Recently I went into sacred ceremony with a breathtaking group of women. My intention going in was to deconstruct the parts of my system that I felt were keeping me in complacency–holding me back from doing the very important things I want to be doing in this life. What I discovered was how I’ve organized my entire being into compartments and boxes and cubes. Many of these compartments have no outer side, like a box without a front, and I’m able to put everybody’s shit inside these boxes, thereby holding all these things that do not belong to me. I’ve been holding my ex-husband’s shit, my kids’ shit, shit from work, my town, the state, the country. I’ve been holding the entire world.
And so, in the process of seeing how I’ve created this system of holding, I realized that for me, the opposite of holding is not, actually, “letting go,” or “releasing,” but is, in fact, not holding.
I spent several hours re-learning how to not hold; consciously rearranging myself so that I will no longer itemize and compartmentalize and segregate other peoples’ shit into my own self. And I’ve spent most of the past two weeks reminding myself of the same. “I will not hold what is not mine,” “I am not holding.”
During the process of this discovery and the subsequent learning to not hold, I realized how this act of holding has affected me physically. Since October 2015, I’d been experiencing pain in my right knee, that was beginning to be felt in my left knee. Additionally, I’d been feeling nerve pain in my left hip and an overall feeling of being “locked up tight” in my hips, in general. While it was easy to conclude that this pain could be result of a fall I took, aging, and not enough strengthening and stretching each week, it felt deeper than that, like there was a much more energetic component to its cause.
In September 2015, I’d experienced an intense biological remodeling. Layers and layers of me were left behind, and I began what felt like an initial massive up-leveling and simultaneous unraveling after nearly a year of intense apprenticeship. It took nearly two months for my body to physically recover from this process, at which point my primary relationship blew up. As the marriage issue took center-stage, I spent the next three months trying to repair, rearrange, and restore this relationship. During ceremony I felt with acute clarity how all the work I’d been doing to restore this marriage and maintain the wholeness of my family had taken affect physically, adding even more pain and constriction to my hips, knees, and joints.
During this healing ceremony, I worked for hours on this unraveling — deconstructing these compartments where I have stored everyone else’s shit. I released the incredible amount of tension that I was holding in my body–my muscles, ligaments, my structure, and my bones. I truly felt what it meant to not hold it all, what it felt like to feel only me in my system. And it was incredibly freeing and comfortable and fine. And within seconds of feeling the freedom of not holding, I’d observe my system beginning the process of holding all over again, and so I’d have to say out loud, “I’m NOT holding,” with enough boldness that I’d feel that relaxation all through my body again and again and again. So that I could continue to remember what it means to not hold. Because only through the remembering can I continue to practice this new-found art of Not Holding.
As I’ve continued to maintain this feeling of not holding, practicing the essential relaxation necessary to maintain fluidity and suppleness in my system, I’ve been fascinated to see how my body wants to revert back again and again to taking on and retaining other people’s energetic stuff. It’s fascinating, too, to see how those within my closest circle respond when I don’t actually carry what is not mine to hold. They have most certainly relied on me carrying all their baggage!
It is significantly freeing for me to understand how I’ve been doing this, and to feel the expansiveness that exists when I don’t hold on to all that stuff that doesn’t belong to me. This process of restructuring may take a while, but it most certainly feels necessary for my growth and future.
To your own expansiveness.