By Laura Lynch, Life Coach, LCSW
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again” (Rebecca, D. Maurier)
I am haunted by memories, and also what could have been. Our lives cross paths with others and often with that connection comes the experience of change, renewal, and once in awhile the fall of illusions.
How many versions of our lives is possible, through our choices of the paths we take? So often we may take a path by joining hands with someone else.
I have been the recipient of pieces of bad news from people in my life recently.Sometimes bad news is life changing, and it makes sense to me that if something is life changing, then it should be so. This experience has been like a light turned on in a dark room, it is so bright that you blink and need to cover your eyes.
I often talk about the value of acceptance to live a healthy life, but sometimes things are very hard to swallow, strong medicine indeed, and there is an instinct to gag and choke on the news. What can you believe? What can you trust?
Would we rather keep our illusions as a buffer against hard reality, even as we profess to desire the truth? We see the distant light at the opening of the cave, but may feel more comfortable cowering down in the darkness. We want to feel connected to others, to the world, but sometimes these connections hurt. I may teach that happiness comes partly through being comfortable with discomfort, but the wounds may cut deep, and I look at the band-aid, needing to rip if off, but afraid of the suffering and keep it on a while longer. So often seeing others suffering is worse than my own experience of pain, but through these connections the bonds grow stronger and compassion soothes the pain. Through sorrow comes wisdom.
What is real, what is illusion? The preacher said, “Dust in the wind. Everything is dust in the wind”. (Ecclesiastes 1:2). “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there”. (L.P. Hartley) If we could return, to what might seem like a better time, would we feel like a foreigner, a stranger in a strange land? Because you are returning as a new person, with new experiences, both painful and joyous. If you could see the future, could you help someone, or yourself, avoid disaster? Would you even recognize what you saw? It is perhaps good we cannot see the future.
I thought I understood.
I thought I could roll with the punches.
I thought tomorrow is another day.
I thought that love and kindness is enough.
I thought this too shall pass.
The lines, patterns, and colors keep filling in, but with the turning of the kaleidoscope it changes and I see things anew. If I had known how bad it was, could I have helped that person, or done something to cause a ripple, a current, and then a wave? The news sometimes comes like the sudden rising of a storm. I become sad and distressed, a witness to someone’s suffering, as the news settles into the crevices of my life. The Angel said Be Not Afraid. Life is brimming, with energy, it churns and tosses us around, but then settles down to an even flow, perhaps placid and reflective.
I want to live fully.
I want to cherish my dreams.
I want to honor the past.
I want to welcome the future.
I want to provide some aid and comfort where I can.
I want to sustain my friendships and family connections.
Each step gets me closer to the truth and I will understand with compassion. We cannot return to Manderley. Let me be brave and open the door.