Quite often, sometime deep into a session, a client who has come to me with a recurring behaviour or a set of feelings or some other part of their life weighing them down, will turn to me in a moment of bright-eyed discovery and say “Hey! I see now! This does not belong to me!”. It happened recently with someone who had felt burdened by something all his life and then discovered it was not his burden: it had come from one of his parents and he had never thought to set it down.
When people get to that moment, the moment that they realise that parent or grandparent or (in some cases) a whole succession of forebears – if four bears are not enough for you, then pick any number you wish – like runners in a relay team, had been handing down a pattern or a feeling that limited the new generation (the son/daughter or whoever it is) then there is immediately a question of whether it is “ok” to dispense with that behaviour, that burden. Does not carrying what a mother or father gave us mean we lack respect or love? Often it is hard for the client to relinquish the thing they borrowed. It seems like too huge a letting go, something that linked them to their loved one.
Such a question naturally surfaces in a culture where people regularly say they love someone so much that they “will never let them go”, or they will “make” their loved one happy, or “take away their pain/problems”.
Perhaps it is a good day – Random Act of Kindness Day – to mention once more that love is… never holding on, it is only letting go. Holding on is the fear that we are not good enough by ourselves. Holding on is going back to the child role, or acting the parent. Letting go, giving the person we love full possession of their story, of their energy, of their “stuff”, and taking full possession of our own story, is true and deep love. Just like a random act of kindness it is a celebration and it has no price, no stickiness between people, and infinite dignity for both.
So if you notice that you’ve been carrying something that belongs to someone else, please do be kind, be loving, and return it forthwith, feeling how you stand a little straighter and feel a little lighter as you do.