I just published a post on my Balance Point website, my coaching/consulting business that I’ve decided to post here. I’m doing this because the Balance Point post is about how I found peace through letting go of my husband’s story (which was my story). It feels relevant to share with you. Why? Well…there’s a story about that :)!
Several months ago I joined a Facebook group for people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or are the family/caregiver for someone with a TBI. When my husband had his accident 19 years ago, there really was no such support mechanism – either face-to-face or virtual. And to tell you the truth, I’m not really the traditional “support group” kind. It just doesn’t work for me. No particular reason…until now. So, I joined the group and read the regular posts and over time began to feel uncomfortable with the format. Not that it wasn’t serving a purpose but because I noticed a trend of people simply recycling their stories and never coming to resolution. Those in the group would support one another in recycling the story. They were getting agreement and permission to suffer. I’m a pretty intuitive person and all I could feel was suffering with no light at the end of the tunnel. I eventually dropped out of the group.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it is important for people to have a sounding board and a safe space in which to be able to express and process feelings. And…after a while if there isn’t a mechanism for resolution of the issues, we can get stuck in the story, stuck in the past and become so identified with the details of the story that it then define us.
This is what I saw happening. I recognized it because I too have done this…until just a couple of weeks ago. As I’ve related over the course of this blog, I have been in a conscious process of letting go for a while but found I was still holding onto tendrils of the story and my past out of a fear of fully letting go. If I let go then who will I be? It’s subtle and not subtle all at the same time. Yet, what I discovered at the other end of the “letting go” was simply peace. Nothing more. Nothing less. Simply peace. No worry. No fear. Simply peace.
That’s where this blog post comes in and I am sharing it in its entirety below. It is written from somewhat of a “spiritual” perspective yet is applicable to wherever you are in that regard. I want to make it clear that my intention is not to push my practice on you but simply to share what I’ve learned though listening and letting go. My hope is that this will assist anyone who reads this blog in coming to resolution – that is if you find yourself holding on as I had been. Many blessings to you this beautiful spring day. Enjoy my story of my story:
“I tend to write about themes I’m seeing in my life and I do this because I’ve discovered that oftentimes, those same or similar themes are running in the lives of those around me. This post is no different, so here’s the “theme”: to be truly happy you have to stop feeding your story and recycling the past.
What do I mean by that? We all have a story or stories about the past and how it all relates to the present. We tend to live in the story and let ourselves be dictated by it. We live in it through letting it define us as this or that. For example, as I’ve mentioned numerous times, my husband suffered a traumatic brain injury almost 19 years ago. Until recently, I did not realize the extent to which I had identified with this story and allowed it to dictate my life. Granted, when you live with someone with a TBI your life is “outfitted” by that outcome. There are things you have to do, a way of life and decisions and so forth that are now so because of this outcome. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m speaking of is the identification of this story as “me”.
To illustrate, a couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a new work colleague. We were getting to know one another and in the course of our conversation the subject of Michael (my husband) came up. I watched as the same old words came out of my mouth – “He was in a near-fatal automobile accident. In a coma for 3 weeks, hospitalized for 4 1/2 months….and on and on. He’s fine now, permanently disabled, etc., etc.” In that moment as I watched me tell this story, I realized how sick I was of it. I even had difficulty getting the words of the story out of my mouth. I ended up just kind of mumbling the words. It was then that it occurred to me that I was complete with it. Done! Out of the clear blue sky I had suddenly let go. And in this realization, the story and the past no longer had power over or a hold on me.
The only thing I can figure is that it was simply time for me to drop it. There was no timeline and I didn’t plan on it. And it reminds me of the story of the Buddha, who spent many years seeking enlightenment (union with God). It wasn’t until he came to a full stop under the Bodhi tree, that he was able to let go of it all. And in this letting go he was free. I don’t think anything that dramatic happened to me but I can tell you that it was and is freeing and remains with me. Now I feel courage, confidence, empowerment and contentment in place of the story. Sure I’ll be “required” to tell it and I can do that now from a place of deep appreciation for the yellow brick road on which life has placed me.
As usual, all this is my long-winded way of suggesting that if you find yourself struggling or caught up in a story and you can’t seem to let go of the past then look and see if perhaps you might be identified with this story. In other words, are you seeing that this story defines you – in a way that is holding you back? If yes, then just see that you are doing this. Accept it. By accepting you don’t have to like it. It is what it is. To the best of your ability, look for the opportunity and the lessons being handed to you as you walk through it. See what is here for you now. Breathe into it. Write about it. Cry about it. Laugh about it. Scream about it. If you need to – talk about it. And, when it is time, you’ll find yourself sitting under your own version of the Bodhi tree where you’ll give up the story. For now though, honor yourself, your experience, your story, your journey. Just be with yourself wherever you are.
P. S. There’s a saying that I love coupled with a photo of two people walking together (kinda of like the above photo) – “We’re all just walking one another home.” Thank you for being with me on my yellow brick road. Namaste.”