For those that know me, know that my life is an open book, literally (Discovering Michael). I have used my own life experience as a means to reach out and connect with others, hoping to provide them with the realization they are not alone and inspiration for getting through life’s challenging times. Therefore, this is a chance to share my own personal experience in letting go. This was the focus of a recent post, and I realized that it was time for me to “eat my own dog food” and practice what I preach.
I realized that I was struggling and holding on. I was not ready to let go of the hope that we would get back together and resume what was my dream. Although I knew intellectually that we became different people, emotionally I was still catching up. Emotionally I was a wreck and it was affecting my life. I had muttered the words, I let you go, but had not yet meant them. It was time to do what I knew I needed to do. It was time to go privately to my favorite spot where I would be in nature and have my talk with God. It was time to release my tears that I had stuffed while I busied myself and surrounded myself with distractions.
It was a beautiful day and despite my pain, the sun was shining and the ducks and birds were out and about. A rabbit crossed my path and made me smile. I captured this picture since it was how I was feeling. I was the turtle on the rock looking at my relationship (two ducks) from a different perspective. I sat on a picnic table bench and began my talk with God.
I noticed on the picnic table a plaque, that it was dedicated in memory of a couple. I then decided that I would make my own plaque in memory of my relationship. I picked up a stone on the ground and used it as a means to write my own memory. I had brought with me a couple of hair pins and ring she had worn.
I wrote the following words,
I Need To Let You Go
Thank You For The Time We Had Together
I Wish You The Best
Here Is To New Opportunities For Both Of Us
It was like I was having a life review, from the time we met to now. I was filled with tears and feeling sad for the first time. But with the release of the tears, I was starting to feel better. I laid on the bench and just looked up at the sky. I felt a peace that I had not felt in while. Tears came again, and again, and again.
Divorce is like a death. It is experiencing the loss of what one holds dear. It is an ending which is scary and tough to come to grips with. It is a mourning.
I am a huge advocate of ceremonies like this to personally deal with the change. It is best when doing them alone so that you can get in touch with the pain, the sadness, the anger, the good times, the bad times, and everything that made this connection what it was. I had used similar ceremonies even within companies to help groups move through high impact change. One of my favorite change models comes from William Bridges, who states that change actually begins with an ending, the mourning of losses, and then moves through a transition phase and ultimately a New Beginning.
But one has to first deal with the ending. It is about acknowledging that something we valued has indeed ended and there are losses we are experiencing as a result of this change. Then one moves through the transition phase which is marked by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Model of Grief and Loss, where we in our own time work our way through the emotions of change. Then we begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel, which is a New Beginning awaiting us.
Thanks for letting me share my personal account, and here is to all of you who are going through similar endings. May you find your way. It is not easy, high impact change never is. But you will survive, that is your goal, and eventually thrive, which is your vision.