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Letting Go of the Past: What I Learned from a Twig

It seems like both my internal and external surroundings have a lot in common these days. I find myself surrounded by change on all sides; as if I were an island or at the very least, an inlet. There's a small patch of sand and land which is familiar to me in the background. Ahead of me and all around me is a massive body of uncharted waters.

Externally, as well, I am surrounded by water in the place where I live. No matter the circumstances of my life in this moment, I was intent on enjoying my surroundings; I was going to enjoy the water and nature surrounding me. No Matter What.

Things have changed as my parents have transitioned, kids leaving the nest, and my beloved pup-man (as I lovingly called him), crossed the rainbow bridge. Yesterday, on my quest to bloom where I was planted, I headed out to the water. It's a sandy bluff overlooking the Long Island Sound. Mostly locals gather there. There are no waves, more rocks than anyone living on the North Shore of the island care to admit and a limited-at-best patch of sand.

It was local, and it was a start. Arriving late into the afternoon, with the sun hidden behind the clouds but just warm enough to enjoy the excursion, I nestled my beach chair securely into the sand. Locals set up their beach chairs on the small strip of boardwalk above the limited patch of sand, but I ventured down the two sets of stairs to find my peace-of-mind for the day.

Iced-coffee in one hand, book in the other, I decided not to read after all and just be present to the natural surroundings. Giant boulders to my left had me wondering in awe how they even got there in the first place. As I turned to my right to put my book in my bag, I saw the small branch pictured above. Only thing was, I thought it was a snake.

Of course, I'm laughing now; but in the moment I screamed and ran. Now, keep in mind I'm down there by myself with other water-gazers above me who were oh-too-peaceful to notice my antics. I stopped and stared at the thing from afar; it didn't move.

Logic - it's not a snake. Fear - run for your life.

I watched and waited and waited and watched; the snake-branch-twig-thing didn't move. I got a little closer; still no movement. From an unreasonable angle which would make a definitive decision nearly impossible, I determined it was just a branch.

From an angle of safety, I felt I could grab the bottom of my beach chair and pull it toward me; at the very least if the snake-branch-twig-thing was actually a snake, I'd have my chair as a coat of armor in front of me.

As I got close enough, in between belly-laughing at myself so hard it hurt, I could see it was not, in fact, the dreaded killer snake, python, venus-eating-fly-trap terror I had conjured up. It was a branch.

Later on that evening, I felt compelled (like, had no choice other than to listen) to journal about it. The word awareness kept coming up for me. What the heck does awareness have to do with seeing (or thinking I saw, in this case) a snake? Awareness. Awareness.

I began to become aware of resistance. Yes, resistance, in my life.

I have been resisting moving forward with my life; My life.

I was afraid of something that didn't even exist. The fear I had conjured up in my mind was one and the same as the not-a-snake branch. I was afraid of something I wasn't even sure of - the unknown and the unfamiliar.

I'm holding on so tightly to what once was, what I miss, what I wish for once again that I (taking responsibility here) am not open to what is possible. In the tug-of-war between the past and future, I understand I have cut off my flow to what is possible. In other words, I have gotten in my own way.

I can rewrite my script; I can change being afraid of the unknown into being excited by the unknown - exhilarated by it.

So, what does your twig represent - fear of the unknown? Fear of letting go? Feelings of guilt for leaving behind what was and embracing what is and what is possible?

I'd love to know what's in your heart. How will you rewrite your script.

Me: rewriting fear of the unknown to falling in love with the unknown; it's where we get to play. :)