No, I’m not talking about a new year’s diet to shed any extra pounds I might have accumulated in 2012. No, what I’m talking about is shedding another kind of weight I carry in my body.
I spent my new year’s holiday at a week long yoga retreat in the jungle slopes of Mexico above the Pacific Ocean.
At the end of our morning yoga practice on New Year’s Eve day, our teacher invited us to devote part of the day reflecting on what we wanted to let go of from 2012. She encouraged us to do some journaling, which I did. In the space of the jungle canopy I didn’t come up with anything concrete.
At our afternoon practice, our teacher announced we’d have a New Year’s Eve bonfire on the beach. She told us to bring what we’d written, a statement or list of what we wanted to let go of. We would offer this to the fire as an expression, an intention, of letting go. I didn’t have anything written for the fire. *sigh* I hadn’t come up with anything concrete.
As I showered before dinner, I searched my mind. What could I offer to the fire to represent something I wanted to let go of? It struck me. Heaviness. I knew that I wanted to let go of the heaviness in my body. I wanted to let go of the emotions, the pain and the wounds that are held deep in body and hinder my ability to feel freedom. How would I express my heaviness? A rock. I decided I would put a rock into the fire.
As we gathered, my idea of putting a rock into the fire started to feel inadequate. After all the fire wasn’t going to burn my rock. The rock might get hot, but it would not combust and turn to ash. I decided to expand my symbolic offering. I turned to the slope above the beach and dug around in the undergrowth. I grabbed a leaf, a fallen branch, and some kind of nut or seed. As I grabbed these items, I knew what each would symbolize. I could see in my mind’s eye the story my offering would tell.
Listless (literally, without a list), it was my turn to put my items into the fire, to let the fire consume what I wanted to let go of from 2012. Kneeling before the fire, I made my offering, reciting silently.
To the fire I offer this leaf. This leaf represents shedding. To the fire I offer this rock. This rock represents the heaviness, the weight, the emotional wounds I carry in my body. May I shed this weight, may I be free from the hurt and pain of these wounds. To the fire I offer this branch, the roots of the sky. This branch, like the neural pathways of my mind, represents old ways of doing things, old ways of thinking. I offer this branch to symbolize that I am letting go of old ways of doing and thinking that no longer serve me. To the fire I offer this seed. This seed represents the possibility for new growth to emerge in 2013. May the fire burst this seed open and give it life. May this seed grow and blossom and thrive.
So that was it, my beautiful and symbolic offering, one that felt very authentic to me.
Now that I’m back in Seattle I’m beginning to get a sense of what the rock is made of, its matter, its substance. I think it hit me when a woman I work with told me she liked my earrings and I said, “Thanks. They’re from a friend who is no longer a friend.” There it was again, – the hurt that continues to come up in my dreams, continues to come up in conversations with my friends. The rock’s matter is my hurt over this broken friendship, a hurt I’ve had a really hard time letting go of, a deep wound I’ve been carrying around, not just in 2012, but for over two years.
A few weeks before the one year anniversary of the ka-boom, my closest friend of 15 years, the first person I turned to in shock and anguish over the explosion of my relationship, effectively ended our friendship. One day without any kind of fore-warning, she sent me an email and told me she was exhausted from the support she had extended to me. She told me she needed a breather, time to recalibrate. She told me that out of respect for her, not to contact her. I did contact her, just once. I said over voice mail, “for the sake of our friendship, I think we need to talk.” I expressed that I valued our friendship. We never talked. I have not heard from her since that last email nearly two and a half years ago.
The anger and the hurt have lessened, but I still carry the weight of this unresolved wound. Like I said, it still comes up in dreams, in conversations. I continue to wrestle with the lack of closure. There was never any conversation, no opportunity to express my hurt, my outrage at being abandoned when I was still fragile, when I still needed support from my friends.
The severing of ties was one sided. It felt as if the door had been shut in my face. I was left with the disturbing feeling that I’d been broken up with. My “friend’s” action to retreat, to remove herself from and effectively end our friendship felt and still feels very deliberate and intentional. I think that is what has hurt the most – her actions have felt so deliberate. My sense that my “friend” knowingly brought so much lasting hurt into my life by choosing to end our friendship has bothered me deeply for so very long.
No amount of comfort or consoling words has taken away the pain. No amount of reflection, perspective, or insight has taken the soreness out of the wound. After all this time, I have been unable to find a sense of wholeness, to fully mend the tear in my heart. The anger and the hurt have dulled, but I continue to search inside for the closure I need to finally shed the weight of this wound. I have learned this along the way: deep wounds weigh the most.
And so out of this New Year’s Eve offering, not just to the fire, but to the Universe, comes an intention for 2013: to find closure, to shed weight.