Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brain Retrain

Good Morning! I've barely made it through a third of my first cup of coffee, so please bear with me as I attempt to assemble the thoughts that were passing through my head as I was straightening the hair on it this morning...

A large portion of my life has been spent adjusting to loss- the initial loss of my biological family/culture (Which, contrary to popular belief does in fact affect me in spite of having been a baby when the transaction occurred. I mean, imagine the looks I get when I tell people my adopted last name: Baumgardner.), losing my grandmother, the one who cared for us when mom was too sick and dad was working overtime to try to support his family, when I was 5, losing family members every few years or so, losing my mother just as I entered high school after watching her suffer most of my life, losing my mind my senior year, losing my best friend just as I was about to start my sophomore year in college (which is why, after I finished that year, I returned home from Hawaii and took a year off), losing a good friend just as I started my first "real" job (the one I will be gleefully leaving), icing the figurative cake with the plain vanilla of assorted breakups and sprinkled with the things I just never had because life couldn't afford to teach me to walk through the fire while giving a happy childhood.

I learned to survive. I learned how to put my head down and get through. I learned how to be alone, and even went so far as to teach myself to believe that it had to be that way. I had to shoulder the weight of my life without any help, and to wish it were otherwise was a weakness that I harshly berrated myself for in those moments when I was so tired I just wished it was all over. There have been many nights in my life I cried myself to sleep hoping that was the last night I'd have to make it through, and then cried again when I woke up. But now, here in this moment, I am alive with the knowledge that every.single.second. is a choice. It is a choice to live or die. It is not just a matter of our physical bodies, no, it goes much deeper into the very core of our existence. It is the difference between someone who is ALIVE and someone who is just a shell of a human.

I make that choice every time I wake up. I make that choice throughout the course of the day, and so do you- whether you realize it or not. What I am learning is that, in those moments when I am so tired I feel as though I can't carry my own weight any longer, I don't have to. Over the course of the last several years, I've found people who have taught me that allowing people to love and support me is not a weakness. Not even just allowing, but wanting them to- and being able to love in return without fear it will all fall away. The fact of the matter is, everything will fall away at some point, in some way, on some level. Us included. I'm learning to focus not on loss, but on abundance- abundance in the moment I reside in because it's the only one I know for sure. I realized when I left Colorado why I have so much trouble with "goodbyes" (aside from the obvious). I wasn't focusing on the moment I was in, but on the moments after. I had everything I needed on so many levels, and instead of simply being grateful I had it at all, I was worried about what would happen after. Would I find it again? Would it last? I'm so used to loss I focus on it even when I haven't lost; I've gained.

I'm retraining my brain to recognize abundance instead of loss- to know my treasure when I've found it. Each moment is infinite in and of itself. If I have something in one moment, it becomes a part of who I am and I carry it with me through the rest of the moments I pass through. I carry with me the love and strength of all those I've lost. I carry the awareness of knowing had I not lost them, I may still be taking that love and strength for granted which then makes me ask, have I really lost?

As I am preparing for my upcoming move, I realized part of why I was able to make this decision is because I am finally able to see opportunity and possibility instead of a big black hole of unknown. Every time I faced this choice before, I shrank away in fear. What if I moved and couldn't make it? What if I came back broke and destitute? What if my friends here forgot I existed and there would be nothing left if I did come back? What if, what if, what if. What if all of that does happen? It wouldn't change that I took the chance- a chance many never will. And as the saying goes, "it's about the journey, not the destination." The growth that will come from the lessons I will learn by giving myself the opportunity to be wide open to the possibility of a life richer and more full of meaning than I could ever plan will be more than adequate compensation for what I think I could lose. The irony there is by opening up to the chance to lose, I've already gained.

1 comment:

  1. How beautifully said. I savored every word. You are on your way to pursuing liberty and happiness! Will suppress further comments for now and just enjoy yours.