Back on August 28th, Kat and Meredith asked us about the things no longer served us and which we would like to release. I wrote about those things – physical and emotional – that I feel I need to release in order to fully step into the potential I know I possess. The physical stuff. Eh. It is what it is. The emotional, though, is always the trickiest and the most critical. Without doing the emotional work, it is nearly impossible to make any real progress.
With traveling and visiting, it was difficult to find time to write (hence why some of you who follow me or subscribe found blank posts…I’d set posts on my calendar for publication and then I didn’t have time to actually write them. Apologies all around) and even more difficult to find time to release my leaves into a stream or river. However, as I was making my way west, Thursday afternoon, I stopped at a rest area in Nevada and picked up some leaves. Friday afternoon as I came into Ft. Collins, Colorado, I had a little bit of time before meeting up with my best friend.
I used that time to do, what I thought was just sending those leaves down the Cache la Poudre. The leaves were dry and brittle from spending countless days in the brutal Nevada heat, so writing on them without damaging them was a feat in and of itself. I felt a little silly standing on that bridge, on the side of the road, tossing my leaves over the top rail of the bridge that was too tall for me to really see over.
I pitched my leaves over, one by one, and let to go, floating with the current. As I let each one, go, I found myself increasingly anxious to watch each one go as far down the river as I could see. I didn’t want one to get hung up on the myriad of debris in the river. Each one made its way until I could no longer see it.
Until the last one. Shame.
I let shame go, and almost immediately, it was hung up on several other leaves. Of course it would be shame that refused to be washed away with the moving waters of the Poudre. I crouched on the foot bridge and watched my leaf twist, flipping forward and back, trying to free itself from the other leaves that held it hostage. As it remained trapped, I became increasingly anxious, worried that even if only symbolically, I would be stuck with my shame.
I watched for approximately 5 minutes, waiting and worrying, wondering if it was ever going get free and continue its merry way somewhere else and away from me. I thought maybe I could help it along, so I walked back to the parking area and picked up a few rocks. I have a terrible aim. Terrible. My three tosses didn’t come anywhere near where my shame was stuck, still struggling to free itself. As I turned to go back for yet another set of stones, I noticed that probably 100 yards up river, there was a man fishing. I have no idea if he was paying any attention to me or not, but I didn’t particularly care at that point. I needed to try again to help the leaf that was symbolically my shame make its way on down the river.
So I came back on to the bridge with three more stones. And when I looked down, my leaf…and my shame…was gone.
I kind of think that our real emotional issues are like that. We work on them; we struggle with them; we fight and wrestle. And almost while we aren’t looking, because we are so wrapped up in the work, the healing, in the letting go, we don’t realize that it’s already gone.