body is vibrating and moving constantly. Everything is in a constant state of motion. Nothing stays the same forever. Sometimes our world is turned upside simply to honour this law of impermanence. Sometimes life puts you in touch with people you need to meet to help you, hurt you, leave you and teach you. Sometimes it’s simply to learn how to love and let go. Sure, love is a beautiful thing. But it doesn’t always conquer all. Letting go, easing into pain, stepping into the unknown so that one day you can love again… that is fucking stunning. It’s the single most important thing you can learn in this lifetime. To love and to let go.