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Letting Go In Order To Receive
I had a magical moment with our 5yo Saturday.
It was the day we were going to pick up Eden’s new mattress.
This has been long in coming as her old one was 20+ years old, pee-stained and just terribly uncomfortable to sleep on.
The week leading up to getting her new mattress, Eden was so excited. She counted down the days til we’d pick up her new one.
Then the big day came and she noticed that John had put her mattress in the hallway, getting ready to load it up in the van to exchange it for the new one.
That’s when it hit her… that she had to let go of the old in order to make room for the new.
When her little heart and mind couldn’t understand, she bursted into tears.
She begged to keep the mattress (in the breezeway! in the basement!) and about broke my heart with her pleas and tears.
To help console her, I put her mattress back on her bed so she could lay on it and bounce on it one last time. She climbed onto her bed, curled up in ball, and sobbed her little heart out.
And just for a brief moment I felt this urge to react with a grown up brain (it’s just a mattress kid, get over it! If you can’t say goodbye to a mattress, you’re not going to make it in life).
But she’s not a grown up.
She’s a little kid. With a huge heart. And I knew telling her to ‘toughen up’ or just forcing her through it would not help.
So I climbed onto her bed with her, curled my body around her, and held her as she cried and pleaded for us to keep the mattress. She tried to convince me that she didn’t actually want the new bed, that she was perfectly happy with the (crappy) one she currently had.
I inwardly chuckled as I stroked her face and shared that it’s okay to cry and how beautiful it was that she loved her mattress so much. I agreed with her in sharing how the bed had served her well and gave her so many good memories – a good night’s rest every night, a place to warm her body at night, and so many fun bouncing memories.
I shared with her that life is full of change and change is often saying goodbye to something good in order to say hello to something beautiful.
So I suggested that she tell her mattress ‘thank you’ for all the good memories and to know that it’s safe to let go. With that, I kissed her head and got up to shower and get ready for the day.
When I came back, she had stopped crying and was happily jumping on her bed. She turned to me and told me that she had thanked her mattress and that Daddy could now take the mattress to the van. She ended up joining me on the drive to the store and upon arriving, kissed and hugged her mattress goodbye, and eagerly hugged her new one as soon as it was placed in the van. She looked at me and said, “I’m not sad anymore about my old mattress, Mom.” (A response I don’t think I would have gotten had I forced her to let go of the mattress without giving her the tools to process/grieve the change.)
A knowing smile spread across my face, and I replied, “I’m so glad, baby.”
What about you?
When facing change or transitions in life, how do you handle it?
Do you freak out, get angry, stay in a weepy state, and/or are just so hard on yourself?
Maybe you handle it by telling yourself to toughen up, to bury the pain and pretend like everything’s okay when everything is clearly not okay. Maybe you feel embarrassed that you feel so strongly over something that seems so small (but it’s not small to you). Instead of facing the change head on, you do everything you can to distract yourself, telling yourself that what is coming can’t be any better than what you’ve got, and that you should have just kept things the way they were.
You spend so much time and energy trying to convince yourself that you’re actually happy where you’re at (you’re not) and that whatever is out there is overrated (even though it’s what you’re longing for), that you end up making yourself more miserable.
And this breaks my heart because your misery and suffering is completely unnecessary (oh how we love making ourselves miserable sometimes!).
When facing change in your life, there are 3 things you can do to glean it for all its worth, to make it as smooth as possible, and to make space for the good that is headed your way.
1. Let the feelings of the change wash over you. Feel the feelings, have the emotions, cry/scream/pound it out, and know that it’s safe to feel what you’re feeling.
2. Once you’ve felt all the feelings, allow yourself to thank the very thing you are letting go of. Whether it’s a shitty or great situation, there are things to be thankful for. Be grateful for what you learned, for your experiences, for how it brought you to this moment.
3. Give yourself permission to say goodbye. Don’t drag it out; it will only increase your misery and delay your joy. Let yourself face the truth of the change by acknowledging what is happening. As you say goodbye, tell yourself (out loud even) that you are saying goodbye to something good in order to say hello to something beautiful. (Or if what you’re saying goodbye to is shitty, then all the more reason to say goodbye to it so you can make room for something beautiful!). Remind yourself that it is safe to receive the beauty that is headed your way.
So if you get anything from this post, let it be this:
It is safe to say goodbye.
It is safe to grieve.
It is safe to feel.
It is safe to receive.
It is safe to look ahead.
It is safe for something new.
It is safe to receive something beautiful.
Don’t let your fear/ego keep you from letting go and receiving that which is headed your way.
IT ONLY GETS BETTER.
In fact, I think you just got yourself a new mantra here:
It is safe to let go.
It is safe to receive.
It only gets better.
And may you love your mattress with all the fervor of a five year old. 🙂
[Featured Photo: Toa Heftiba]