A favorite chair, a t-shirt, a trinket … all small reminders of things that once were. Physical, tangible objects that let us hold on to the past. Beautiful, worn, softer, broken-in, chipped, cracked, or faded it doesn’t matter, it’s ours and we don’t want to let it go. We don’t want to find a way to separate ourselves from it. We have locked our hopes and dreams up in these things as though they are life-giving. But those are things. And things can be beautiful, memories can be treasured, hearts can be filled, refilled, and reminded of the past that was. We carry memories around with us in very much the same way. Telling ourselves a story of how it once was. Reminding ourselves that we were younger then, stronger then, happier then, healthier then … as though it was a memory and virtually impossible to ever come to us again.
We relish and bathe in the memories of the past. We wallow sometimes in a pool of pure despair hating what is because it isn’t what it once was. We languish in the pain. We wake up, and reach for that pain and tie it to our wrist like a helium balloon so that it doesn’t escape. It’s not always in front of us, but keeping it there, when we move just right we can see it. We focus on it. When the helium starts to fade as we sleep at night, we awaken to start the day again, reaching for the balloon and filling it with past mistakes, regrets, sadness because we think we have to. We think we deserve it. OR if we do not think we deserve it we tie on a balloon of contempt to for those that we perceive have locked us in the prison of our own mind tied to the anger and fear that the past is gone and the future is uncertain.
Holding on to memories that are cherished and good cleanse us, refresh us, encourage us. Tying on memories of pain and hate only create more pain and hate, they poison our very soul. And we allow it. I know many people who allow the pain of the past to destroy their future, I was almost one of them. I don’t know at which point it changed for me that I didn’t have to get up and tie on the anger, the guilt, the regret, the depression. After many years of allowing myself to struggle, it was just over. I always felt myself inching “closer to fine,” but I’m not sure I believed it.
And perhaps that was the single, solitary moment when I did believe that it changed. It was like a match lit in the darkness, a spark of hope, a beacon so tiny, yet powerful enough to take me to the next step. A sense of purpose. A desire to change things, to be more, to want more, to love more.
What is the amazing evolution that happens when we don’t tie on that balloon of anger, hate, and regret? When we forgive ourselves AND forgive others — and let it go.
If you release a helium balloon in a forest of darkness, it’s going to get stuck in a tree and eventually fall back to where you are. But if you go somewhere in the open, out into the light, somewhere where the skies are vast, and set it free … you never have to see it again. For the balloon will surely float away, up, up, up and for a moment you’ll miss it but eventually it will be out of site.
The question is are you going to wake up tomorrow and fill a new balloon with old things — or simply let it go?