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…

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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?

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Sublimation and Conversion, Part 2.

Follow your bliss.

If you do follow your bliss,

you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living
is the one you are living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid,
and doors will open
where you didn’t know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.

~ Joseph Campbell

(My apologies for the positioning of these pictures, I could NOT get the formatting to function properly on WordPress…)

MARCH 7 – 10 PHOENIX & SEDONA ARIZONA, AND THE GRAND CANYON

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Another cancelled trip / weekend with my erstwhile twin flame lead me once again to the idea of being open to ‘what is’… We had in the course of our getting to know each agreed that our life together would be a blend of family, career, spiritual growth, and adventure. My passions, my bliss had not changed… We had been planning to attend a Fat Tire Festival in Ocala Florida together, but that was off. The weather in Atlanta was still nasty, cold, gray and rainy and I had the weekend free… and more cancelled ticket credits to use.

Sherri at The Grand Canyon
Sherri at The Grand Canyon

I had met through social media and a shared friend, a woman named Sherri Columbus who is a healer, intuitive, and light worker.  We were discussing the subject of Twin Flame Relationships for some time.  Prior to having met my “Twin Flame” I had never heard of such a thing, much less experienced one, and the loss of it still had me reeling…  Sherri and I shared a similar need to try to come to terms with the feelings of loss. Neither of us were particularly accustomed to having issues ‘letting go’ except in our current situations.  This type of relationship and it’s intensity can create strong feelings of martyrdom and screams of codependency, but to state it as such would be a terrible misdiagnosis

Our discussions lead to the idea of me coming to Sedona and us working on some of this together.  I had never been to Arizona, never been to Sedona… but, it had always been on my list of places to go.  She said the scenery, air and history of the area was amazing and at the very least… ‘FUN’.

Sherri has a very strong and very warm personality.  It is impossible to argue with her, I mean, unless you’re stupid and can’t get out of your own way… Within moments I had found an amazing deal on a non-stop to Phoenix, and decided to stay at The Arizona Biltmore.

Arizona Biltmore
Arizona Biltmore

Arizona Biltmore Gardens (Aside:  My father had been an architect — and so my brother and I were steeped in the traditions and styles of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies Van Der Rohe…)  I couldn’t come to Arizona and not stay there.  And just my luck there was a special rate… BONUS.   And for the rest of the weekend I would just either flop on Sherri’s futon or grab a hotel in Sedona.  (It’s worth inserting at this juncture that my erstwhile twin flame lashed out at me for this trip… sensing there was more than there is for Sherri and I, and not that it mattered anyway, in retrospect, since I was dumped… I was actually going there, to Arizona, to hep myself hold space in my heart and soul FOR the purpose of hopefully reuniting at some point, and to try to make sense of all the feelings I was still having… NOT to start another relationship… and when confronted I simply said “come with me” which was met with silence)…

On the night I arrived in Phoenix, it was warm and dry and breezy.  Desert storms loomed off in the distance.  I ran six miles along the Arizona Canal… then returned to the room and finally out for a very late meal.  The next morning I was able to find an Ashtanga class in Phoenix with an adjacent juice bar… (Metta Yoga and s.e.e.d.

Fresh Juice at S.E.E.D.
Fresh Juice at S.E.E.D.

at the Madison Improvement Club) ….

Off to Sedona I headed…  The weather really started to change as I drove north… First a light rain, then real rain.  I finally made it to Sherri’s place and it was a full on deluge.  Off we went to locate hot coffee and clothes appropriate for being out in the rain.  I found a hat and gloves at goodwill and we found a great coffee shop, then a consignment store where Sherri found a cool hoodie.  In the meantime the rain turned to snow.  Our next stop was the Amitabha Stupa.

After that we were pretty thoroughly cold wet and hungry, so we headed to Tlaquepaque for dinner and galleries.  By now it was a full on blizzard… It was amazing.  The giant white flakes…  After dinner we went back to Sherri’s as I needed a nap and she had some work to do.

Sedona Blizzard!
Sedona Blizzard!

The next day, we decided to head, because of the weather, to the Grand Canyon.  Yes that’s right.  And off we headed.  First we stopped at the snow covered Slide Rock State Park… It was a winter wonderland… SO MUCH FUN!

Slide Rock 3
Slide Rock 3
Slide Rock 2
Slide Rock 2
Slide Rock 1
Slide Rock 1

Then we headed up 89A north… the road itself felt like some sort of ‘other world’…

Finally we reached the Grand Canyon.  I am sure many of you have been here, but neither of us had.  It is a place that is beyond description.  Let  a sampling of pictures tell the story.

Slide Rock 4
Slide Rock 4

One of my favorite parts of this ‘drive’ — Sherri seeing signs, totems, gathering all sorts of ‘spiritual’ insights from our surroundings as we drove.  So, we’d be talking and suddenly she would get a sign… and interpret it to the exact context of the conversation.

On Sunday, I woke up early, as always (plus, I am notoriously on EST… ) so I went for coffee…  Then we met up at Sherri’s place and went to Red Rock State Park … It was a crystal clear blue sky, sunny perfect day… Oak Creek was surging from all of the snow and rain…

I will continue this series of writings on Sublimating lost love but as more of a celebration of what I’ve discovered, because the trips and experiences (both light and dark) of this year were so soul shifting and integrating.P1180842

Coming up next is a truly incredible adventure to Costa Rica!  Stay tuned.


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Sublimation & Conversion, Part 1.


Love does not just disappear.

When we hit a transition, we experience grief.  There’s no shorting that process.  It takes what it takes to get through that.  It’s messy, it’s cold, it’s sad.  There are times of sadness, despair, doubt, anger, depression…and light at the end of a bizarre tunnel.

There’s that moment where we just know ‘Oh, yeah, that sounds true…’ and we really ‘hear’, ready now to sublimate, transform, convert… We experienced love, we experienced loss, and we didn’t know what to do with all that ‘energy’ that was left over from the broken dream…

Such was the case for me, this past February.  I was getting a lot of loving kindness and support from friends during a time of change… and one said,”Bill you gotta let some light in, some love in…”  There’s that moment where we can actually SEE and know we have a choice… to stay in the story or to move through it.  It doesn’t change the feeling, it is just an action.

I had already launched into a period of taking courses and reading everything I could find on the subject of ‘Twin Flame’ relationships, break-ups… these lead me to the subject of Self-Love… but it took rain… lots of cold, rainy, gray, dreary, days to nudge me off the edge.  When Frederick said those words, I was reading some Byron Katie, and had the crystal clear awareness that my passion could be directed toward myself…  And with that I… discovered I would just do the things I loved doing with a partner, by myself,  enjoy at depth… read on!

February 14-17  SANTA MONICA & DANA POINT, CALIFORNIA
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On a weekend where I had already booked a flight to, and then cancelled to – Michigan — (Yes I know I am a dedicated guy who travels to Michigan in the winter when he’s in love… call me crazy) … I decided to book a trip to California.  I needed the sun.  I needed the warm air.  I needed to see the mountains tumble into the sea and I needed to spend some time with friends, old and new, and get out and enjoy some healthy outdoor activities without freezing and soaking — Atlanta was having a particularly wet, cold and gray spell…

So Off to LAX it was.  I was going to meet my friend Michael who I hadn’t seen since 2009.  We are going to have lunch.  This would give me a chance to kill a night at The Standard, go for a run along the beach then catch up over lunch.  And I did just that!  In the a.m. I headed down to the Santa Monica Pier and managed a 6 mile run.  It was a clear sunny dry and cool morning — absolutely perfection.  Michael and I met, had lunch and talked for a few hours — catching up on life, on our lives, and laughing so hard our faces hurt.

From there I made the short drive that took HOURS (LESSON LEARNED — always take the PCH… it is deliberate, and beautiful, and fun…whereas the highway is jam packed with cars bumper to bumper frantically trying to get where they need to get but only getting stop and go)to Dana Point, where I was meeting up with a new friend, Darlene… We were going to go running and have dinner.  It was her plan to show me some of the beauty of Laguna Beach and Dana Point, and I was in the mood to experience something new.  I got there and we checked out the beach at Dana Point, watched the sunset  and then went to dinner.  She is the ultimate ambassador for the area… knows the best trails, vistas, and places to eat.  She’s smart and fit and fun… a really great companion, friend and guide.IMG_5144IMG_5189IMG_5183IMG_5177


The next morning I was up early, being on East Coast time.  I went out and ran along the harbor, IMG_5165and then attended a truly invigorating class at Pacific AshtangaIMG_6160.  To make matters BETTER it was another gorgeous, amazing day on the California coast.  AND there’s an attached juice bar called Organic Tree…IMG_6165 Quite the contrast, if you ask me!  To use a cancelled trip from a broken dream and convert it really on a leap of faith into a truly beautiful adventure… this is to me how important it is to be transparent to my closest friends (my ‘tribe’) and to take their good advice in a way that has meaning to me… to follow my own Dharma…

This trip made me aware of a few things.  First was that I am actually lucky to be able to meet and make friends with people I can and do trust.  And it’s okay for me to love myself and take care of myself and do the things that I like to do.  Not only that, but it’s okay to do all this while still feeling sad and broken hearted over the loss of a love I had totally believed in.  Healing doesn’t have to mean literally sitting in a cold dark place until just goes away…IMG_5151

So back to Atlanta I went.  Feeling sun drenched and recharged, and semi-enthusiastic about working…

I still was nowhere close to feeling like I had processed the broken relationship, however I felt lighter and faithful — as if it was really okay to be both grieving AND taking care of myself.

I felt quite a bit more in touch with my own ability to love another without condition, and to love myself as if I actually mattered to me.   My first instinct when re-reading this is ‘Well, of course you matter to you…” but I mean on a tangible, taking action, and following through not just lip service or reading from a self-help book way…

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 In Part 2 I will tell you about another really amazing journey! Stay tuned…