Keeping it simple: feeling my way through life

  The simple beauty of paper by paper artist, Calvin Nicholls (his work is breath taking!)

Over the past few years, I’ve let some people go from my life. Not that I hadn’t ended relationships in the past, or had them ended by others, but this has been very different; I have “gently” let them go. I couldn’t do this growing up. I believed and was taught, that something had to be really bad or wrong with someone before I could stop being in relationship with them. If they were family members, I was obligated to stay in continual touch, even if they didn’t seem to particularly enjoy my company and vice versa.

This “letting go” started as a simple exercise of not contacting someone if I didn’t feel good about it in that moment. I’d had enough experience with the “obligatory” phone calls and visits to realize that if the energy was not good at the start, the interaction wouldn’t be either. I found that as I started to feel my way through life (instead of making every decision from the conscious, rational mind), and worked on improving my thoughts in general, there were those people who, almost seemed to fade out of my life. At first this scared me, so I would make contact, no matter how I was feeling. I finally realized that if I was initiating a relationship with anyone out of fear or worry, then that low energy would be the point of connection with them and the relationship would always feel like a struggle.

As I let go of the old negative patterns of relationship (within myself) people did leave my life, but more importantly, some of those past relationships have naturally transformed and are much richer and deeper, and new friendships have come, that are uplifting, encouraging and mutually supportive.

When I stop doing things that don’t feel life enhancing, my life, my relationships, my work, all get better.

“It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.”  Franz Kafka

26 thoughts on “Keeping it simple: feeling my way through life”

  1. Beautiful post. This is something I’m struggling with on and off, and your post arrived right in the middle of one of those struggles – thank you!

  2. thank you for the confirmation…..this is a troublesome issue I have dealt with and continue to evolve my attachments to others. Change is always something that requires so much time. Maybe its time, rather than thought that will ultimately be the magic tonic…..thank you Mary.

  3. Dear Mary,
    Thank you as always for framing an issue I struggle with constantly! Trying to keep in touch with EVERYONE, even with those who don’t seem particularly receptive or appreciative in spite of having been close in the past. By the time a person reaches my age having entered the wonderful world of retirement, that’s a great many people!

    Far, far better to reach out with joy and high energy toward life enhancing relationships. As you say some relationships will fall by the wayside, but then re emerge in a new way to be enjoyed all the more in a mutually supportive manner.

    From Fran

  4. Oh my goodness, Mary, I was raised with and have done exactly as you’ve described and never thought to look at relationships in this way. Instead of beating myself up about a relationship that is limping along and needs a lot of nyrturing and attention, maybe I need to take a step back and look at things a little differently. Your honesty is refreshing; you put yourself into your comments and allow others to relate. ‘I feel that way too’ I say to myself after reading something like this.

    SandyP in canada

  5. A long-term relationship ended within the last 24 hours. Though I have known and loved this person for more than 16 years, the relationship has become a burden and one that is one-sided and energy-draining. I almost reached out this morning to try and temper things – to offer friendship and a way to remain connected that is perhaps more apprpopriate and fulfilling for both of us.Then I read your timely comments. Though you do not know me nor were your comments about my specific situation, they resonated with me.I no longer feel the need to reach out because it is motivated more by fear of letting go, by habit, than by something more productive and life-affirming. Thank you so much!


  6. I agree with you Mary and Sue. I let go of a 20+ year relationship with a friend. She had been a true friend, but we changed and grew apart. I kept the relationship alive out of obligation. I recently went through major loss of people that I loved genuinely, and have opened my eyes to only surround myself with pure love that does not need to be “worked” at. Thank you everyday for the inspirational words and for making me Think!

  7. There’s a really great quote I love, that I think about all the time because it’s so simple in it’s message….

    “Does it amplify your brilliance? If it doesn’t, let it go.” ~ Annelene Decaux ~

    Your post reminded me of it this morning. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for this, Cath. A simple yet profound one-liner that can be a guideline to keep in your pocket and take out when you need a quick answer. Love this!

    2. This is going in my White Feather Farm quote folder, along with the one Mary offered from (I never would have guessed it!) Franz Kafka. Maybe another way to look at Cath’s quote is to turn it around and ask of ourselves, “Do I amplify his/her brilliance?” Simple words said to a friend can surely make them shine and glow. We have so much power in the giving of ourselves to another.

  8. I have a friend that has been in my life for over 60 years. At times it has not been a very nourishing relationship and we have “disconnected” and years later reconnected. We live in different states now but have reestablished our connection. It feels good to go with the flow and just let things happen. Not always easy to do!

  9. how can i not post? i’ve needed to read and re-read the quote by franz kafka. today’s truth is so right for me. i’m struggling with just this dillema. one is my relationship with a sister, one a long-term-on-again-off-again relationship with a friend/partner. with both, i’ve been releasing the present form of relationship with a gentleness, as you say mary. it is turning into a long-term release of slowly stepping back and listening quietly to the inner knowing. there is a surrender of each relationship and how each is “supposed” to be. i trust this.

  10. I really appreciated this post. “A friend for every season.” I think that is the saying. But I think it is true because we all change– or as I like to say, I think we eventually find the courage to live fully into who we are– so yes, that looks like change to those around us– but we are finally being who we always wanted to be. When you do, I have found it so amazing the people that have come into my life– I call them my tribe.
    It has also been lonely at the beginning wrestling with the relationships I knew I had to gently let go– not wanting to hurt anyone– but no longer being able to be true to me– that was more painful.

    1. Barbara, you said “not wanting to hurt anyone” – that hit home to me, as from childhood weren’t we always taught to be a loyal friend, kind and true? But just like a garden, for the plants to really thrive and come to full blossom, the gardener has to remove the weeds. Maybe old relationships that no longer nurture us (or we, them) need to be gently let go so that we can more firmly root ourselves in ones that do. And our energies are less scattered and diffused. Our tribe! Love that too, Barbara. And love this tribe and our Chieftess Mary Muncil!

      1. Yes, I agree Susan it is how we were brought up. I loved how you equated friends like plants and the gardener has to remove the weeds. And right on with our energies being less scattered and diffused when we are among our positive tribe. That just gives us more inspiration– and just like this tribe and Mary! Love how you call her Chieftess. 🙂

  11. Wonderful post, Mary. I have embraced so much change this past year….change that I would never have allowed myself before now. Those who have noticed have remarked that I am pulling away. I look at it from a different view: I am finally being true to myself. As Carly Simon said, “I haven’t got time for the pain; I haven’t got need for the pain….”

    Getting older presents some extraordinary gifts.

  12. This really resonated with me because it’s a present struggle in my life and the “guilt” with not living up to the “shoulds” that go along with this. There have been relationships that were important and then floundered and drifted and came back together in deep and meaningful ways. Others didn’t and some I mourn. Gently letting go of some brought others, often in a serendipitous/spirit way that feel like soul connections. The struggle is when a long time (30) yr relationship has become difficult for me for a number of reasons but doesn’t seem so for the other person. Then I feel like I’m faking it and am at a loss with how to address it because it seems like it would be attacking and I can’t imagine concerns being heard without defensivenss etc. So I end up “addressing” in an indirect way and feeling snide and not very honest in the process and hoping I’ll be “heard,” which doesn’t work. Help!

  13. What an amazing paper sculpture artist you have introduced us to. He has a fantastic website–sleek and clean. Beautiful stuff, really!

    And, of course, thank you for your inspirational words.

  14. Mary, this post is so helpful to me especially today. It affirms a decision I have made to discontinue a weekly group I have been going to for years. As I was leaving the group last week, I was sure I would never be back. There was not a specific reason for this decision but mostly a feeling. The people and purpose no longer served me in any way. So I love your post to confirm this and know that my intuition was finally speaking louder than my sense of obligation. Thank you very much!!!

  15. Like Tibetan singing bowls, Mary, you continually amaze me with the healing resonance and harmonics that strike a chord in so many hearts—almost prescient on a collective personal level!! WOW.

  16. In reading through the comments tonight I am so moved by this thoughtful community. None of take relationships lightly, we all care about other people’s feelings…it is a wonderful group to be a part of!
    For me, I’ve come to see that I am really not doing anyone a favor by staying in a relationship with them, when I know in my heart that it has changed and is over (at least for now). I know that when I “release” someone (even though they might be angry or hurt), they are now free to line up with new and different people and life experiences too. Whether or not they see this change as a positive thing; as an opportunity and opening for them, is up to them. I cannot make anyone see what they don’t want to see, but my own inner knowing is what I have to act from.

  17. …the world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do
    no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet…

    Oh yes, I hear this message loud and clear…it seemed so foreign
    and unacceptable years ago ..I’m grateful to be in this place/space…

    and so many wonderful words…
    embrace, brilliance, the gardener has to remove the weeds,
    courage, profound concept, inner knowing, extraordinary gifts…

    thank you Mary and WFF friends…

  18. As always, Mary, it’s a pleasure to read your wonderful blog. Just thinking about relationships in terms of energy, both positive and negative, is so wise. Knowing that I decide how energy bundles enter or leave my space feels powerful. Great stuff!

  19. Thanks Mary for this blog. I have been going back and reading older ones I missed when I was on vacation. I have been struggling with whether or not to call an old sister in law who at times didnt treat me fairly or very nice. I loved her and wanted to be part of her life regardless….though she crossed the line finally and I dropped her from my life and all her attempts to reach me however lately I have been feeling guilty about this and pondered whether or not I should call and apologize to her. Truly in my heart I do not feel it is my place to apologize to her but the other way around….I miss her being part of my life even though we live in different states….after reading this blog I will no longer fret over whether what I did was right or wrong but I will move on and will continue to Pray for her and hopefully someday we can mend fences so to speak.

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