I wrote this poem when I was in grade nine. I received a B-, which I think is rather low for such teenage insight! My teacher at the time was notorious in her despise of all things dark and tragic, ‘death’ was a big taboo. I however was dark and tragic. I loved exploring the darker aspects of human nature. The pain, the hurt, the emotional messiness that encompasses life. I don’t think she grasped the depth of this poem. Only four lines, it nonetheless speaks volumes 🙂
This is an excerpt from one of my personal journals …
“How do I deal with these feelings of deep resentment, unhappiness, anger and oppression?
Such heavy words.
I have them, but what I am supposed to do with them?
Perhaps yelling and screaming? Perhaps crying? Perhaps taking action?
But what action would that be?
In order to get myself out of this situation, I must make changes, or movements toward alternatives. But what are those changes? those movements?
I’m not sure of the answers, or am I? I am questioning my clarity, my understanding, my intuition, my gut.
I need to release or express these difficult emotions. But how?
I must accept that everything is only temporary, nothing is stagnant, only my thinking, my inability to act, no my unwillingness to act stops me from moving forward, to moving to where I want to be.
I act by letting go, by facing the emotions, by feeling them, by releasing them from my mind, my body, my soul.”
I wrote this many years ago, and it was these types of ruminations that lead to the awareness and answers that are in my book Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. It was a long journey to find the insight and courage to act. I hope you find your way too.
I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day, and to my friend, let me apologize … because inevitably, a friend will always end up somewhere in a writer’s musings ;).
My friend is going through a very difficult custody battle for his daughter, and a wonderful site called Ponder Central had recently posted an excerpt from our book, Life, on detachment. My friend responded to the post by saying he didn’t agree with our philosophy. He explained that he was in the middle of a terrible, painful fight and he couldn’t just let go of it.
Here’s part of the post: “Detachment is the art of letting go…When people think of detachment, they think of being insensitive, cold or emotionally void – a kind of numb, nonchalant, indifferent attitude, where we walk around and interact with people projecting an image of being aloof and uncaring. That is not the detachment I want you to embrace…” Let me also add, that detachment is also not about ignoring difficult situations in our lives, or pretending they don’t exist … as if we could. Detachment is about letting go of the pain, and negative energy and emotions, that tend to accompany these difficult rites of passage. We cannot let the pain fester.
I explained that while we may not be able to change our current situation, (at that exact moment), we can’t allow the pain to consume us. He responded by saying, pain was the only thing motivating him to fight for his daughter.
I responded gently by suggesting that perhaps it was really his love for his daughter that was truly motivating his actions.
His pain, however, is keeping him locked in a cycle of suffering. It is very difficult to focus clearly, and find objective, productive ways to move out of a difficult situation when we are knee deep in the pain, essentially only seeing red. All of our actions, thoughts and words take on a particular slant/tint when they are filtered through that anger and pain.
During one of my recent yoga classes, a student asked how to deal with anger. The key is to understand that by telling everyone how miserable we are, by talking about our ‘story,’ our ‘plight,’ by complaining, by rehashing, ruminating upon, reflecting on and in general letting the anger and pain consume us, we keep ourselves trapped in a cycle of negative energy … which if we prescribe to the motto ‘what we get is what we project’ … we will only draw more and more negativity into our experience.
The trick is to catch ourselves in the act: be conscious of our negative thoughts, words or actions. I remember, a long time ago, thinking to myself how easy life would be if I just had amnesia. I could forget all the pain, all the negativity, all the painful memories, and all the injustice. What I realized years later, was that we all have a choice. The past, the pain, the anger, the resentment, the hurt, it stays in our life because we let it … we give it room to breathe and grow. We nurture it with our thoughts and our tenacity to cling to negativity … after all misery loves company.
The wild thing, the exciting thing, the extraordinarily wonderful life changing, weight lifting thing about all of this is that we can choose to let it all go. Pain hinders us, makes us ill, makes us unhappy and unfulfilled. If we can take a leap of faith and try letting it go, try letting the pain slough off of us … for even a moment … the lightness, the peace and relief that follows will give us the confidence to let it go for good. We don’t need pain to live, we don’t need a negative past, or difficult memories. They hold us back, they keep us from thriving.
Letting go of negative emotions might involve speaking to a counsellor, (someone who is objective, as opposed to a well intentioned, but nonetheless biased friend), or something as simple as writing about it in a journal – without censuring ourselves. The key to writing anything down is to never let anyone else read it. I find it is easiest to get it all down, moan, scream, cry, swear, spit out the injustice and pain in big block letters of indignation, and then burn it, rip it up … destroy it. The process is meant to be cathartic. It is an emptying of pain, not holding on to it—in any form. Perhaps you enjoy kick boxing, or running. Maybe you like yoga or meditation. There are as many ways to release negative energy as there are ways of collecting it. Try to find a method that works best for you and make a commitment to releasing the pain once and for all!
Do you have a tried and true method for letting go of negativity? We’d love to hear about it!
I crawled out of bed this morning at 11:30am. My kids were still asleep, the house quiet and serene. It was the morning after a double feature at the Drive-In Theater. Spiderman started us off, followed by Men in Black 3. The kids loved all the action of Spiderman; and I have to admit, I really liked Men in Black 3. That’s my kind of humour—the Three’s Company, Nutty Professor kind of slapstick comedy that keeps me sniggering for hours.
The awesome part in all this was, it was youngest’s first ever trip to the drive-in. I’m ashamed to say that it has been a long time since we partook in this wholesome family tradition. The last time we parked at the drive-in, I inadvertently spilled an entire extra-large Coke all over my husband’s shorts. He is still traumatized by the memory, which included him changing into a pair of jeans that he brought for when the night air turned cooler, schlepping his wet shorts and underwear through the concession building, only to have his underwear slide out of the shorts and land with a resounding ‘plop’ on the floor, whereupon everyone turned and looked. He sheepishly tucked the undergarment away saying, “I spilled my pop, really.”
Back in the present, my kids had a blast of the past—playing Ms. Pacman, Frogger, Phoenix, and Donkey Kong Junior on real arcade machines, sliding down metal slides, swinging on flat wooden swings, and balancing on rickety metal and wood teeter-totters.
With only minutes until the movie began, the tailgate popped up, held down at a respectable level by a bungee cord so no one behind us would be obstructed by the view, and two lawn chairs came out for my husband and I to sit in. Blankets, pillows, and children crowded the back of the truck, where seats had been folded down to allow for a luxurious movie viewing experience.
Bug repellent was duly sprayed, casting an odiferous fog around us, and for the most part we were unmolested, save a few brave souls that risked their lives for their supper. A few, admittedly, succeeded. Others, admittedly, failed.
By the end of Spiderman, everyone was wilted, but the youngest child’s enthusiasm to stay up past midnight, kept us going till the screen went dark—at 2:00am. The hour drive home was augmented by open windows and air conditioning, which aided alertness. No mandatory teeth brushing for the youngest kids—this experience just kept getting better and better for them—just straight to bed upon arrival. We were all comatose the moment our heads hit our pillows!
In other words, it was awesome! The kids loved it. It was brilliant watching them absorb the drive-in ambience, and it was a kick to only spend $30 to get in—it was two movies for less than the price of one! Can’t wait to see what’s on the big screens next month!