Every so often the universe sends you a sign. Sometimes it’s a little less obvious than an anvil to the head. Although, once in a while, something does actually ALMOST hit you in the head — remember the sign the universe sent me when it wanted me to read “The End of Your Life Book Club”? Remember that?
Not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR times this week, the universe has sent me some pretty obvious signals. In one form or another those signals have had something to say about secrets. If you’d asked me last week, before the universe decided to get involved, I would have told you that I don’t have any secrets anymore. I would have told you that when I gave up drinking, I gave up secrets. Now? Let’s just say I’m not so sure. Because the universe was pretty convinced that I had a lesson to learn regarding secrets.
The universe’s intervention came through blog posts, comments, and a couple of intense conversations — one with my boss who can also be a pretty good friend when she wants to be, the other with my husband, who I never give enough credit to in terms of what he often brings to the table. He’s not much of a talker, but, once in a while he senses something is amiss and asks the right questions. He is a pretty good listener, an excellent prompter, if you will. In other words, he gets me to do the talking and, well, as anyone who knows me can tell you, once I start I just can’t stop.
My secret wasn’t about me. It wasn’t something that I needed to confess. It had more to do with how I felt about something someone else had done. This person had not, by the way, done anything to me. As a result, I was conflicted about my feelings in the whole mess. For the simple reason that my big secret wasn’t really about me, I will not reveal any of the particulars. It was, however, bothering me. To tell you the truth, it was bothering me to the point of distraction.
Ultimately, through some soul-searching prompted by comments and posts, and conversations with trusted people, I realized that what I was struggling with was twofold. Did I even have any right to the anger, the disappointment, and the sadness that I was feeling? If so, should I share it with the person in question or should I just suck it up and move along? In the end, I decided on the latter.
I also decided that I needed to stop trying to rationalize my feelings. That’s what I often do in these situations, I question whether or not I have the right to them and I end up feeling guilty and foolish — and, worse, judgmental. Oh, and the original feelings? They’re still there. They’re just buried under the foolishness and guilt.
This time, I resolved to go about this process in a new way — by acknowledging my feelings, by giving myself permission to briefly own them, by recognizing that some part of what I was feeling was a result of my unique life experiences, rather than my tendency to be, at times, persnickety and judgmental, and by choosing to let them go. You know what? It worked. How’s that for maturity?
I made the choice to let go, to move on. Instead of allowing the bad stuff to take up residence in my mind and my body, I made the conscious decision to make room for the good stuff — empathy and compassion. These feel so much better than anger and disappointment.
As a result of my choice — and my realization that it is a choice — I was able to get a good night’s sleep last night. I finally woke up — for the first time in days — feeling refreshed and unburdened. Who knew it could be so simple?