I have spent the last year or so taking a class on meditation at my church. The process of learning to meditate was relatively painless: sit still, relax your body, breathe. Simple. I can do it in my sleep (insert gratuitous laughter).
But the depth of this practice has been truly life altering. I have changed my way of thinking. Not just recognizing my thoughts but really acknowledging the deep, dark, scary places they come from. And then letting them go.
I wish I could explain it to other people but I can only say it is like a switch somewhere was flipped on. Or off. I’m not sure which because I have spent the past year letting go. Letting go of perfection, letting go of judgement and self judgement, letting go of measuring my worth by the people who surround me and letting go of fear.
I spent a lot of last year saying no. And it was very, very good.
I came into the summer with more time and more peace. But I was left at a cross road. In our final class before we broke for summer, Pastor asked how will you spend the summer and I felt a gaping hole with no idea how to fill it. I had no idea what I liked. I had spent so many years pleasing other people I had forgotten how to please myself. It was a very strange predicament.
I also was afraid to try to say yes to anything. Much like an alcoholic would fear going to a bar I have to imagine. I didn’t know if I could stop saying yes if I said it once. So I spent the summer just being. Not being angry, sad, happy, organized. Just being. I woke up every day and tried to figure out the best thing for today. Give us THIS day our DAILY bread is a refrain we often discussed in meditation so I waited to be moved each day. And let the day just be too.
By the end of summer, where my gaping hole had existed, I felt less gaping and more open. I still didn’t want to say yes, “Hi, I am Dawn and I’m over-pleaser.” I have this tendency and I had not been free of it long enough to say I am a former over-pleaser so I shied away from yes.
I think I am not so afraid anymore. I am starting to know me again and know the things I like and don’t. I have learned through my meditation practice to stop; to give my heart and soul a moment before my mouth says yes. Or no.
My Pastor writes a blog every day and for a while he was ending his blog with the words “Go. Go when you can.” I was interested to hear where he was going with this thought. But he didn’t use it as a sermon message. He has written a tiny bit about it on his blog but it wasn’t an in your face message. And honestly, it made me uncomfortable. Let’s not forget, I am an over-pleaser and I was being told to do something. Where am I supposed to go? Am I wasting time? Is there a list I should be checking something off of? I ponder this regularly when he ends this way.
It is just recently that I think I am starting to get it. Go. Go when you can. I had to let go of a lot of things – blame, shame, anger, fear, resentment before I could see it. I had to expose a gaping hole in my soul to let the abscessed wounds clean themselves so they could become holy holes filled with perhaps a little grace and a whole lot of love, not just for myself but for all the other humans in my life and those that walk the walk with me. We have to let go before we can grab on. Grab onto love. And fun – there wasn’t a lot of time for fun before. Go. Go when you can. The world is big and the love is bigger. It’s out there, all of it. But if we are hanging on to the past, we have to let it go before we can grab on to this moment.