Drawing Life Lines in the Sand

I’ve been having an extraordinary conversation with someone. She and I share a common bond and from that connection, we have begun this uninhibited, ever-shifting, serial dialogue. We share emails; words and words and more beautiful words. I have never seen her in person, yet we have created many intimate, life expanding, joyful, soulful, entertaining chapters in what I’ve decided, at this very minute, to call our Book of Friendship.

In a recent exchange, she relayed an anecdote that swirled around the idea of drawing a line in the sand when it comes to improving relationships. To clarify, this is not the proverbial ‘line in the sand’ but a line in which everything behind it represents the past and, on the the other side, is the future. The line itself is the present, the now. The goal, in her accounting, is to leave all the ‘relationship stuff’ behind the imaginary line and to deliberately choose to go forward from there. I love the simplicity of this concept and the visual it conjures. It’s easy to comprehend how a relationship that is treading water can move forward with this emotional agreement, however;  I see an even greater use for this metaphorical tool in creating a state of well-being, despite any relationship. I like to focus on the one thing I have control over – me – and leave out the conditions, partners, etc.

Are you willing to let go of perceived injustices? Are you willing to dump the belief that you must resolve the past? Are you ready to embrace the concept that you don’t have to carry anything into the future that does not serve you well? By ‘does not serve you well’ I mean anything that does not make you feel good. Like a suitcase full of lead weights, will you leave that pain, struggle, injustice, guilt, grievance, sorrow, sadness, loss, hate, anger at the threshold of your future, that squiggly, imaginary line? By focusing attention on past pain, you are the creator of your present struggle. And can you move forward even if you are bringing baggage? Of course you can – and are – it’s just slower and more challenging. Your power comes in knowing you have a personal choice: free and fast, slow and heavy or somewhere in between.

Ironically, letting go may seem exhausting (at first). We have to awaken ourselves to our bad habits, our chronic beliefs to which we sometimes feel entitled, like some sort of badge or scar of remembrance. We must pay attention to our negative words, ill feelings, and depressing stories, the ones that come to our minds and lips with such practiced ease that we don’t even realize it. These are the things that hold us under the water when all we really want to do is rise. It takes a great deal of energy (stress) to hang on to these things but as we let go, we become more buoyant. With practice, it gets easier until it’s not so much an effort as it is a natural state of being. Through the act of releasing, we instinctively gravitate towards that satisfying homeostasis known as our sense of well-being.

I’ve been on my own adventure with letting go for several years now. Each new awakening lifts me to a higher plateau upon which I find greater perspective and immense satisfaction. I hope these insights resonate and create pause for thought for even greater enjoyment on your journey.