Wednesday, February 8, 2012

letting go

I read a quote on Facebook today, by Melody Beattie.  It said 'Letting go doesn't mean we don't care.  Letting go doesn't mean we shut down.  Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave.  It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment.  It means we stop trying to do the impossible--controlling that which we cannot--and instead, focus on what is possible--which usually means taking care of ourselves.  And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.

I thought about this quote a lot as I was driving home today, and while making dinner.  Applying it to my life, I have multiple aveunues in which it fits.  On one hand, I have the application to my kids.  I am letting go of the perfectionist control and vision of the perfectly organized and clutter-free home (think Better Homes and Garden, Martha Stewart, etc...).  The way things are, for the moment is crazy, and cluttered, and toy filled, and crumb-covered, and marker-stained, and always accompanied by mac and cheese and a Go-Gurt tube **  My focus now is not necessarily taking care of myself in terms of eating a consistently healthy diet (or even having time to eat at all), or by exercising with the frequency that I'd like (and no, chasing a speed-crawling baby doesn't count as exercise in my book).  My focus now is taking care of my soul.  Being the kind, gentle, and loving mom to my kids in every way that I know how.  It's taking those things that are urgent and putting them into the backseat for what's important when I'm home with the kids and they're awake. 

Another application that I have for this is in terms of other parts of my family.  I do not have an upstanding relationship with anyone on my dad's side of the family.  For the most part, I am able to move through my daily life without this having a large impact on me.  That may sound heartless to outsiders, but it's fact that is warranted by a lengthy and complex history, the details of which I am not prepared to delve into.  The internal struggle I am facing is that I have quite a bit of unresolved issues that creep into the back of my mind and affect my persona. 

Today at work, we had a professional development session that focused on our 'colors', which were then linked with a personality identity.  We identified and further examined our own personality traits, and then began the work of interacting with people of different 'colors' on levels that provided us further insight into how to be a more effective colleague when working with people with different personality traits.  I have done the whole 'color test' a few times before, but today, we moved beyond the self discovery and began to synthesize the information and work with it on a more productive and deeper level. 

Although I went into the test assuming I'd be one color, since I had come out that color before, I was pleasantly surprised to see a shift in my scores.  Where I had once been more orange, this time I came out as predominantly blue.  Blue personalities seek to express their inner selves.  Authenticity and honesty are valued highly and above all other characteristics.  Blues are sincere, sympathetic, empathetic, and compassionate.  They are self-searching and enjoy close relationships with the ones they love.

I recognize the ultimate purpose of our activity today was to foster relationships within the building, and to reveal the positives and needs of our colleagues.  But that doesn't mean I didn't apply the colors test to my life outside of work.

It didn't strike me as odd that a person who is predominately blue would place such a high value on authenticity, sincerity, and relationships.  I feel drawn to others with whom I can create a connection.  In fact, if a connection isn't obvious, I tend to go out of my way to create that connection.  More often than not, this is a beneficial activity for my soul, as I can walk away from a conversation--no matter how insignificant--feeling as though I was 'tuned in' to the other person, even if for just a brief few moments. 

Go back to the quote from the beginning of my post.  Three times, the phrase 'letting go' is used, along with terms like 'give up' and 'stop'.  Suddenly, when the context of this ideal is not about my kids, I am at a crossroads.  Of course, when it comes to Gavin, Brynn, and Raegan, I will give up whatever is necessary in order to be there for them.  Of course, when it comes to my husband and dear friends, I would make sure that my calendar is clear for them, my phone available at all times, my shoulders ready for someone to lean on and tears to stain it. 

Then I approach the situation of people with whom I have not felt that connection.  The concept of that does not sit well with me as it is, regardless of the paths that have led to our current stalemate.  My struggle comes when I have to make decisions about how to move foward from here.  I think the reason that this quote stuck with me so much throughout my afternoon and evening is because of the repeated phrase 'letting go'.  I have to decide on what level I need to 'let go', whether that means 'let go' of my own anger and frustrations with the way in which the relationships (or lack thereof) have panned out over the years, or 'let go' of those relationships which do not ultimately foster my own personal growth.  I've spent time praying on this a lot recently, as I feel this urgency to make a move away from the impasse we currently reside in. 

Ultimately, I know that my heart will make the decision that is best for my soul, my identity, and my family.  I know that Randy and our kids are my number one priority in terms of happiness (after my own, of course, as is the saying 'if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy'--funny, but ultimately true because we cannot make others happy if we are not happy with ourselves).

For tonight, my thought process has reached a roadblock.  I cannot conceptulalize what my next steps are, so I close my ramblings with this prayer:
God, help me to be open to change; help me also to stand fast by my beliefs when they are right.

What I love tonight about each of my kids:
Gavin: I love that you chose a Star Wars book in libary today and when I read it to you tonight, you suggested Daddy read it, because you know I can't pronounce half of the words. (Thank you for helping me with the words as I read)
Brynn: I love that you decided tonight that you 'LOVE' writing so much because it's 'so much fun', and that the words you chose to write tonight were 'mom, dad, Raegan, Brynn, basketball, and picture.  Random...and uniquely you.
Raegan: I love that you've learned how to give 'aa-aa's' to mommy, daddy, Gavin, Brynn, stuffed animals, and almost anything you can cuddle your cute face against and say 'aaaa' to.  Precious :)

somedays, I need this to be written on the mirror so I start my day off with a different mindset

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