What No Longer Serves

I am thinking about “Letting go of What No Longer Serves You” and what that means. I think we collectively tend to attach a negative connotation to the thing we are letting go of when we affirm that we would like to let go of it. In a spiritual sense we use this language to address self doubt or limiting beliefs. Sometimes it is an addiction to a drug or an activity that needs to be looked at in order to make room for a more productive experience. It can even be a religious idea or a practice that doesn’t jive with our current knowledge or way of being. For instance, I have many times ritualized an intention to let go of a belief about myself, writing on a piece of paper “ I will let go of fear” or “ I will let go of the false belief that I am not smart enough” and burned it in a fire. My need to hold on to fear would be absolved in the burning, signifying that I no longer need to believe that I am not smart enough in order to keep myself safe. And then, as is the work of manifesting and co creating with the elements of nature, I imagine the fire burning out and banishing what no longer serves me. I close my eyes and I imagine myself as the person who is fearless, as the person who is not afraid to speak up or share her medicine, because she believes that she is smart enough, and that her experience gives her the authority to speak her own truth. In my enthusiasm for my fire ritual, I have tended to leave out an important step.  I think it is important to go back and recognize and honor that the thing that no longer serves me did serve me well at one time.  Even in an extreme case where that belief or activity has begun to create major anxiety and create major roadblocks to my achieving what I want to accomplish, it made me feel safe. It brought me comfort. No matter if it is the kind of safety or comfort that we as a collective deem lasting or positive or real.

I have been working with the intention of moving through death and rebirth on a more conscious level, as I have arrived at a juncture of deep knowing that these cycles are ever present in all of our systems of human experience. Death and rebirth are easily celebrated and mourned and ritualized in the ways that we are well versed in. The birth of a physical baby, the death of a physical body. No longer am I personally living with the illusion that the only two times I will experience my own birth and death are the times when I am probably the least consciously aware that it has happened. How many times have I died? How many times have I been born? The obvious metaphor that I have lived is of a life threatening illness that didn’t kill me in the sense that we all understand as DEATH, but that still killed me nonetheless. I was able to realize a thousand little deaths and a thousand little rebirths through my cancer experience. In many ways the life that I gripped onto was lost to sudden and violent death, leaving me to mourn and grieve, in the way that sudden loss does. In terms of self, that old version is dead, and this new version, less fragmented and seemingly in one piece, did not just take place of her all at once. As this physical body mourns the loss, the decay giving way to something else, churned from the matter that it decayed to, the process of birthing takes place. The process of birthing oneself. Its the rapid changing of a physical body giving nourishment to new life. Again and again,we work with this concept throughout our time in physical body. Whether we seek understanding or not, our consciousness is having this process, and it is manifesting itself in our physical bodies. Perhaps it explains the anxiety, the discomfort, the feeling of “offness” that you can’t put your finger on. The feeling of deep sorrow that you feel in the middle of an otherwise perfect day. The lump in your throat. Agitation. Anguish. These are symptoms of processing and grieving. We all process the cycles of change, it is our nature to do so because we are nature and nature is cyclical. Through this lens of understanding, I see that I am holding a gift. A heartbreakingly generous gift.The gift of recognition. Myself not in nature, but of nature. So, satisfying it is then, to wallow inside of the mystery, connecting the dots, recognizing and ritualizing every step of the way.

We are given these physical bodies, and with them we walk down unknown paths and utilize tools and crutches and ideas that we choose based on our limited understanding. Integrating the darkness, the shadows, the fickle, the pain, the past mistakes,the death, allows us to rebirth ourselves more effectively.  We must fully accept and appreciate who we once were in order to become who we would like to be. I think without acceptance, we are forced to revisit, again and again, our traumas, freezing us in terrorizing places in our psyches. But by working with acceptance, and honoring that which no longer serves us, perhaps we can operate our physical bodies within a more satisfying framework.  Yes, we are excited and ready to move on to this new way of being, this new layer that sets us free from the old ties that bind us. But in laying an old idea or way of being to rest, if only for a little while, I think it’s important to fully accept that it did serve us at one time. I would like to perpetuate a seed of an idea that we dare celebrate that thing… celebrate the crutch. Can we dare to honor in ourselves the need to grasp onto something in an effort to survive?I think it might give way to more self compassion and self discovery. For aren’t we all just doing the best that we can?


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