Photo credit: Jo Chin
I thought I was doing the best thing for her.
I was wrapping my arms around her like it was all I was born to do. But she wriggled in my arms, restless and troubled.
Don’t hold me too tight all the time, she said.
I was offended. How could she say that to me? My own life resisting all the effort I went to to direct it in the path I wanted it to go. I took my arms away, determined to give up, determined to not care anymore about jobs, people, life paths, writing plans and schedules, timetables and goals. I had had it. Everything I did for my life seemed to come back empty-handed. It made no dent in the larger scheme of things. There were no earthquakes or explosions in all the purpose and intention I exhaled out into the world. This is how I saw it. So I refused to be comforted, not because I didn’t crave comfort…and assurance but because my heart shrivelled up inside of me and wanted nothing to do with all of it. And I was at a loss. Have you ever been 33 going on 34? Have you ever lived with your all yet have nothing to show for it?
So my life gently took my hands and urged me to look up at her. I couldn’t hide the heartbreak I felt. Her eyes filled with tears for me.
Dear one, she said.
You are everything any life could ever hope for. And much, much more. You are. And I am blessed you are mine. But you can’t hold me too tightly all the time.
You can’t beat me into shape, into perfect symmetries that you desire and envision in your mind. You can’t control me like that, Beloved.
I already belong to you and I’m already unfolding for you in the best possible way. What are you trying to do to me? Suffocate me to death? Sometimes I just need you to step back and let me work things out for you. I need you to be patient and not panic every time reality doesn’t match the ideal you carry.
You love freedom, so much that you have sacrificed for it. You have gone to school for it. You have dedicated yourself to understanding it. But you also misunderstand it because you try so hard. You want to control it so it suits all the spaces in you that are not grown and strong. No, little one, you can’t do that. You need to let go. Love freedom, yes. Do what you are enabled to do for it with a pure heart and freedom will find you. Trust me, babygal, she will come for you like you are the only thing alive in the world. Because that is how freedom works. It is a gift to those who can hold it in their hands and in their being maturely and wholeheartedly, who do not use it as a way to hide from those dark places within.
You work so hard and it is beautiful. Even I watch you sometimes and I’m mesmerised by you. Because I know where you have come from and all the burdens you have had to carry. I marvel at your dedication, at your heart. You take my breath away.
But it is time you learn how not to be so attached to things, plans and timelines you see other people straddling like it was always summer in their lives.
The only thing you absolutely must be attached to is God and the people who are your mirrors. Those women and men who love you inspite of your strengths and weaknesses yet always push you to be better and bigger than you think you could ever be.
Everything else, let it loose and let it go.
Let go of the dread of failure and success.
Let go of the world and its craziness.
Let go of the pressure.
Let go of the rush to get everywhere and nowhere.
Get quiet and listen.
She kissed me on the forehead as my tears ran down my puffy face.
I love you, she said. And I knew she meant it.
And I am on your side. All of me is on your side. Trust. Rest. Believe and let me show you how I love you.
Yes…okay. I blurted out in-between sobs.
My life smiled and squeezed my fingers. She got up and then she was gone. I was sitting on the edge of the bed looking at my reflection in the mirror.
It was time. I knew it because I felt it pounding in my body.
It was time to finally listen to myself.