Monday, March 03, 2008

Letting Go to Claim and Experience More ...

I remember watching a video once of an attempted rescue ... A young woman was trapped in rushing water and a group of people on the shore kept tossing her a life ring ... over and over it would land near her and she would half-heartedly reach out to it only to pull back her arm rather than grabbing hold and being pulled to safety ...

Even the encouragement of the crowds on the shore urging her to grab the ring and hold on were to no avail ...

Eventually the tree or shrub she was clutching was swept away with her still clinging to it ... the commentator noted in a dry tone that "her body was recovered later many miles down stream."

It was one of the most heart-wrenching videos I've ever seen ... yet, it is a video of a scenario that is likely more common than we realize ...

I recalled that video today as I was thinking about the likes of Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, Samuel D'Champlain, Magellan and the others who so broadened our world in the 15th and 16th Centuries ... These men took fragile little wooden boats and boldly (some would say foolishly) set out into the unknown to search for something that may or may not be there ...

As I thought of them, I recalled a quotation I've posted here before:

One does not discover new lands
without consenting to lose sight of the shore
for a very long time ...
- Andre Gide

How true ... the early explorers boldly and courageously let go of the comfort of what was behind them and set sail into the unknown, only to "discover" incredible new lands that were filled with possibilities, potentials and unimaginable riches ... (we won't get into the effect on the First Peoples they "discovered" today ... let's stick with the metaphor)

What really struck me though was the connection this made to a passage I had read last night in a book on leadership ... and the rejection of leadership by our anxious society.

The author was talking about the chronic anxiety that marks so much of modern society and suggested that this anxiety is a result of FEAR ... fear of the unknown ... fear of change ... fear of insecurity ... fear of uncertainty ... Fear in many different forms ...

This fear then forms anxiety within us and we begin to desire the comfort and certainty that comes with holding tight to the KNOWN ... Instead of taking a chance on the unknown, in our anxiety we will instead tighten our grip and justify our hold with words like tradition, comfort, security, safety and even love ... the author then points out that what may be needed for growth and an eliminating of the underlying fear (even if we don't know what it is) is the letting go of the PAST and the comfort it brings, and and embracing of the FUTURE and what it WILL offer ...

He likens this to two things - the early explorers who did just that and broadened the world in a real and tangible way ... the other thing he likens it to is women (and some men) caught up in a cycle of abuse, who cling to a destructive and unhealthy partner in spite of ALL the evidence before them - and they justify it with phrases like "but I still love him ..." or "he's a good man ..." and they close their eyes to the unhealthy and toxic elements of their relationship ... they forget, they can still love someone - but walk away for their OWN GOOD and for their JOURNEY of wholeness and evolution.

Today I realized how central that whole idea has been to me ...

Over the last two years I've experienced a maelstrom of change and transformation ... but much of it has been superficial because I haven't been willing to let go of the tree, nor lose sight of the shore ...

I've tried to win back my job ...
I've tried to restore my reputation ...
I've tried to help EVERYONE else in an attempt to feel fulfilled ...
And over and over and over I've set goals that have been unattainable because the rejection I feel when I fail justifies my feelings of unworth ...

Today I realized how deep the effect of this has run ...

and today I have decided to stop the pattern ...

Today I start to experience the change on a deeper level ...

I need to lose sight of the familiar shore ... I am no longer defined by the comfortable definitions of husband or minister, and because of the devastation to my ego and my reputation, I need to find NEW ways of defining myself and my place in the world ...

To day I let go of the familiar shore and head out to sea ... somewhere out there is a new land and I intend to find it ...

My hope is that others who are in a similar place will be able to do the same thing ... our bruises teach us lessons ... but there comes a point where we stop letting ourselves be bruised by other people and we truly begin to heal ... AND that can only happen when when we have the courage to reach out and grab the life ring that is being tossed to us ...

Today I had a wonderful friend call me at JUST the RIGHT moment with the sharp words that I NEEDED to hear ... and because of her honesty, her sharpness and her wisdom borne of a similar journey, I had my eyes opened to the reality in which I live ... a reality that today I begin to re-define !!!

Thanks my friend ... your words were like a life ring - one I WILL NOT ignore !!!

There will be no video of me being washed away!!! I'll grab hold and get pulled to safety!!!

And with that - I raise my sails and head for sea ...

ANYONE care to join me ???
You'll never know what you'll find ....

1 comment:

new road seeker said...

Great work! These latest blogs tell me you have found your cojones!

When life gives you lemons, you learn how to make lemonade!

Trite, but very true.

Congrats!

Sallie

ps: your family needs you, and don't forget, charity always begins at home. you have wonderful kids, love and adore them before anything else, including society's approbation!