The Graceful Exit.

shirley-valentine

“Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.” ~ Shannon L. Alder

Something amazing happens when we choose to step gracefully out of a relationship that no longer serves us.

When I say relationship, it could be a relationship with anything or anyone: a partner, friend, workplace, city—hell, maybe even that classic novel that you somehow feel that you “should” read because it’s a classic but you secretly hate it.

If we walk away still feeling desperate, we will fall desperately into the next job, relationship, book, or town out of fear. We will attract others and situations that operate out of fear as well.

I know this may sound a little woo woo—but it’s just about understanding that we have choices in life, and that the harder we exercise that choice, the richer and more fulfilling our lives will be.

If we enter a relationship based on a fear of being lonely, for instance, that is going to show up time and time again throughout the relationship. Same with if we settle for a job that pays us less than we are worth—maybe it’s not entirely about money, but that gesture, that offering, is the company/client telling us how much they value us and our worth, ultimately.

Of course there are those times that it’s still better to have a crap job than no job—we all have to get by. And so, sometimes, we have to accept the less-than-stellar situation—but the key is to only do it for as long as we absolutely have to, and know not only when to walk away, but how.

If we can walk away gracefully, we carry that gesture of strength and resiliency into our next endeavours.

Running away out of anger, wanting revenge, even feeling “betrayed”—all of those have the potential to leave us in victim mode. Then we keep moving through our life in this fear-based mode, thereby continuing to find new situations where our victim selves “fit”—places where we’re not valued, where we’re manipulated or abused.

Sometimes getting angry–really angry–is exactly what we need to get the fires burning. There is a beauty in its ability to free us. So I’m not saying don’t walk away in anger—sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed.

But holding onto that only holds us back. If, after we remove ourselves from the situation, we are still operating out of anger (which is basically just another version of fear), we tend to find others who meet us where we’re at.

Fear attracts fear, and so on.

Taking the high road doesn’t mean “don’t ever be angry”—but the thing is that we generally won’t find our higher pursuit, (the one that serves us), until we’ve resolved the anger for ourselves. This may or may not include forgiveness or reconciliation with the other party.

When we walk away with confidence, it’s this very act of grace, of faith, that carries us forward to people and places that meet us where we’re at: as calm, clear and shining beings.

It’s just around the corner.

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Photo: Remi Skatulski @ Unsplash

*Note: I wrote this thinking that my beloved Pops was not going to make it out of the hospital this time, but alas, he should be on his way out, and so I feel like a bit of a fool for all this emoting, but it still stands as a testament to all that we have and are. I am so glad that we get to keep him for at least a little longer. 

I wake every morning with that heaviness in my chest, my gut.

He’s not gone, but we all know that it’s just around the corner and our lives will be forever different when he’s gone.

Mom must be feeling this same heaviness ten-fold.

Dad, I know you are alone and scared. And maybe a bit accepting of it all, because you are pragmatic and brave like that.

I’ve never loved anyone so much in my life, and yet I’m terrified of this next phone call. I don’t want to know that he’s in pain; I don’t want to hear his weak, strained voice; I don’t want to think about him frail in that hospital bed, tubes shoved crassly under his skin, stuck to a machine—that’s not My Dad.

Though there was this moment, on the last visit there. There was a moment. And a few before that. The older he got, the more these moments of actual, deep soul would pop out, as a sort of childlike innocence. He was no longer trying to be cool…he was just so much more himself. Occasionally this even curmudgeonly, which we laugh about, because he’s not really that way.

But there was this way that he seemed so vulnerable when the nurse lifted up his shirt to check his heart as we were sitting in the big easy chairs in the waiting room, watching Jeopardy. How kind she was. How kind he is.

The way that he seemed so excited to teach me exactly how to make a proper omelette.

That giggle, the smile.

His heart.

That time, he came back from the hospital. He came back to be with me. And there’s so much more we needed to talk about, then, and I wanted to, and now we have no time. I want more stories, more out of the stories he’d already shared, and now there’s no time.

His heart is failing.

How could someone with a heart so big have it just fall apart like that? 

Maybe he didn’t take care of himself so well. Or maybe something like this would have happened regardless…who knows.

But death comes for us all.

Yesterday was okay. I felt less emotional, I knew he was okay. I somehow managed to stay feeling pretty balanced and good in my head, my own heart. I don’t know what it will feel like when he is actually gone, but I know what he will always want me to do: dust myself off, get on the road, raise a glass to life.

Follow the road, no matter how unclear the path appears.

Read up on history. Ask questions.

Document everything.

Talk to people. 

I’m going to Europe in two days, as planned. Because he insists. He insists because the thing that matters most is to taste life, to keep exploring, learning. To stay curious about the unknown, and not let anyone or anything hold you back.

“We write to taste life twice.” ~ Anais Nin

I learned from him to taste it once, to risk, to make mistakes, to go forward no matter what, into the uncertainty.

And I write now for him.

It seems strange to not rush to be with him, but as a family, that’s how we roll. We are free spirits. And I need to go. I didn’t really even know why, before. I don’t know what’s out there–but that’s exactly why I have to go. And he gets that.

Soon you will be free of you pain and suffering, and you will rest, but in body only. In some way, your spirit will be the most free.

I will always carry you with me, but no one soul will ever know me like yours does.