The coming of spring is inevitable, but our renewal is not. Its a choice like everything else. I have to choose which story to believe. What to hang on to and what to let go.
This lesson is not one that was dropped into lap. Up until recently I would go through the seasons of my life simply reacting- an observer, not participant. It was only after the dissolution of unhealthy relationships, the shedding of toxic cycles, and active spiritual work did I learn to unlearn what no longer served me. As a result, I have stronger boundaries and love myself first.
We choose our narratives, consciously or not. During my two year MFA program I almost talked myself out of completing it for several reasons, citing bad timing (post divorce and newly single mother of a 2 year old) and struggling through a period of unemployment… everything was more important than writing at that point. Survival trumped art. Until I realized that survival demands creativity.I am ever grateful for my choice to stick out my MFA, because it taught me to put my trust in my power of creation, to write and live a different narrative.
Another recent example has been the dissolution of a decade long friendship. This occurred simultaneously as my divorce, acceptance to graduate school and all those life changing events…There was a long, painful period of holding on for me…of reacting…of allowing others to dictate the narrative of what might have gone wrong, of what might happen next. My heart broke more over the loss of my best friend than my ex-husband, she was a supporter and witness of my son’s birth, a fellow artist since our teen years…the most painful part was the question mark of “what happened” that hung over the circumstances, there was never any clarity, never any ‘final’ discussion or argument. For a long time, I felt that the narrative wasn’t mine to tell…that I could only be in ‘react’ mode and wait for her to speak her truth.
While packing for the big move, I came across a card from her- to celebrate my first mother’s day. The words she wrote were beautiful, inspiring. Ali was only 2 months old then and I had stuffed the card somewhere and totally forgot about it. Even though I was in cleaning mode I couldn’t help but weep over it. I realized I was still holding on to the narrative of ‘maybe’ and the confusion surrounding it. Even though I intellectually knew it was over for months, in my heart, it was a different story. As I sat there rendered helpless by a damn hallmark card, my partner gently reminded me that its okay to be sad and its okay to celebrate it happening in the first place. My story didn’t need to focus on the end, I could change the narrative, remember it for the wonderful things it was…and at its best, it was supportive, beautiful, and fun.
That’s what I needed to hear to take my power of creation back…after allowing myself to mourn, I choose to reflect on it from a different chapter…one I own. Much like the daffodils that are sprouting up around our new house, they were due to emerge from the ground whether I prepared for them or not. But my choice to rake away last winter’s debris, to make room for them to bloom… has resulted in a much more vibrant renewal this spring.
Write or be Written.