Monday, May 5, 2014
Word of the Week - 9
Any fans of the Ally McBeal series may remember Richard Fish (played by Greg Germann) dismissing any unpleasantness with the single word, bygones. As though that excused anything, everything. Life requires us to let go of so much.
Friends and lovers, family, homes, places, things. In weightier moments, the reality of how everything we treasure is really just on loan becomes unavoidable. That the bad times pass is the good news. That the good eventually follows them out of town is possibly why many of us trundle on in dual states of grief and contentment. Age only serves to make longer the list of what is gone.
One of my first friends lived next door in our post-War housing tract. Almost daily we played at my house but when my father arrived from work, his dinner awaiting, my mother would first tell Eva, kindly, it was time for her to go home. Each time Eva grabbed hold of the arm of the couch from which my mother then had to pry her four-year-old's fingers. Every time. I wonder now were there valid reasons why Eva would rather be with us, were we clueless about what might cause a child to fear her family. I will never know, but for 65 years Eva has been my model of how not to let go.
Through various chapters I've learned we cannot - or should not try to - make anyone stay who wishes to go. It suggests to me the same dark magic it would take to cause dead flowers to bloom again. Bygones. What is over is over.
It is not different with hurts, with slights or our own grievous, no matter how unintentional, errors. To keep them fresh, like a flagelant's wounds, has a sinister tinge. We ought not be the source of our own unhappiness. Holding on is just and only that.
More than 20 years ago I studied energy healing with a shaman. The training involved ritual, learning its power, becoming acquainted with symbolic actions. What I remember is writing - and rubber stamping images - on slips of tissue-thin paper, freezing them into an ice mold and allowing the ocean to melt the ice, release the woes, dissolve or carry them away. And what I remember is very soon after becoming as ill as I'd ever been, from which I am still recovering. It taught me a lot about ritual not being for dabblers. Still. Being able to let go of what we stubbornly cling to or what what seems to have epoxied itself to our spirit frees us for other business, better matters, new growth, evolution. I don't wish on anyone the job of prying my clinging fingers from that shadowy couch.