Last week I sat in my office as a therapist for the last time. After over 25 years of counselling, I officially closed my practice. That makes my heart jump even as I write it as it will take some time to really sink in. After all, we get wired to keep doing what we are doing, whether it’s a job or an addiction!
I must say ‘thank-you’ to all the folks who dared to make a phonecall and enter my office to sit on my couch and say what needs to be said, open to new possibilities and shifts, some expected, some completely unexpected. It is a courageous commitment to look at one’s life clearly and examine how it came to be this way. I have learned so much from each and every one about life, the human condition, suffering and triumph.
With every ending, there is a beginning, and this is both. With every ending there is a process of letting go in order to make space for something new. Not all letting go is voluntary and sometimes a crisis or surprise happens that forces the issue. We might think that letting go is something that happens in the mind such as “I am letting that go.” However, true letting go is a process that is far more visceral and felt than a simple decision but it requires one condition:
The sooner we become comfortable with the anxiety of uncertainty, the easier life becomes.
It is possible to let go in one foul swoop. But more often it goes likes this: It starts with an intention, a rumbling that this is what is required. I knew for some time this is where I was headed, but I chose to ignore it for a while, not knowing what would be next. Then actions. Small, step-by-step cracks that signify you are changing course. For me it was not taking on any more clients, cleaning up, and eventually saying goodbye, one by one. Not all letting go is easy. At each point there was a longing to return to the familiar and maintain status quo and keep the prior identity. At each point my higher knowing came in to remind me of my intention. Then, the final eruption when it’s gone.
Then come the aftershocks: the doubts, the re-affirming, the reflection of a chapter lived, the anxiety of the next step, the opening to a new chapter. All of these steps are important and to be honoured. In fact, it is this space in between where growth lies. Like the chasm in between solid ground. If you have 6 minutes, watch my very favourite, albeit dated, video on this space where growth lies: Turning fear into Transformation: the Parable of the Trapeze.
You can apply this to any issue or habit you might be letting go of. Notice the tendency to cling.. to old or new. Probably the most important piece is to breathe into the gap. What I mean by that is, when temptation lures you to backtrack or take the route back to your comfort zone, pause. Feel the tension, breathe, and move through it. Your growth lies outside the comfort zone. Fear is a door asking to be opened. Don’t worry, there’s no tiger on the other side. Only a bigger you. If you liked this idea, watch this short 2 minute video for more from the authors of ‘The Tools’.: reversal of desire.
Here’s to moving through fear to the other side,
ps. Did you get the earthquake analogy?