Gran's Apple Butter Blog

May 3, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Lighten the Load (5/VIII)

Chapter 5- Lighten the Load
from Going Home, by Mary Batson

As far as packing light, I remember Gran talking about a time when she thought that to stay true to herself, she was going to have to leave behind everything in her life. It seemed like her current path held an awful lot of contradictions to the person she was inside, the life she wanted to live to express her authentic self. She’d reached an either/or crossroads, she thought.

This was scary, and she fought the idea, insisting that everything could be exactly the way she wanted it, while inside part of her was pretty sure it couldn’t. But she didn’t want to listen to that part, thinking it was only the voice of fear. She was just sure if she tried hard enough she could shapeshift that crossroads into an and/plus.

After all, that question came from an old place where she didn’t want to live anymore – a place of scarcity, where there was never enough to go around. Gran’s new world was a place of abundance, where there was always enough. At least, she wanted to see it that way, but that either/or voice hadn’t given up just yet.

The funny thing was, after waging this internal battle long enough, Gran was so worn out all she could do was sit down and accept – accept the place where she found herself, right here, right now. She didn’t have any strength left to fight anymore. Amidst a lot of tears and a lot of fears, she surrendered to the possibility that she was right where she was supposed to be.

Amazingly, after she genuinely accepted this idea, she found out she really didn’t have to change that much at all. It wasn’t so much what she did, as how she did it – where she came from on the inside. The only things she’d had to let go of, apparently, were her attachments and expectations about where she should be and what she should be doing, things that were just a clever cover-up for her need for control.  

True, some things shifted around her as she grew into the Gran she truly was, as things that weren’t working too well either healed or took on a different shape. And that was just as it should be. Overall, everything got better, in and around and all the way through.

It reminded her of the poem about setting something free. Many amazing people had lived this, people like Viktor Frankl, who accepted life as it came to him, as it was. Frankl found a way to live his life on purpose and in peace in the Nazi concentration camps, discovering his most important freedom on the inside.[i]

What else might we want to take out of our luggage? Well, that depends on the person. Gran said she’d chosen to let go of pleasing others and of looking outside herself for answers. That was a sneaky one, ‘cause sometimes she’d be sitting there congratulating herself on not falling for that old trick when all of a sudden she’d realize she’d done it again.

Just like they would later be for me, books were Gran’s big downfall. For years she read every title that might have anything to do with her journey, looking for the one that had all the answers, when she really only needed to look inside, for the one who had all the answers. After enough years of switching maps, she realized this hadn’t gotten her any further than sitting in the front row, so she took a self-imposed sabbatical. She thought she’d try listening for a while and see how that went. According to Gran, it went pretty darn well.

Not that there’s anything wrong with reading. Gran eventually went back to her studies, sifting through pages like she was panning for gold. But she was reading from a different place than before – looking for a truth, not the truth. Reading with lots of questions, with her double-billed detective hat on. She found a lot of pull tabs that way, but she also found some amazing treasures.

Sentence by sentence she built a firm foundation for her beliefs, one that was strong enough to be flexible. Gran’s foundation sparkled in the sunshine, I noticed one day. I guess it must have been all those little nuggets of truth.

[i] Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, a disturbingly beautiful and life-changing book

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
NOW AVAILABLE: Going Home, The E-Book & Going Home: The Tour LIVE – 2 CD set – Mikey and Gran’s story put to music!


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