“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, … to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell
I was 10 years old when my family went to 6 Flags Great Adventure. It was my first time on a roller coaster with my twin brother, and we were so excited, though our stomachs were tied in knots! I remember the attendant putting the measly safety bar down onto our laps. I looked at my brother just as the car started to move up the steep climb and scooted over to him. We lurched to the top and paused just long enough to take a breath.
As soon as the car dove over the edge, everyone screamed in typical roller coaster fashion. However, I wasn’t screaming. My body had left the seat and began to go over the front of the car! I grabbed desperately for anything, but the momentum and steep descent kept pulling me out. My brother frantically grabbed my belt and wedged me into the corner of the seat until we hit the bottom of the hill. I was petrified! We got off shaking, telling the attendants that the bar didn’t hold me in. They just looked at us and moved us along. I will never forget that day, so grateful my brother was there.
My body had left the seat and began to go over the front of the car!
Why do I bring up the Roller Coaster ride?
Life is truly a roller coaster, yes, cliché as that may sound. Many times we want the thrill or excitement purposely choosing to be there. But there are times that life throws us into a ride that we want off of desperately, having to navigate through fear, hurt or pain.
Let’s pause on that for a moment. Although we love the thrill of falling in love, or the excitement of being in a new place or trying something new for the first time, what do we really learn in those joyous times? Yes, joy and happiness keeps us going, but it’s the painful events or the ones that almost ‘kill’ us that shape who we are.
“…there are times that life throws us into a ride that we want off of desperately, having to navigate through fear, hurt or pain.”
In the past five years, I have dealt with divorce, falling in love, being lied to and manipulated, as well as pursuing my dreams, though not quite getting there yet. The pain I’ve felt was enough to wish it all to be over.
I understand depression, and physical sickness due to stress I put upon myself. I now have the compassion to know why someone would want to end their life, or to give up and stay in a place of victim-hood or to blame others. Yet, there was something deep inside that kept me going. It was the realization that I had to go through these life lessons to meet the true person I was to become. Actually, to be the person I have always been, I had to uncover her through these life lessons.
It was the realization that I had to go through these life lessons to meet the true person I was to become.
The act of letting go didn’t occur until recently. Relationships have been my school of learning, and it was during these hard lessons about love that I learned to let go. I can only control how I behave or think. I can only control what I want to do or not. Having someone in your life means you have to accept that they are on a path of learning as well, and you have to accept that their lessons may be quite different from yours. By working on myself and pursuing my dreams, I believe I will link up with someone who shares that same energy.
Letting go on my metaphorical roller-coaster was not easy, especially for a Capricorn, as my daughter likes to remind me. I like planning and preparation, since I feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when things go well. However, I was closing off the chance that there might be a better way or better path for me that I could not see. I realized that I need to put my thoughts and desires out there into the world, and wait for what returns.
Letting go also meant I must trust a Higher Power or process in my life. By trying to control my life, I was even trying to control the spiritual lessons I was to learn. I learned that control can only navigate me so far. I saw that once I opened up the door of possibilities, life started showing me greater potential than I ever could have imagined.
I have gone on other roller coaster rides to my delight. I won’t let a bad event deter me, and I’ve gained a little more weight since then. Now I am choosing the rides I care to be on and letting go to allow something bigger to enter my life.