Letting Go Is Not Selective

Lately, I’ve been trying to let go of all things (such as objects, relationships, and, especially, negative feelings) not serving me. I cannot make things happen, but I can pare down to what actually works for me.

However, I have learned (the hard way, of course) that letting go is kind of like repression: if you do it to this stuff, it automatically applies to this other stuff. You cannot repress only anger and grief; love and joy also get repressed. Letting go operates in much the same way, much to my surprise.

One thing I have always believed and intuitively understood is that everything is connected. Why it never dawned on me that this would apply to letting go I do not know. It works like this: A is connected to B which is connected to C. I let go of A. OMG! Where did C go? I never meant to let go of C! I think this is why people hold on so hard. They intuitively know that if they let go of one thing, a lot of other stuff is going to be gone as well.

It reminds me of many years ago. It was the late ‘80s or early ‘90s. Barry and I were having problems. He was routinely threatening me with divorce. It was getting old. I don’t even recall what the argument was about, but I had had enough. He gave me that tired ultimatum of me giving him what he wanted or us getting divorced. I said, “Fine. I will drive us to the Eaton county courthouse and we can file together. I’m sick of this.” He sat there a few minutes and then said he didn’t really want a divorce. Duh. He wanted his way. It was pure manipulation and Cindy was done playing that game.

I had class that evening. I remember sitting in class and feeling something shift within me. I knew I had just let go of my marriage. Walking back to the parking ramp after class, I felt strangely empty and free.

Obviously, this was not the official end of our marriage. No. It was just the end of my emotional commitment to it. It has never been the same since. Don’t get me wrong. I am not filing for divorce now. In some ways (the ways that actually count emotionally), I already am divorced. I will not abandon a disabled, elderly husband. I am just saying that I have been “faking it” emotionally for decades. This is part of why I totally identify with the LGBT community. I know what it is like to pretend I feel things I don’t and don’t feel things I actually do very strongly. If I had had a shred of self-esteem back then, I would have gotten divorced and been on my own. I stayed for the financial security.

Everything has changed. I am doing everything now, including things I have no idea how to do. I have an MBA. I can support myself, given the opportunity to work for a living and not just be a caretaker.

My commitment today is to honesty, at the very least with myself. I am done playing games. I am done pretending things are better than they really are. I went to the doctor a couple weeks ago and had lost 15 pounds! How the hell did I do that? I go to Planet Fitness twice a week, but I don’t think that’s the bulk of it. I know I have been using food to repress my feelings for decades. That’s over. When I started being honest with myself, my tastes started instantly changing. I am much less hungry now. Food is simply bodily fuel. The weight has dropped off effortlessly.

Being open and honest is not socially acceptable. Period. People want to be told what they want to hear. They want to be told they are good people without making the actual sacrifices that would validate such a claim. Not telling people what they want to hear is the unpardonable sin. Giving full vent to one’s anger is simply the end of various relationships. People tell me not to “burn bridges.” I scoff. When I walk across a bridge and fall through, dismantling the bridge becomes common sense. There is no sense pretending that a bridge is structurally sound while knowing full well that its weakness has resulted in real injury. Setting it on fire may not be necessary (but it can be highly satisfying), but regarding it with respect and reverence is just plain stupid. Pretending that bridges are real (while their existence is mental and not objective) only wastes precious time that could be spent building truly structurally sound bridges. Sometimes, the old needs to be removed to make room for something that works.

People don’t like my anger. Oh well. Not. My. Problem.

My hope is that my life continues to improve, even though I do not possess the resources I once assumed falsely I did. Knowing what resources I do and do not have gives me a reality-based foundation to build the rest of my life upon.

When I let go of my marriage, that was not my intent. It was not conscious. I did not go to class thinking, “I’m going to let go of my emotional commitment to my marriage forever right now.” It just happened. The letting go process is universal. You cannot be selective. You don’t know what will be released in addition to the thing you want to release. When you open your hand, everything falls out. This is why I’ve been holding on. Some part of my intuitively knew that if I started the process, I would not be in complete control of where it went. I would be transformed and I may or may not be thrilled with what I am transformed into.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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