Something happened last night. I went to a different location for the blessing, the house of a woman visiting her daughter in California. The house had a peace I haven’t felt since I-don’t-know-when. Frankly, it radiated a warmth, love, and acceptance I have never felt in any church anywhere. While there, I thought, “Wow. There is so much healing and loving we can do before death.”
I still need help in cleaning my house, but I have found my inspiration. I have been looking inspiration for some time now. I hadn’t even known what I’d been looking for. That peace is available. With Barry’s sponsor’s death and the drama going on all around me, I have been just coping for a while. I had forgotten that peace existed. I doubt that I’ll ever be willing to live without it again. It’s one of those things that, once you get a taste, you can never pretend you never tasted. It was like going home emotionally and spiritually. No matter how bad things get, I know that this state is accessible. It can never not be there. It never went anywhere. I just got lost.
“Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you—all of the expectations, all of the beliefs—and becoming who you are.” Rachel Naomi Remen, MD
Absolutely every form of suffering I can think of in my life has come from hanging onto something I ultimately was forced to let go of. People’s approval, straight As, church, lying friends, toxic jobs, and everything else that comes to mind, all of the pain has come from refusing to let go. Holding onto those dreams, childhood needs, and non-reciprocal relationships has almost killed me.
People will extol the virtues of holding on, regardless of the real-life consequences, even martyrdom. There is no inherent virtue in martyrdom. Martyrdom is the ultimate in winning the battle and losing the war. Look at the lives of the people “holding on” to whatever it may be (a dead relationship or church, an ideology, adolescent hopes and dreams, whatever): stuck in the past, unable to move forward (or maybe at all), imprisoned by their own hand.
People want my participation so they can point to me and say, “See! Cindy does it, too.” My approval-seeking actions have been used way too often to justify other people’s submission to oppressive systems.
I think it was Michelangelo who said that he created David by removing everything that wasn’t David. It is time to start chipping away.