I don’t want to be Atlas

You can probably tell I am not an overly religious person. For me, my faith is largely about tradition, family connectedness, guiding principles of mitzvahs that encourage us to leave the world just a bit better than we found it, and preserving a culture that too much of the world would like to see destroyed. G-d is there, a part of it, but I’m not certain exactly in what form G-d exists. I struggle with this question.

I say this because even with this struggle, there is one thing that stuck with me from our counseling time with Phil. He once told me that I was carrying such huge burdens on my shoulders, burdens that I cannot carry any more. He asked me to envision taking those burdens off of my shoulders, laying them at me feet and saying to G-d, “I cannot carry these burdens any longer, I lay them here at my feet releasing them from my shoulders and giving them over to you.” Somehow the imagery of doing this has been helpful, certainly not always successful, but one of many mental strategies to help.

With Counselor Troi it was sitting my pain down, imagining my pain embodied in cartoon character form sitting across from me and asking it “what do you want from me?” “What is your purpose here?” And, one day, telling it, “I don’t need you any more, you can go away now.”

With B, she helped me create an image of a beautiful, safe, warm place that I can go to in my mind. When I start going down the rabbit hole, when “stinking thinking” (as she likes to call it) starts getting in the way of me living life, she wants me to imagine this place and use it to help find some peace.

I have a magnet on my refrigerator that reads “let go or be dragged” to remind me that I do not have to let the pain control me. And, in fact, allowing the pain to drag me through the mud is only hurting me.

I think all of these words, thoughts, beliefs get at the same fundamental issue. When we hold onto great pain, it drags us down. Yet, I think we do it as a form of protection.

I am not exactly sure where to go with all of this, but just that I think we must find ways to release the pain, even if it is only for short moments at first, with those moments growing in length and in frequency over the years to come.


6 thoughts on “I don’t want to be Atlas

  1. I agree. My wife says “let go and let god” or “hand it over and pray for peace”. Neither of us are religious. But the spiritual nature of her believes this helps. I, like you, find it helpful at times, but not others. She says its because I don’t always truly let go. Maybe she’s right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sonofabeach,

      Yes, I think your wife is right! I find that letting go has to happen in small chunks for me. As we go on, those chunks are getting longer. Some days, I am actually able to “let go” for a whole day and at times even a bit longer, which is clearly a huge improvement. Still, it is a work in progress.

      Perhaps a part of me equates letting go of the pain “once and for all” with forgiveness, which obviously I am still working toward. But, for a specific, limited period of time, that I can do.

      I also had a real problem with the phrase “let go and let G-d” for quite some time. That is because MC’s last AP considered herself a devout Christian and appeared to be a strong believer in fate and destiny as prescribed by G-d’s will. This phrase, for quite some time, was such a trigger to me, feeling like she abdicated any responsibility for her choices because there was a reason and purpose according to G-d’s will for her actions. But, that is her perversion of G-d, and does not need to be mine. Now, I can better accept “let go and let G-d” in relation to learning to let go of this unfathomable pain.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I kinda see it in metaphoric terms vs literal. I believe in destiny, to a degree. But I think by, for lack of a better term, “letting go and letting god” I actually give it up to a higher power than me, whatever one’s “god” may be. Just the act of letting it go for a bit, even if just in notion, allows some peace, lifts some weight, and eases some anxiety. It may not be real, but if my mind believes it, my body will follow. To me it’s more about releasing it from my brain for a bit, turning over to whatever, vs some preordained destiny as deemed by a religion. I believe in god, but I also believe we make most of our own destiny.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I would like to believe that we guide our future through our goals, actions, choices, ideals and values. And, in our attempt to live by those guiding lights, we will reach our best destiny, whatever that might be.

          I love the quote, by Carl Schurz, “Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny.”

          Liked by 2 people

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