According to Thomas Moore, whose soul-centered philosophy speaks deeply to me, some of the more turbulent life passages we’ve experienced need to be healed, or we stay stuck. In our ‘stuckedness’ (my made-up word, not his). Unhealed passages leave us acting out in immature, unconscious ways that limit the grace with which we pass through each day and ultimately, prevent us from knowing grace in aging.
“Passages are not always easy. You may decide it is too much for you and settle for being stuck in a comfortable phase.” — Thomas Moore, Ageless Soul
Moore suggests we look back on our lives and see various passages as linked by plateaus which represent the stages of our lives. Not necessarily the ‘aged’ stages, but rather, the significant events which make up our growing ‘up’. School. Marriage. Travel. Jobs. Adventures…
Sometimes, we don’t navigate the passages between plateaus well. Sometimes, in our inability to let go of one plateau to pass through to another, we refuse to say yes to possibility and hold onto, or stay stuck in, what was and can never be again.
There are many ways to heal those broken passages.
One way is to draw a timeline of your life. (For me, doing this exercise, I like to tape pieces of 8 x 11″ paper end to end horizontally. I begin at the beginning – birth, and include photos, pictures cut out of magazines, drawings, etc. as I move along my timeline. I take my time – this is my lifeline, my life journey, I want to savour each moment, whether I judge it good or bad – it is my life.)
From birth to today, mark the significant events and a word or three to describe what you did when that significant event appeared in your life.
Look for patterns, for spaces where your reason for ‘living in the NO’ or stepping back from possibility carried over into other areas of your life, even when you wanted to say Yes.
Now, hold those moments lovingly in your mind, and let compassion, love, acceptance pour over them. Let your heart open wide to the realization that in those instances you chose No, not because you couldn’t do it, but rather, because doing it was too risky, scary, fear-inducing, or you just felt more comfortable staying stuck.
Let the grace of self-forgiveness envelop you. Imagine grace is a serene river flowing through every fibre of your being.
And then, say, “I see you. I forgive you. I let go. I am peaceful with my decision today.”
Oh the letting go of it all! It is difficult. You think that you have let go then something triggers those old memories, feelings, resentments…
A life long practice of learning to let go bit by bit 🤷🏼❤️
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Ah yes. So true Vivianne. I always remind myself when those triggers get pulled that ‘this is an opportunity to practice grace’. Sometimes, I’m really good at it. Others… I’m a bit more reluctant! 🙂 ❤
I have no quarrel with anything you wrote today, but I wanted to share a thought that popped into my mind as I read it, as I absorbed your story – with memories of old Tom Moore, less from my book-learnin’ than from my memory of Paul Scofield’s brilliant portrayal of him in A Man For All Seasons. Because, as movie, TV and book form story-telling goes, we don’t focus much on chronology – the telling of ‘this thing happened’ and then ‘this thing happened’. It’s more than jumping around though, it’s ‘starting as close to the end as possible’ as a literary technique to set the stage for where the story is going.
So, what’s my point?
Where is the Louise story going?
As one who has admired you for a long time, I know a lot of your story – the history, high points, low points, and a lot of in-between stuff.
Here’s the challenge, maybe the prompt, for you, my ‘writer who avoids writing by painting’ heroine, a novel approach for you – WRITE A NOVEL. You HAVE the chronology, you HAVE the characters, you HAVE themes, you HAVE points to make, you HAVE the ability to make it a nail-biter, heart-wrencher, aspirational and inspirational, fill it with drama, pain, joy, tragedy, and triumph – and at the end of all that, your heroine can put down her pen and pick up her paints. THE END … and stay tuned for the 2nd in a series of novels by Louise Gallagher. Move over Louise Penney; there’s always room for a great new novelist in Canada, or India, or France – it seems our heroine is a world traveller too …
Research and painting would, of course, need to be conducted in several continents …
Must run, keep up your great work,
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Mark, you continue to surprise me with your insightful and kind comments. I appreciate your ideas… I have started that novel — it is kind of, almost, maybe along the lines of what you painted. I so appreciate you. And I so appreciate this line – my ‘writer who avoids writing by painting’ heroine, a novel approach for you – love it! 🙂 Louise
Letting go can be hard but often necessary
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So true my friend!