Moving on, moving up. (Creativity in Relationships)
I have a lot going on with my creative life, the growth of my business, and a newfound desire to spend a lot of time around interesting people.
But lurking in the background is a big issue: how to let go of a close friend who mysteriously disappeared without saying goodbye. We are often within a mile of each other, and he’s not hostile, just young and distracted by a job and lifestyle he must find glamorous. It would be easier, and more typical for me to break with anger. But I’m not going there. Instead, I’m reminding myself that I also need to have Creativity in Relationships.
I’ve listened to my own inner creativity guru, and come up with some solutions.
I sent a carefully considered Farewell note. I was really wishing to NOT need a reply, or a rebound anger would be O.K. Just to not be hooked into patching things up and getting close again.
I got a contrite reply to my farewell, and I dared to be hopeful. I wrote to say thanks.
Then I got a note where the walls went up. Reading between the lines the message seemed to be, “You are sort of important, but friends (what was I?), my need to work 60 hours a week, and doing everything I can to deal with all my stress, take precedence.
So finally I know this is over, and to get through the loss, I’m doing two things. Delving into my study of meditation, and using a self-psychology technique called The Paradox.
I hope sharing this helps other people seeking to get someone departed off their mind.
The lovingkindness (Meta Bhavana) meditation* has long been a favorite. Often, this departed friend was the person I used to focus on in stage 2. I cared deeply for him. But now that things have dissolved, maybe can move back to Stage 3, the neutral person, and for a bit, he may need to be considered in Stage 4, a person where there is difficulty/friction (after all, I still wish him well).
Meta has enhanced my compassion for other people. It has relieved my tendency to be very self-focused. Meta helped me immensely four years ago when I had my dog dying at the foot of my bed while my mother having psychotic episodes due to dementia. Yes, that was a bad time.
Not long afterward, somewhat magically, this new friend appeared in my life. A door opened after doors had closed.
To the best of my ability, I move on connecting with people, trying to be as generous as possible, trying not to blame or lash out when dinged by being ignored. Those are great intentions, but sometimes this lost friend is still too much on my mind.
Familiarity with the ‘stuck’ feeling, I reached back to a technique I learned when I was studying to become a therapist. It’s called the paradoxical method and works well with incessant annoying repetitive thoughts.
While it isn’t appropriate for all forms of addition, it can help when one is having trouble Letting Go & Moving On.
Simply put, my wiser self told me… (Paradoxical Instruction)
“O.K. You can’t stop thinking about the friend, because you didn’t get to fight it out, and it is a good thing, it’s growth for you not to duke it out. And letting your inner parental voice yell out you to “CUT IT OUT,” that won’t do any good.
So let’s agree that you get to think of this lost friend in any way you wish to but it has to be on a schedule. In fact, I require that you do this. Be sure to think about him 2 times per day for the next 30 days.”
“Think of the disappeared one each day at 11 am for 6 minutes; then at 11 pm, be sure to think of him for another 6 minutes.”
This helped. (Thanks, Inner Creative Guru). I wasn’t in a state of anger or sadness. My mind would drift toward thoughts of the friend who was now a goner, but I noticed it wasn’t time yet. I’d do that in 20 minutes. Usually, I got involved in something else by 11 am, and then I’d say, “O.K., 11 pm, then.” After a couple weeks, it was a matter of fact thing to say, not now, maybe later.
Paradox: It’s not total magic, but it helps.
And it is no coincidence that now that my giving up is firm, I am moving on, and moving up to put my energy into new people, to focus on my own creative work, to teach, & to connect with young people without wondering if there is a generation flakiness.
I’m excited by my plans to move to a new home, where I can enjoy being out on lively streets, and I’m going to give of myself to people who are AVAILABLE and communicate their appreciation of me. To the best of my ability, I will form interdependent connections in which I and the other person flow back and forth between the SEEKER and SOUGHT* roles in a manner that is playful and accepting.
*Get an excellent audio version of the Meta Bhavana meditation: “Guided Meditations for Calmness, Awareness, and Love” by Bodhipaksa. If you don’t already have an Audible account you will receive it for free, just for giving them a try.
**More about this subject in a future post.