I’ve been trying to remember where I was a year ago, and I can’t. I don’t remember my last birthday; I don’t remember the run-up to Christmas; I only remember what happened afterwards.
At some point around the turning of the year last year, I chose a mantra for the year to come. The word I chose was “release”. My mantra for the year now ending was “let go”. Would I have chosen it if I had known exactly how much I would have to let go of, or how hard it would be, or how bad at it I would be? No. Then again, that is the point of the mantra: it is a reminder, a soul-crutch for when we fail, a prompt, a hope.
My journal is full of ‘notes to self’ telling me to ‘just let it go’. Still I find myself holding on longer than is wise…in ways that don’t work…to things, loves, people, hopes, dreams…fantasies that never were and never would be…possibilities already flown. I’m not very good at letting go, because I’m not very good at giving up. I keep thinking that if I try again, differently, this time it will work.
I have had to let go of a lot this year, more than I could ever have imagined, and it does not stop, life keeps asking me to let go of this…oh yes, and this…and what? You thought you could hold on to this, no, that too must be released. It is hard. But who knows, maybe I have been better at it than I give myself credit for? Or maybe not.
In any event the year turns. Samhain is past, the Celtic new year, and we’re moving towards the solstice, and my personal year starts somewhere round about now. So I am moving forward. I am letting go of letting go. By the year’s end I will have cleared the decks so far as I am possibly able to do so…and, somehow, accepted what remains to work with.
Now I have to choose my new direction, find my current purpose and commit to it. My gift to myself therefore is a new mantra. This one comes in two parts… the main exhortation is Be Fearless…the other side of which is infinity and a whisper that simply says: shine.
Of course, we sometimes need to be fearless in order to let go. Rebecca Campbell teaches that what is rising can only rise if what is falling is allowed to fall away. The problem we have with this is that the falling away, the crumbling, has a tendency to bury things in its rubble: people, ideas, sometimes our sense of self, or the person we’ve always believed ourselves to be. Only when we accept that, and allow that version to fall away, can the person we are now meant to become find the space to grow into. We have to trust that the bystanders, innocent and otherwise, will find their own way through or will choose to come with us. We cannot protect them by sacrificing ourselves to a false purpose, pretence, a lost ideal. We can only do so by holding them secure on a shared journey, or by giving them support to find a different way.
For me, being fearless now is about looking forward, not backward. It is not about stepping into an unknown future, but about creating a future, designing the life I want, following the whispers I have ignored for years. Back in July I attended a workshop, at the end which we were invited to write a letter to ourselves. I found mine this week. One of the key messages I gave myself was: trust that you are where you are meant to be. Where I am right now is somewhat lost, dazed and confused. I am hurting. I feel very alone – even while I know that is not true. Being fearless means trusting that this is where I need to be. For a time.
Being fearless also means that unless I want to stay here – and that is NOT the plan – then I have to take control, take action, pick a direction, find my purpose and commit to it.
Being fearless means finding my way through the darkness – not to the light at the end of the tunnel, but to that point where I can stand confident in the darkness and realise that it isn’t a tunnel at all, and notice that if I look up I will see starlight and moonshine and realise that the dark isn’t quite so black, and is beautiful in its own way.
If I can be fearless, I will find that I have everything I need – and yes, there will be more that I can let go.
If I can be fearless I will do what I am here to do.
If I can be fearless, I will have a great deal of fun along the way; there will be love and luck and laughter to lighten the load, because I know that being fearless will not miraculously remove the work that needs to be done – but it will make it easier.
If I am fearless, I will learn how to shine.
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