Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Art of Reinvention and Letting Go

There are many times in life when we will find ourselves at a crossroads. We find ourselves faced with the daunting task of making a decision, with two or more attractive alternatives. We might find ourselves backed into a corner, when the only viable alternative is abandonment of what we know so that we can start anew. We might be suddenly waking up to the realization that we're simply in the wrong place, attempting to accomplish a goal that doesn't fit anymore, that we've outgrown the person we're in a relationship with, or that our time on a particular path is about to end.

Funny how as I'm writing this, Linda Ronstadt's "Goodbye My Friend" has started playing from my self-made mix of songs that have touched me in some way. On the surface, it's yet another number in the long sappy line of songs I became acquainted with from those youthful years of Daytime television viewing (thanks Ken Corday and Janet Spellman-Rider). Beneath the surface, it's a tale of having no other choice but to let go of the physical manifestation of a relationship in favor of its remembrance and spiritual manifestation. We don't always realize it at the time, but the spiritual manifestation was present in the background all along. It's not something that truly ends, but continues to exist in a circle of completeness that we can't possibly try to escape.

That same circle that contains the task of letting go allows you to begin again. It opens up the possibility of discovery, of becoming who you were meant to be, of relinquishing responsibility for what you can't control, of allowing someone else to fulfill their destiny. Letting go is a decision, a mindset that says "I'm no longer going to attempt to control and manipulate this." It's a decision that stops creating the illusion so that reality can be woken up to.

For some of us, that illusion has become so real to those around us that it is difficult for them to see the authenticity of its creator. To do that would mean they would have to let go too. They would have to go inward to examine themselves and what they were hoping to gain from that illusion. Those around us would have to face the pain that they've been tricked into believing that the illusion exists. They would have to stop pretending to protect their fear of retribution for being real. For those in the public eye especially, it can be difficult to let go of the image of who you were and of whom others wanted you to be, when those images are so readily available and the public doesn't seem to want to accept that you've long outgrown that illusion. For those of us who are not in the limelight, it can be just as difficult when your process of reinvention and growth isn't met with approving, understanding eyes from those who you thought would show you compassion.

Regardless, that reinvention process is one in which you have to be true to yourself. Reinvention is the examination of who you are so that you can become who you were meant to be. That's a journey that requires asking yourself what you're currently doing that is preventing you from experiencing what you really want. It's a journey that demands that the only person you have to answer to is yourself.

Yes, it means letting go of what you thought you wanted in order to pursue what you've rediscovered is in your heart. It can be frightening to release a comforting illusion for the unknown result of truth. There's no built-in happy ending, no airbrushed images of perfection, or locked-in loyal support. Yet, the cost of continuing to perpetuate an illusion is the slow death of your spirit. Those that wish to continue to believe in it will have to wake up sooner or later. Those who have already joined you in reality are the ones who saw through to your true essence all along.

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