Acceptance/letting go......(edition 40,038 of a continuing series!)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The fires that consumed Northern California where I live raged on for over a week. It was 8 days before we found out our home still stood. It was 13 days before friends were permitted to check on our home (we are now out of town) and 13 days before one of our cars was deemed safe since it had been parked in a parking lot in the town of Sonoma (because our friends went back to their home after being evacuated and couldn't leave for another week to go get our car and their other car.)

    It's been nightmarish. Never having been so close to a natural disaster before, we went thru so many stages of fear, sorrow, stress, extreme fatigue, wild uncertainty and shock. During the entire process, we were gearing ourselves up for the loss of everything.....it was a mind boggling experience.

    Our friends were able to get into our home yesterday and reported that everything is fine. Out of the 3,300 homes in our community, 3 were lost to fire. The stats are that 100,000 people were evacuated. 400 square miles of land was destroyed. 8,400 structures were consumed by fire. 42 people died, (so far.)

    We made arrangements 3 months ago to go to Kauai, our sanctuary island, to rest and to see if moving here is actually feasible for us now. The date to leave was 48 hours after the wildfires began. Deciding to leave in the middle of the fires while not knowing if we had a home to come home to was a leap of faith and an act of surrender. There was nothing we could do at home but stay in a shelter. We realized we were powerless. A condition I experienced a lot on these boards where my daughter was concerned. A total lack of control.

    My friends, most of them new friends, showed up in spades, insisting we leave, insisting they would take care of everything. As you may recall, over the last few years I've done a thorough scrutiny of my closest connections and recognizing that quite a few were not reciprocal, compassionate, kind and loving, I let them go. It was very, very hard. In the last 6 months, new friends have shown up......wow, the difference is remarkable. I am shown so much love and support and that allowed us to leave and take them up on their offer to take care of 'stuff.' I am so grateful.

    We are here on Kauai for one month. The first 12 days of this trip have not been what we expected. We spent the very beginning of it letting go and accepting that we may have nothing to return to. We got to a point where that reality was what we truly expected. When we realized we were not going to suffer that fate, the level of gratitude that erupted was immense. All of our friends and loved ones are okay, their homes are intact...... some have pictures of the fires coming right up to their fence line. It is a miracle none of us are taking for granted.

    I have nothing but time right now to ponder this experience. My daughter and all of her wild, chaotic choices paved the way for me to learn so much about letting go, powerlessness, lack of any control....... and the seeds of acceptance blossomed. Leaving Sonoma County in the middle of the firestorm was my own acknowledgment that I have absolutely no control over this situation, it is what it is. One way or the other, I will have to accept it.

    Two days ago I learned that my younger sister, who estranged herself from the rest of the family years ago, has terminal cancer. I raised her from age 11 on. I am devastated. Still going thru the grief of that.
    Sometimes life just knocks you down with more to accept. If it feels right, any prayers you can offer for my sister are appreciated. She's had a tough life.

    I cried for my home. I cried for my sister. I cried for those who lost so much in the fires. The grief is real and it hurts. Underneath it all, I am aware of how much I have no control over. How much I must accept in life. How much of life is about letting go.

    Today I woke up and felt this deep calm, a peacefulness I haven't felt before. Somewhere inside of me, acceptance has taken root.....there is nothing I can do about so much in life....all I can do is respond to each circumstance, have my feelings........ and let it go. And then turn around and let it go again.......and again......and again.......and again.

    We humans try so hard to put it all in a box, to find a level ground to stand on...to control life......but there really is no level ground to stand on, it is ALWAYS shifting and moving.......all we can do is accept the shifting and moving and learn to ride the waves with acceptance. It's taken me years and years to find a stance to take that isn't rigid and controlling......my own fear has brought me to the edge so many times......and this time I teetered on that edge for so long......I got somewhat used to hanging there in mid air with nothing to hold on to.......

    .......and then I woke up with that peacefulness.....it all is what it is......I have no control at all....and that realization is.....well....freeing.....liberating.....open and airy.....

    I have no control over any of it.....none.....wow.

    ........there will be more times to let go......more to accept.....more to grieve......that's life....but for today.....I am in paradise in peace. And so, so, so grateful. So grateful.
     
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  2. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    On a work break. Response is short, but you are long in my love and thoughts.
    Mahalo nui, RE ~ I need to hear all of this over and over.
    So blessed and thankful too, for your heart and life ~ for your inspiration and blessing.
    Enjoy each moment on your “Garden Isle.”

    Aloha ka kou. Malama pono. Enjoy the pule in song and hula.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWpTbe8ua_M

    The new day comes ~ Ka la hou ~
     
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    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  3. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    RE
    A prayer for those lost all 41 this is unimaginable. Then a sigh of relief that your home and car are safe.

    Timing is never ours to control and yes we have to be and flow through life doing what we can do and knowing what we can not control.

    I have friends in California who lost not one but 2 homes in fire. I just will never understand the tragedy that struck these beautiful people not once but twice in 17 years.

    I am so very sorry for the news of your sister.

    Try to relax embrace the beauty of your surroundings and rest your soul a little. It needs it.
     
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hugs, RE. I'm glad your home, and more importantly, your friends, survived the fires. The amount of smoke that was blown in here was amazing; I can't imagine how it was for the people living through it.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. Praying for comfort and for relief of her pain.

    Enjoy your visit to paradise. Hubby and I are hoping to get to Hawaii - we have never been there.
     
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  5. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    RE, I just wanted to drop a quick reply. I have been "off the grid" and without phone or computer thanks to a nice burglar who broke in a few days ago. I guess I have been struggling with a few "letting go" issues myself, though nothing on the scale of what you have been through!

    I just wanted to say that I am so happy your area was unscathed. I think it's great that you went to Kauai anyway and showed that openness to literally all circumstances. I hope you have a lovely rest of your stay and find clarity one way or the other as to your future plans.
     
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  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    RE, I'm so glad your home is intact. I'm so sorry to hear about your sister.
    Finding calm in the midst of a storm is a life lesson that is worth learning. I agree with how in dealing with our difficult children we have become equipped to deal with whatever life throws us. I have learned to be grateful for the lessons learned going through difficult times.
    EnJoy your days in paradise.
    upload_2017-10-27_8-9-24.png
     
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  7. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Oh my. What a blessing that your home survived and you have good choices. Also that you have good friends and this lovely island to enjoy. Sorry to hear about your sister. Such a wise analagy/observation about how having a d c can prepare us for life's challenges.
     
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  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you all for your kind words, it means a lot.

    Kalahou, Mahalo nui loa. I feel so fortunate to be on the island which holds my heart....the place I feel safe and nourished. The song and hula are much appreciated, how lovely.

    LBL, I am sorry to hear about your friends who lost 2 homes. Thank you, my soul is resting.....in the place where it would be difficult NOT to have your soul rest.

    KTmom, yes, the fires were remarkable. Thank you for thinking of me. We're not sure what we're returning to and how much damage there is in Sonoma County, but we feel so much gratitude.

    Albatross, I hope the burglary is a thing of the past now.......letting go is challenging no matter what we're letting go of....

    Tanya, thanks, life lessons are tough, but feeling grateful through it changes the perspective.

    Nomad, our daughter's have offered us hidden gifts in accepting life's challenges. (I'd have opted out of that one if I could, but since it arrived, nothing to do but embrace it!)

    I'm still in awe that we are here, that we were lifted out of the fires, literally, and placed in a safe, peaceful and beautiful place. And, that everything at home was taken care of. There were so many obstacles in our way to get out of town and we continue to marvel at the fact that each one was met with a way out. Sometimes fate works in our favor.

    Being away from the everyday mundane stuff offers a fresh perspective on things. It's as if we are taking a very long, very deep breath and exhaling very slowly so that our bodies, our minds and hearts and spirits can renew.....

    We've been looking at places to live. We wonder about how it will feel when we walk back in our home in CA. We feel detached from it in a way we hadn't before......those 8 days of not knowing if it survived the fires gave an opportunity to let go of it in a certain way....and everything within it. It's an odd sense of liberation. We humans hold on tightly to what we have, to our beliefs, to what we hold dear......and that holding on so often creates suffering.

    I was thinking about something a therapist once told me in response to my inquiry about how she saw transformation and growth in therapy......she said, "holding all the paradoxes of life and not going crazy." It was an interesting take on things that I've always remembered. I see it in our current situation.......in paradise after a brush with losing everything.....having my sister, who is very ill tell me that one of the gifts of cancer is that "if you can get thru the anger and the fear, you learn how to live in the moment, how to be present." How life can hold a gun to your head at point blank range and scare the bejesus out of you and at the exact same time, bring your gratitude level to an all time high and offer up each moment as a blessing.....to feel so scared and be holding your breath for so long you think you'll pass out as you sit in a shelter in the middle of the night with other misplaced folks and observe a very young woman so tenderly administer to an elderly woman that it brought tears to my eyes for the sheer humanity of it.

    I think every moment we're given a choice of how we think and feel. Each moment is new, we bring to it what our dominant thinking is....A great Deepak Chopra quote is, "our cells eavesdrop on our most dominant thoughts." And they respond to those thoughts. As our minds and bodies do. Having my dominant thoughts be gratitude and love is a very different minute to minute experience....

    I'm hoping to sustain the gratitude when I'm back on the front lines again. I believe what the Dalai Lama says, "the ultimate source of happiness is our mental attitude." I hope to bring the island happiness home with me.
     
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  9. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    RE
    Excellent perspectives from a time of loss sorrow and growth and as you aptly put gratitude and simple humanity.
     
  10. Alejandra

    Alejandra New Member

    So glad that everything is good with you, definetly everything happens for a reason and yes, acceptance and letting go and we will see the silver lining in all of this, with an attitude of gratitude, because at the end even if we don’t understand everything will fault into place if we just live one day at it time , trusting and believing there is always a good purpose and “today we are where we need to be. Our present circumstances are exactly as they need to be...
     
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I too have said almost that same thing re would probably have preferred to have "opted out" of that particular lesson!! Lolol

    Love your beautiful sentiments on gratefulness. So powerful.
     
  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Mahalo nui loa for sharing, Re, when it rains, it certainly pours. I am so sorry for all you have gone through, what an onslaught, but, your resilience shines here and through all of your posts.
    Thoughts have power.

    I hope you bring it too. Kauai is such a beautiful island. I am so glad you and your husband decided to take that leap of faith and go. Glad that you have the awesome support of true friends to keep an eye on things on the home front.
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and the light that helps you find your way through.
    (((HUGS)))
    Leafy