A beloved family member has been suffering from a stiff neck. She’s been applying heat and resting, and trying to undo the tension that has taken up residence in her body. I know she’s wondering if there’s a way to move just so in order to make it go away.
I suggested to her that maybe there’s a deeper meaning at play. Perhaps this literal pain in the neck is a reminder to look forward, instead of continuously looking back. She seemed open to considering that possibility as she shared some thoughts about her desire for a new chapter.
That beloved family member is my mother, which means we are deeply connected. So, of course, I realized that maybe there’s a message in there for me as well.
A situation recently came across my path. One in which my past appeared to me, in the form of another person going through the motions of a scenario I’d left behind.
I was at once surprised and curious. Validated, yet triggered. Open minded and hopeful. I wanted to problem solve, help, and run away. Yes, I was riding the waves.
I allowed things to unfold in the spirit of reflection, release, and most importantly — connection.
A memory surfaced of a hard chapter of transition from an entirely different situation. I was sitting alone in a parked car in a city I no longer lived, texting with a friend. I told her how uncomfortable I was, how hard things were. She did not gloss over it. She reminded me that sometimes we have to sit in discomfort.
Oof. I had to sit with that.
I am here to tell you that it passed. I got through it. You may have heard the phrase, the only way out is through. It’s true, even if it’s so dark right now that you can’t see.
There are so many layers to what we feel. And we are never alone. I know it feels that way sometimes, but we really are all connected, swimming in the same sea.
We do, however, have a say in how strong our connections are to other people, to other stories. We have a say in how tightly we hold on. We have the power to let go.
When that person reached out to me, it was an opportunity to write a new chapter about that experience. It turned out to be an inspiration. It offered clarity, and light. I did my best (and continue to) try to share that light.
I saw in that situation threads of connection that no longer served me. I could let them go now.
I saw in that situation new connections. A story waiting to be written.
We are all riding the waves of life. We are all holding on, and letting go.
Special thanks to my new friend for sharing Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change by Maggie Smith with me. It’s filled with inspiration for when the waters are rough.