Recommended Reading Soundtrack: Song for You by Alexi Murdoch on album Four Songs
Autumn is my favorite season in New Mexico. The weather holds a place in my soul as cool contentment, and to top it off, the ABQ International Balloon Fiesta whisks away the hot summer and carries with it sweet relief. As the aspen leaves change to a gleaming yellow on the mountain side and begin their annual transformation, it is also an ideal time in my heart to reflect on any baggage I’ve been carrying around that is also ready to transform and break away into the potential for new growth.
Stay with Me
As I drove to work this morning in bumper to bumper traffic due to the parade of balloons riding the breeze over our roadways, I found myself reluctantly sucked into the song “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith and realized it was time for me to come clean with my greatest fear- abandonment. The thing is, I’ve come to the realization that this time it is not about me feeling abandoned, but the guilt I carry every day for feeling like I abandoned my step-daughter and how that made her feel, with no opportunity to tell her that I am sorry.
In all the times I have felt alone and abandoned, the thought of causing another human being the same pain is like torture for me. It has been an issue for me my whole life and a major source of my old co-dependency issues. A struggle that pushes and pulls my heart strings, leaving me feeling suspended over an empty ocean. But a wise teacher once told me that when you experience pushing and pulling in your heart, you are not living from your greatest potential, you are living in fear’s shadow of “what if”. My fear has always been rooted in avoiding hurting others, without the realization that people are responsible for managing their own suffering. Yet, when the other person became a child the game changed for me.
I had made the decision to end my marriage because I witnessed how my unhealthy relationship with my step-daughter’s father was affecting her in a negative way and causing her to feel responsible for the management of my own emotional pain. The cycle of the “balancer” was unfolding before my very own “balancer” eyes, and I knew it was unfair to her. She deserved more.
You is kind. You is smart. You is important.
Being shut out from a step-child without any communication is so painful. There is a scene at the end of the film “The Help” when Aibleen is fired and must leave behind her employer’s child who she had been raising for the duration of the child’s life. And she is forced to say goodbye to a little girl, knowing there is no way she can understand why she is leaving. Knowing that she will think Aibleen has abandoned her. The scene captures everything that I felt in having to walk away from my marriage without the opportunity to give consolation to this dear child that had such a profound impact in my life.
I would have done anything to say, “I love you with all my heart, I will always think of you as a daughter, and would be honored to continue to play a role in your life.” But karma did not allow for this gift. And, so it goes.
Now it is time for me to place this unrelenting sadness into the fire of one of those illuminated balloons floating over New Mexico and watch it disappear into the morning sunrise. It is time for me to abandon my abandonment and trust that all the conversations I’ve had in my head and in my dreams with her have somehow reached through time and space and given her peace. Sometimes there is nothing else we can do but let it go in pure, unattached love. This time I shall watch my abandonment float away with a wish that you may know how loved and beautiful you are, always.
So Dear A, in the words of Alexi Murdoch in his “Song For You,”
So today I wrote a song for you
Cause a day can get so long
And I know it’s hard to make it through
When you say there’s something wrong
So I’m trying to put it right
Cause I want to love you with my heart
All this trying has made me tired
And I don’t know even where to start
Maybe that’s a start.
GROUP EXERCISE- Reflections on Owning Your Uncool
In your own quest to live your life from your greatest potential, your Rock Star Self, what is a great fear that you have avoided looking at and accepting? How has this fear prohibited you from living your life from a place of joy, and what opportunities have you chosen not to take because of this fear? This is a moment to seize in your vulnerability, and share with the deepest part of your self that is patiently waiting to connect with you. Embrace your “uncool” and Rock Big Love!