The Sometimes Subtle Effect of ‘Not Letting Go’

imageIn the past 6 months I have allowed myself the opportunity to move through some changes.  It meant letting go of some things I was holding onto.  I was aware of a few, while with some others I was not, but as the clarity came, I truly wanted to make room for the new, the sustainable, for love, service and adventure, and the kind of abundance that goes soul deep.  “And I am fulfilled” is my affirmation.  I see this kind of housecleaning as a vibrational act of allowing.

I noticed that some other things were changing, dropping off, as well… mostly financial in the form of debts accumulated in the past few years while I was going through perhaps the deepest transition I have ever felt.  Not the sudden swift epiphany, but the waiting, trusting, occasionally doubting kind of patience that can be so humbling.

Much is written about letting go, it’s a good thing.

Let it go.

That relationship that hurts? Let it go.

imageThose words that upset you? Let them go.

Let the words go.

Let it all go, even the people if necessary…

I am all for that. Grieve as necessary, do the inner work, evaluate your role, make amends and set boundaries…

Get clear and then take your desire to Spirit.
Let.  That.  Shit.  Go.

It’s highly likely I don’t do nearly enough letting go. In fact I would like to suggest that we only let go when something is really uncomfortable, proven false without a doubt, or in emergencies.  For the greatest part, me included, don’t actually pay much attention to our attachments.  We run in a sort of ‘neutral’, used to the noise and weight of our attachments like so much white noise.  They are part of ‘normal’.  But they’re not.  Attachment, it is said, is the cause of all human suffering.

imageI would now like to tell you a story. It’s a true story and it’s about the subtlety of not letting go.   It all revolves around a matted and framed trio of photos gifted to me by a former friend. The framed pictures appeared somewhere around 1998, I think… And I still have them.

This is the back story. My 2 best friends at the time, Mike and Pete decided a nice long weekend trip to Tsali Recreation Area in North Carolina would be a fun adventure. We loaded our bikes, jumped in my giant SUV and headed up from Jensen Beach. We camped, we rode mountain bikes, we did some trail running, we ate catfish while imagelistening to live bluegrass, and we even took in a local dirt track car race. I was the photographer and documentarian, as always… lugging my big ass 35mm Canon A1 and various lenses in a backpack.

On our 3rd day of riding these 3 photos were taken. it had been a typical day on the trails; lots of fun, beautiful scenery, lung scorching climbs, flowing fast downhills and catching air on some pretty big bumps. Pretty much what a mountain bike road trip should be.

It was so great, that near the end of the ride, I asked Mike to wait at the bottom with my camera, and get some motion shots with me flying through a section of whoop-te-doos… He said yes and I trudged up to the top.

imageI made the turn, clipped in, and took off! As I landed, I knew I was in trouble immediately. I thought I had cased the landing because it felt like I hit hard on the front wheel, and it felt like my arms were being ripped off the bars. Over the bars I went, pitched high and hard, landing with all of my weight on the left side of my head and the back of my left shoulder.  In terms of yoga, the pose ‘fallen angel’ comes to mind.

When I sat up, Mike asked if I was alright. I knew immediately I was not. I couldn’t quite tell what was happening, but I did recognize within my body the need to move, and the onset of shock. I had one singular focus: get back to the campsite before I pass out… My left arm felt like it was dead it was all mushy in the shoulder area.  This was not how I pictured the end of my day and now I just was running on adrenaline.

We rode the 3 miles back to the campsite and then without hesitation I jumped into the truck. Mike drove me to the ER at Bryson City, and after xrays I was given the diagnosis of a stage 3 Acromioclavicular separation. I think because that was so obvious, they never even bothered to xray the ribs or wrist… until later in an MRI it was discovered I had twig fractures in the ribs… I opted out of the ‘bone scan’ for the wrist…the treatment seemed worse that the injury, but I had to heal up some sort of wrist injury as well.

So the next 8 weeks were a real bitch for me, physically. It hurt to laugh, sneeze, cough… My orthopedic doctor suggested I get in the pool and one day at a time begin strengthening the separated shoulder by lifting up out of the pool. Gradually it strengthened, although it has never been the same. Fortunately I had a heated saltwater pool, unfortunately even with rehab this is a permanent injury.

Getting back to the story — Mike, to his credit, had actually taken photos as we had discussed.  He had no idea I was going to become injured, he was just being a great friend.  My intention was to have some shots of me catching some air on my bike, but instead the photos would document the moments leading up to the injury. In fact the cause of the flip is evident too, a perfectly placed rock catching my front wheel on an otherwise smooth trail…

image
Mike

Mike, strangely, decided to take the film from the camera, and acted very defensive about getting them developed.  I told him I wanted the film, and I would handle the developing.  But no.

Months later, I received the framed trio of pictures as a gift from Mike. They were nicely framed and matted, and it was a thoughtful gesture even if bizarre in my opinion.

I did not like them. At all. To me they were a gruesome of a serious injury and were definitely not reflective of the overall elan of the trip.  I questioned Mike as to why he would do this, and he never really answered. He isn’t a mean, nasty guy, and I am sure he wasn’t trying to teach me some lesson.  His intention was never revealed to me.

In a subtle act of not letting go, this framed series of 3 pictures which captured a moment I would rather let go of and move on from stayed. I never hung the photos.  They sat in a closet, in a box, stayed with me through several moves, in the garage… finally, the other day I spied the picture and took the question into my journeying practice; ‘Why am I holding onto this”…

Here’s what the answers were that came through that meditation:
1. Although you do not like the pictures, you do like and respect Mike. You were willing to put the idea of his feelings in high regard, above your own.
2. You place a value on framed art — whether it’s of value or not.
3. You have been forgetting to let it go. It’s one of a thousand tiny little rubber bands to your ‘story’ — like a tangible reason why you ‘can’t’ or why ‘you’re afraid’…


And so, there are the pictures of me removing the photos, and letting them go symbolically burning them… and then installing 3 new pictures that remind me of the beautiful adventure that is this life… Now, what remains to be seen, is will I still see those pictures when I see this frame, or will it blossom into something new… Who knows, maybe I will have to let go of the frame too.

I want to look at all things with some imagediscernment. Is this something I want?  Need? Is it pulling me forward, higher? Or am I using it to weigh myself down and to create a story of ‘can’t, won’t or don’t?

bk

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