A few months back my family and I spent time some time in an airport restaurant pushing food around plates while we waited for a specific boarding call. When the dreaded time arrived carry-on bags were gathered and we moved towards the gates.
I gathered Jack my 5 year old nephew into my arms and almost smothered him in a bear hug, with me savoring the moment. His huge smile infectious and he was beside himself with excitement. After a month of being separated from his Dad he was leaving to join him in Kuwait indefinitely. My Mum said goodbye to my sister Lisa. I turned and looking into my sisters eyes, both of us realized there were no words in that moment only pure emotions spoken from our hearts via falling tears. Hastily we completed our goodbyes and made to move away. A five year old outburst floored us all, “NO!!!!” he said, “Ye have to go behind the glass and wave goodbye to me and Mom just like we did for Daddy”. Jaws openly crashed to the ground, but dutifully we took up position behind the wall of glass and waited for them to clear customs. Eventually my sister slowly approached the glass, Jack holding her hand bouncing along in glee totally ecstatic, living out a big boy’s moment just like his dad. He waved enthusiastically, we forced huge smiles and blew kisses, hearts openly breaking. When it became no longer possible to hold in, we “let go” and cried. Lisa continued without faltering to stride past the window, tears visibly flowing down her face. Jack clearly wondering why we were crying and not deliriously happy like he was. In that moment I longed desperately to be consumed with the innocence of a child. They continued walking to a new life. Jack looking back, his Mum unable to do so.
On the journey home lost in our own thoughts, I contemplated the sorrow we felt. I knew personally it would be my sisters physical presence I was going to miss the most and I realized that a very physical cutting of ties or “letting go “ had just taken place. I couldn’t help but compare the experience and emotions to that of a toddler breaking free of its parent’s hand, taking its own tentative first steps into the world. There is fear involved, fear of letting go, fear of holding on and fear of not moving forward. Realization is though, once that connection has been severed there is only growth, with that growth comes strength and joy for a new beginning and a new way of life. We too had broken free with Lisa & Jack’s departure and all of us were progressing independently each creating new experiences, new adventures.
I wasn’t very good company that evening, things played heavily with me, so I took myself off to meditate. It was a major challenge for me. Tears and thoughts were abundantly present and I struggled to seek solace from my relentless mind and thoughts. I tried a mantra which normally works “I am breathing in” and “I am breathing out”. It lasted for all of….. 3 breaths!! I tried another couple of techniques to no avail. Then yoga took over and I realized I needed to look at exactly what it was I was experiencing. I needed to acknowledge what I was feeling. Swallowing emotions and pretending it hadn’t happened wasn’t going to solve anything. So I continued to sit and I finally acknowledged what it was I had been feeling…… loss…… and I cried.
Why are we so afraid to cry? Is it because we feel it shows a sign of weakness a sense of being unable to cope? Why do we opt instead to choke back the emotion and not set it free? We don’t stifle our laughter or our joy, so why stifle our tears? Tears cleanse the soul. They spring clean our emotional baggage and help us to let go. Cleansing, real cleansing where you sit and take a good look at what it is you are feeling, brings with it awareness and an acceptance of what is. It allows you to live in the present moment. I was once told in a reiki session that “once you are aware, you can never again become unaware”. It is so true.
As you meditate allow yourself to see the full picture, allow yourself to become aware. Aware of how you feel and aware of what those experiences are doing to you. Give yourself permission, take time to sit and observe. Look at the emotions that are being brought up for you. Acknowledge them and then let them go. Do this without judgement. Accept what you are feeling and accept the reason for it. Allow your new beginning to take place. Endings are new beginnings. New beginnings are stepping stones to personal growth and development. Think about it, if the toddler didn’t release its parents hand “letting go”, stepping into their future and life purpose would have been seriously hampered.
I didn’t manage to sit and meditate myself into bliss that particular day or for quite a number of days after that but I did take a major leap to the next stepping stone in my life. I recognized my loss in a sister whose physical presence I will deeply miss at coffee mornings, family occasions and shopping trips. I allowed my breath to find its natural balance and allowed my sense of calm to return and in doing so I realized I was now living in the awareness of how I was feeling and it was OK. It is ok to feel loss and pain when someone you love leaves you or moves on. It is ok to allow yourself to express those emotions, to acknowledge them and to let those tears flow. It’s cleansing. Cleansing is freeing and being free gives you strength and courage and allows you to grow as a person. Moving on doesn’t mean you forget, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Moving on means you remember, you remember with love what you felt, you recognize the emotions involved but you also recognize the potential for growth and development.
So sit quietly. Breathe, meditate and find the stillness and serenity that is deep within you. Then give yourself permission to feel the experience, feel the emotion. Remember tears are cleansing, so give yourself the permission to cry and allow your true self to “LET GO” and grow.