A few weeks ago, I was at a party with a friend whose life has not been easy, she might even have arguably ‘had it worse’…. If we ever felt a need to compare, we could create some sort of morose rating system, assigning points based on tragedy types, and make a data-driven and more decisive determination. But instead, when we’re together, we tend to laugh, somewhat darkly (with wine), in our commiseration. It’s an interesting grief survival strategy, and one I tapped into a lot with the friends surrounding me even in those very first days after Adam’s death. Sometimes dark humor can actually bring light to the darkness, kind of like a snake venom antidote. (Wow, deep, where’d that come from?)
At one point, in a heartfelt reaction after discussing some of her more recent trials, I commented, “You know what? I’ve decided I must’ve been out flying a kite one day that got stuck in a dark cloud and it’s just been following me around ever since … That’s it! We need to let go of our kites! I’m done. Sunny skies from now on!” I opened my hand in a letting go gesture and watched in my mind as the wind swept my kite and its anchored cloud away … it would have been perfect with a tequila chaser, but I think instead I scarfed down half of a gluten free cauliflower pizza… If my happy family life, cheerful demeanor, and stress free weeks since (not to mention 4 leaf clovers and a surprise wad of cash) are any indication, it’s working! All is bright!
Here’s what my kite release looks like in real life…
Life is contrasts, and in each moment of every day, whether good or bad, light or the darkness, sunshine or clouds (let’s face it, every single day has a mix – even the best and worst), we make decisions on where to focus our attention. Over days, weeks, years, that focus can begin to define us, within our own minds, and even outwardly (we’ve all met a Debbie Downer)….So much of my adult life has been focused on the trials – even more on their associated potentials, the worries over things that might (but haven’t) occur as a result – a scary future for a disabled child, not getting into college or landing in a successful career for the one who struggled in school, tragedy for kid who wasn’t making good decisions. … It’s true that a lot of real tough stuff has landed on me, but it’s also really crazy that as I sit here typing I’m suddenly aware of just how many clouds were created in my head, unnecessary and unreal, and, to add insult, around things that actually played out sunny and bright – kind of like those typical modern day weather catastrophe “cyclone bomb” predictions! … Jeeze, what a waste.
In last week’s post, I wrote about a positive energy experience and the connection it enabled one sunny morning recently as I was walking down the street in Westhampton Beach. I did not share this next detail, but it’s relevant here. … In one of my stops along that walk before the encounter, I was in the bakery section of the grocery store and noticed some beautiful and delicious-looking chocolate croissants, prompting a tsunami wave of sadness and immediate tears right there in the aisle, a very real feeling of panic, angst, and a need to escape. One of my son Adam’s favorite Westhampton summer treats was chocolate croissants for breakfast… That moment could justifiably have turned into a downer-super-spreader, a game-changing beautiful morning wrecker…
In letting go of the kite, I make a choice to let such clouds come, and then pass, within the context of their sunny blue sky backdrop, rather than too quickly raising the umbrella and putting my head down in protection, eclipsing the rest of the day. It doesn’t erase sucky things like the percolations and pain of past tragedies, or my too full plate, kids still finding their way, disagreements, a lost car key, concerns about family medical issues, complex problems, looming determinations about summer school, a scratch in my white beemer… But, it does allow for a broader view and appreciation of the full context, inclusive of the contrasting sunny blessings – like clovers and $2600! – or the open parking space in front of the door, or all green lights running late to the train (after I’ve looked up and asked) – enabling me to note and appreciate the blessings they represent, rather than just brushing it all aside as a fluke or aberration.
Letting go of the kite entails stopping to fully acknowledge peonies and a day spent with my friend who wasn’t supposed to make it this long, or dinner with my daughter and her friends and the awareness of the salinity on the front of my tongue in a wine from the Canary Islands, the feeling of my bare feet on a cool tile, a profound statement of wisdom from my 15-year-old, a “You got this, girl!” text from my mom after a blog post, or a text from Adam’s friend asking me to meet her at his bench, warm hugs and laughter at a PTA dinner with friends from the last 20 years, the grandeur of lush green trees with dramatic sunlight pouring through, more giant peonies, my friends successful surgery, dinner with my extended family watching my growing kids with their almost adult cousins … beginning each day in peace and with a joyful momentum, moved by the reality of the blessings represented.
If you read this blog with regularity, you know that I’ve been focused on energies lately, both in the world and in myself, and the maintenance of my own positivity. I can say without an ounce of exaggeration that this work is simply life changing. Several months ago, those four leaf clovers on my doormat would have been “more to be done,” and a $2600 discovery in my sick husband’s jacket pocket a head-shaking “life’s been hard” pervading sad moment. Instead, I’m still celebrating both – experiencing these the very same details with a totally opposite impact.
Yes, ‘letting go of the kite’ is the most important thing – the best thing! – I’ve ever done.
Interested in learning more about Naomi and AdamsWorld? Visit www.naomibrickel.com