The other day as I was crossing the street on Clark and Diversey, I realized that my mind was occupied with thoughts about our new workshops, balancing Jess LC, and MML.
And I did a little cheer inside.
You see, for years I spend my time dwelling on what I had to overcome as a kid, what I needed to do to “fix” my body, or how to have the “right” relationship.
I had carried those things, though substantial struggles in my life, far longer than I ever needed to. It was like I had a heavy load of struggles, injustices, or imperfections that I packed in a heavy sack on my back.
And then I spent months, even years, walking around the same mountains ruminating on the same things.
Rather than actually getting me anywhere worthwhile, I stayed stuck moving forward in a circle around the same “woe is me” or “what’s wrong with me” attitudes. Over time, that sack of burdens became part of my identity and story. If I met people and wanted to share my life, I’d unpack my sack and lay it out for them to see.
And though I think there was a good aspect of healing in that part of my life, I think I kept that sack fuller than necessary for much longer than needed.
I remember so clearly a few wake up calls that struck me upside the head and helped me recognize that I could put down the drama and move on.
The first one was a few months after moving to Chicago. After having a long heart to heart with my older cousin, he mentioned that his dad once told him that he had to “stop holding his parents accountable for all the messed up stuff in his life and just move the hell on.” And though that specific scenario wasn’t an exact depiction of some of my “stuff,” it did point out that as much as I might have overcome stuff in my life, I couldn’t keep harping on it and blaming my past for my future.
The second wake up call came from Geneen Roth, author of Women, Food, and God. A few years ago she was on the Oprah Show and mentioned that she one day realized that she didn’t want to gain and lose the same twenty pounds until she was 80 years old. She didn’t want to constantly be trying to manipulate her weight. She wanted to just one day be “okay.”
And man did that cause an explosion in my brain. Of course, I didn’t want to think about my body for the rest of my life!
Anyways, I will say that these little light-bulb moments didn’t automatically make me walk away for the well worn mountain paths of self-pity and restriction that I had created. But they did point out the fact that I could blaze a new trail, away from the Problem Mountains.
Little by little I started to unpack that sack of issues, setting each one down on the ground with a prayer and the hope for something better.
And over time I’ve moved past the crap and started to live my life without the negative weight. Which has helped me climb new, bigger mountains full of positive purpose and meaning. But had I not unpacked that sack as much as possible, I wouldn’t have the mental health or physical strength to try new things.
So if anyone else is out there struggling with a sad pack, I hope you consider putting it down or seeking help so that you can lay those things to rest and move on towards the possibility that lies ahead.
PS – Business in the City is tonight at Next Door in Chicago! 6:30-8:00. See you there!