Life after letting go........

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    MWM, in her infinite capacity to be so real, opened a door for me to put words to the way I've been feeling lately and I thought I would write it down so I can gain more clarity and perhaps open a dialogue for any who've experienced this.......

    I've been feeling very empty lately. It's a strange new phenomenon for me. As some of you may know, I have been at this letting go stuff for like 40 years............a bio family riddled with mental illnesses, a daughter with similar life has been taken up with what felt like folks lining up in front of me whom I had to really look at seriously to determine if they were in the "letting go" group or the staying group. Turns out most were in the former.

    I think when one grows up with so much dysfunction, relationships are thwarted with difficult issues because we haven't learned how to be in healthy interactions so we attract the same kinds of characters we're used to interacting with. As I've grown and healed, those interactions cease to work and I had to choose to let them go. One by one, over decades, I've done that. It isn't easy. In fact, it's been the most difficult thing I've ever had to do. In particular with my mother, my sister and my daughter. Not that I don't have relationships with them, although I don't with my sister, just that the toxic part is not permitted so the connections are extremely limited.

    A lot of truth to face, a lot of denial to get through, massive amounts of grief.

    I see it all as lessons to learn from, the relationships taught me a lot about who I am, so the process of letting go had many gifts along with the pain.

    I've successfully let go. I've accepted what is. I recently got married, moved, turned 65 and negotiated to work primarily at home with a good salary increase. Life is good.

    AND, I feel strange.

    husband says he felt that way when he retired, that it took a couple of months for him to relax in to retirement.

    I was watching something on TV about returning soldiers and I thought how they must feel, in battle one day, days or weeks later, back in civilian life. That must be a harrowing transition.

    I've spent the better part of the last 4 decades healing from my childhood and letting go of toxic people, experiences, thoughts, ideas and ways of being. It was a lot of work, it took up a lot of energy. It feels like I've been like the soldier in a faraway land and I've just returned to regular life..........

    I've created a vacuum within me. There isn't anything to DO. I have lots of time and lots of internal space. Empty is the best word to describe what is going on. It reminds me of a statement I heard in a 12 step group, once you close one door, you end up in the hallway for awhile, waiting for a new door to open.

    I know a new door will open. I have creative ideas about what the next step is, but I don't feel that I should rush onto the next step, I feel intuitively that being here in this emptiness, practicing presence and stillness is where I need to be. AND, it feels damn strange to be here. I don't know how to feel exactly. It's as if my JOB has ended........I am retired too..........and like the books all say..........there is "only to be." Well, in theory that's great, but in reality, it just feels weird!

    I vacillate between feeling incredible joy and aliveness and vitality and excitement.......and then a day or so where I feel like my skin doesn't fit around me anymore, like I am on the other side of the room watching myself, not quite centered in my new self yet. It's a very odd feeling. My eyes are looking out at the world with a different focus, the focus is on ME and that perceptual shift.........changed everything. Everything. Every. Single.Thing.

    I even moved to a new town, so I really am looking out at a different view. There are mountains surrounding me and lately they are shrouded in fog. Sometimes the fog lifts and little glimpses of the mountains emerge.........which is exactly how it feels on the inside of me.........seeing those clear and distinct glimpses of a new reality..........and then there's the fog.

    Not the old fog of 'not willing to see'......... the fog of not knowing what's next.........yet.

    So, here I in the uncertainty, the emptiness, the place where seeds of creation can grow........the place of possibility.........

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  2. Hope_Floats

    Hope_Floats Member

    Very insightful and poignant. Thank you for sharing with us.
  3. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    What a divine gift.
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  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    RE, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insight. Your words are so true and inspiring!!
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  5. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I really like that, about being in the hallway, waiting for the next door to open. Thank you for sharing your experience so beautifully.
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  6. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    Beautifully said!

    I remember that empty feeling. It is a lot like a soldier who is always at the ready, then suddenly home. We've lived lives full of struggles, struggles that the average person can't even fathom! It will take time, but the "seeds of creation" that you plant, will grow and you will adjust to a different type of life - a beautiful life. You will find your way in this new life - relax, breathe, and enjoy this part of the journey.
  7. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    I understand that feeling of empty.. I also in the past year have flushed out a lot of toxins in my life. It leaves me thinking now what. Sometimes I feel selfish to be so concerned and focused on me.RE When your door opens please let us know and keep posting what it is like waiting for the revolving door to sweep you in.
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  8. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    RE -- First, thank you, as always, for your candor, open heart and insightful words. :)

    And congrats on "accepting and moving on" (which I already knew from your posts), your recent marriage (Which I did not know! Wonderful!), your recent move (Exciting!), and your work/salary increases (Way to go!).

    The "vacuum".......... Well, that's as eloquent a description of that transitional period as I've ever heard. That word of such emptiness does fill the sentiment well. Hmmmm..... So much DISorientation amid the change/opportunity for REorientation. Feeling DISoriented is a pretty odd sensation. Exhilarating and kinda terrifying all in the same breath. And I don't know about you, but, for me, it can sometimes be exhausting trying to ride the wave of transition. Just an extra workout finding our footing in new territory, ya know?

    What a terrific and clarifying nugget! Thank you for, once again, sharing something so powerful! I know you heard it in a 12-Step Program.........but I heard it from you! :D

    I see you posted this Saturday.

    Can you share how your Hallway Experience has been in timeframes? Do you wait in the hallway long before opening doors? Do you examine each door carefully before opening, or do you tend to open doors spontaneously and just see what works best for you? If it works........great! If not, just head back into the hallway and try another door?

    This hallway analogy fascinates me.... Will consider my own answers around my own "Hallway Experiences". Interesting....

    I just read others' posts, above, about their take on the "emptiness" in the hallway and the "doors opening". Does the door open for us or do we open the door? Or both? Or, the one I really liked up there was the "revolving door" image. Now that's a visual I think we can all relate to!

    RE --- Thanks, again, for sharing so candidly. Honestly, I don't think I've had a single interaction on this site that hasn't inspired and opened a new window of understanding.

    Even in your "emptiness" you are full of insight! <3
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  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks everyone.

    I feel that way too. Post toxicity. Every day I get more used to this new way of being.

    Yeah, I feel that too. It is tiring.That bird in the new thermal feeling..........she leaves the old thermal to gain altitude and gets caught in the massive winds free floating until she reaches the higher thermal and gets used to it. I imagine myself with hair wildly blowing every which way, eyes bugged out, clothes torn and ragged, a weird 'joker' kind of smile on my face............and then it makes me laugh.

    Hmmm, my hallway experience. Well, for me, I wander around in the hallway trying to be very open and not attached to any outcomes.....not always easy........and I wait. Sometimes for a lot longer than my mind would imagine is a "fair" amount of time. Then, my experience has been a door swings opened and I am now in a whole new movie........that has happened to me through many transitions. Since I am always growing and learning I've had MANY, MANY transitions! You'd think that hallway would be familiar, isn't. It's usually a very new experience each time. Something ends.......I go through the letting go opening. I think the waiting is the gestation period, where new ideas are hatching underneath awareness........and they require a darkness, an unknowing, an amount of time, where the seeds are sprouting but you don't really know it. I can be impatient and feel as if I want to go pull on those little seeds, pull them right out of the ground........but of course, I don't. I wait. Wait until something new forms and then...........the idea seems to show up fully formed and ready to go. Then there is a new clarity, I've heard it called diamond consciousness because it is sharp and there isn't any doubt. Often there are opportunities which spontaneously show up....things you couldn't have anticipated..........

    quote="HeadlightsMom, post: 642670, member: 18284"]Does the door open for us or do we open the door? Or both? Or, the one I really liked up there was the "revolving door" image. Now that's a visual I think we can all relate to!

    I don't think I open the door. At that point, I think it's more about allowing...........and waiting...........and then the door opens........

    After the door opens then I think the new life requires a commitment. A commitment to be true to oneself and go where one is guided. There is a wonderful quote which is said to be by Goethe, here it is:

    "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

    I believe in those words and have much experience in the truth of them.

    So, I continue my wait, here, in the land of empty, the Great void.