Letting Go of the Past Brings Joy

Do you want to experience a new, more accurate you? Letting go of the past brings joy by filling the void with possibilities for the future. As a result, you experience less emotional baggage and open up the room to develop into your true self.

Letting Go of the Past Brings Joy

I clearly remember when my friend said, “Let it go. Just let it go.” The subject of my rant was the judgment I felt from my mother. My internal response was anger. Since I grew up with the illusion that anger is an unacceptable emotion, I pushed the anger down. I felt it was impossible to let it go.

What is a better response?

Lower your gaze and take a deep breath into your energy center, just below your belly button.
With compassion for yourself and your friend, respond,

“That feels like a kick in my gut. Can you help me decipher where that discomfort is coming from?”

At this point, your friend might be angry, have hurt feelings, or they might welcome the opportunity to help. It’s okay.

The most important result of this scenario is that you made a giant leap toward letting go of the past.

What is Anger?

Anger is an illusion. It lives in your past. When my friend responded to my outpouring of frustration, my anger response was in the past. Specifically, it lived in the seconds before I acknowledged my anger. Furthermore, my lifetime of hurt and disappointment fueled the flames of emotion.

This concept that anger is an illusion because it lives in the past can be life-changing.

You can feel anger, acknowledge it, and immediately let it go by purposefully living in the present with a deep breath. That deep breath is in the now. It is the only thing that is now.

How to Change Living in Past Anger

Practice is key.

Imagine a situation in your past when you became angry.
Notice how you feel about that now.
Take a deep breath.
Notice how you feel.

Next, you can practice in your everyday life.
When someone pushes your emotional button, take a pause.
Take a deep breath.
Acknowledge your feelings.
Share how you feel.
Ask for help.

You can do this after the moment has passed, such as later in the conversation.

“Hey, I just realized your comment hurt my feelings. Can we talk about that?”

It’s never too late to start letting go of the past.

What’s With the Plates?

In the past, I worked for the Department of Public and Environmental Health in the City of Denver. I was the smiling face that appeared at an employee’s desk to fix their computer problem. I loved my work. It satisfied my curiosity and need to connect with people and gave me a deep sense of accomplishment in troubleshooting their problems and finding a solution. One high-level manager was eating her lunch on a beautiful plate. It made such an impression that I bought two small Fitz and Floyd plates for my lunches at work.

While Mom lived with Wayne and me in Florida, she helped me by setting the table for meals. Mom always chose one of the Fitz and Floyd plates for herself. I resented it but didn’t let her know my feelings. After we moved to NC, these plates fell out of favor for me. I moved them around in the cabinet, and yesterday I took them out.

I said, “Enough! It’s time for these plates to go.”

I’ve cried three separate times over this. First, forgiveness for Mom came during the release of tears. Then I forgave myself.

Letting go of the past brings joy into our lives in unexpected ways.

Find Joy Instead of Despair

Mom’s third day in the hospital dawned as I assessed my morning routine. In my quest to find joy instead of despair, I learned to practice self-care in my caregiver role. Even so, there were little messages that I heard but didn’t heed. For example, I didn’t take time to make breakfast, looking up Bojangles’ sandwiches. But I forgot to download the ordering app. So instead, I completed an abridged version of my Reiki practice, showered, and put on makeup, including mascara.

Find Joy Instead of Despair

When I arrived at Bojangles, I tried to go inside. The staff locked it. I backed out of my parking space and pulled into the drive-up line behind two men on foot. They had motorcycle t-shirts on, and there were motorcycles in the parking lot.

I noticed the pile of large river rocks where the speaker and menu had been. The drive-up line moved slowly. As we neared the temporary ordering setup, I heard the noisy highway floating through my open windows and felt the cool morning breeze. I

It was amusing to watch the motorcycle guys order. They jumped on and backed off the sensor plate to let the Bojangles employee know they wanted to order. The taller of the two bent himself nearly in two at the speaker stand. Then it was my turn to drive up and order. The long line behind me was impressive, snaking around the far side of the building.

I closed my passenger side window to reduce the noise. Waiting patiently, I listened for acknowledgment from the speaker stand. Finally, I shouted at the pedestrians in front of me, “Guys! Hey, guys! Motorcycle guys!” Eventually, the shorter man turned my way and started to approach. Then a voice from the speaker stand said, “Are you talking to me?” I answered, “No, but I’d like to.” We all laughed. I placed my order. It was so amusing; I took a photo of the two guys in front of me from my windshield.

As they approached the drive-up window, one said, “This is a first for me, walking in the drive-up at Bojangle’s!”

Mom’s Third Day at the Hospital

Soon I was backing into a space in the hospital parking lot. Gathering my purse, book, coffee travel cup, and changing my glasses, I locked the car and walked the familiar path to the temporary entrance of the hospital. A new face was staffing the makeshift welcome table. After sanitizing my hands and placing my mask on my face, I approached.

“Do you know where you are headed?” she asked.

“Yes, I’m very familiar with the route.”

“I’ve heard that a lot this morning,” she replied.

As I walked through the gauntlet of chairs in the shared emergency room waiting area, I began the familiar path past walls striped with blue painter’s tape. The young man who was patching drywall all week was absent. I missed saying hello or commenting on his steady progress.

You Never See it Coming

Stepping into the waiting elevator, I pressed the button for the second floor. As the doors opened, I saw two unfamiliar masked faces at the nurse’s station.

“Good morning, you guys are new!”

One of the women, striking in her deep blue scrubs that matched the blue of her kind eyes, had moved toward me. I noticed her name tag said ‘Brenda.’ I turned left for the short walk to Mom’s room. Just before I arrived at the closed door, the nurse, who had discreetly followed me, spoke.

“Are you Dawn?”

“Yes.”

“I just put the phone down as I heard the elevator. I’m sorry, but your mother just passed.”

Brenda was ready for my reaction. She took the coffee mug out of my hand as I covered my audible sob. Her sweet arms hugged me as I continued to cry. Finally, my need to purge grief subsided, her hug loosened, and our eyes met.

“Spend as much time as you need.”

The room was oddly silent as I walked to my familiar spot next to the bed. Mom was serene; her closed eyes had lost their tightness. Although her body had ceased to function, I felt her soul nearby.

“Hi, Mom. It’s Dawn. It’s all over. Don’t worry about anything. You can be with Daddy now.”

I stroked her still warm forehead, “I love you.”

I closed the hospital room door and headed for the nurse’s station to thank them. Then, out of the blue, I heard myself telling the story of my funny experience in the drive-up at Bojangles. I knew Mom’s soul was there, too, laughing along with us.

Find Joy Instead of Despair

Hospitals and death can be harrowing experiences. Or they can be joyful. Allowing my emotion’s full impact when I had the loving support of nurse Brenda opened up space for the joy of release. The release was for my Mom and me. Furthermore, it gave me the freedom to relieve the natural stress felt by the hospital staff.

Having experienced the deaths of two husbands, my father and now my mother, in the past seven years has served as a primer for grieving and letting go.

Mom and I discussed death many times. She and I were together at Dad’s passing. And both were adamant in their wish to allow death it’s due. I’m grateful Mom’s end of life wasn’t prolonged and that the hospital staff supported our decisions.

My understanding of the importance of self-care, especially in the role of caregiver, has brought me peace. I have learned how to find joy instead of despair. So, may your life experiences bring you growth toward fulfilling your purpose.

Is the Grass Greener Over There?

Is the grass greener over there on the other side of the fence or anywhere but here? There were many times in my life I believed this common euphemism.

Is the Grass Greener Over There?

Often, the grass is indeed greener in the neighbor’s yard. But is it because they spend more time, money, or energy grooming their lawn? Or perhaps it looks better because of our perspective.

jumpinoff rocks trail
Mountain Azalea

Last week, I shared my walk along a trail in the mountains with my newsletter readers. The photo in the email was a wild mountain azalea with buds. I hoped to return to see it in full flower, but the weather and a busy life got in my way. Then something unique happened.

My dog, Sugar, insisted that we go along the road in front of the house for a walk. So rather than take a solitary walk on the distant Jumpinoff Rock Trail, I indulged her.

mountain azalea
Mountain Azalea

Soon, we passed a shady steep area on the north side of the road. It is covered with an invasive multiflora rose. As we walked past, I noticed a flash of pink. Then, looking closer, I saw a wild mountain azalea in full bloom.

More Treasures Await

Although I always look for flowers on my walks, it amazed me how many new plants greeted me. Some were utterly new to me. Others included the hope of future fruits. And all these treasures allowed me to research their names, which is one of my joys in exploring nature.

Final Thoughts

flame azalea
Flame Azalea

For me, the grass is greener right where I am. So walking out my front door, exercising myself and my dog, I found a long list of new flowers. And it helped me see more treasures as I explored the country roads nearby, like this flame azalea blooming on the roadside.

The next time you think beauty is something you have to find elsewhere, slow down, observe, and discover wonders within your grasp.