Last week, I sent a survey asking for your feedback about the blog. I loved all the responses, and will definitely be jamming about them as I move forward. I’m so excited to have such an engaged, thoughtful, and reflective community. What you’re interested in lines up beautifully with what I’m interested in writing about. This is going to be fun! (If you didn’t take the survey and still have some thoughts to share you can do so here.)
Some of the answers I got were about dealing with change. And that’s where I’d like to begin today.
We have all been there: In our heads we are mentally preparing for something that we really want. Two years ago, after I went through a bad breakup up, I realized I had been planning our entire future. I had visions in my head about a wedding and living together in our apartment. Plus dreams of building a business together, traveling, and leading an incredibly exciting life together.
When he and I broke up, I still felt really hung up on him. I realized I wasn’t hung up on himexactly, I was stuck on this future I thought I was going to have. I really wanted that life. But that life with that guy wasn’t going to happen. I needed to let go.
It wasn’t an easy process for me. This was my future that I designed. I had become emotionally attached to this thing that hadn’t happened (and honestly, hadn’t even been said out loud to anyone). It seemed like it was harder to let go of because it hadn’t happened yet. There was no reality to deal with, just the perfect vision in my mind.
This happens to us all the time. Some people call it future-tripping. It’s when we create something for our future, and it feels so real and we get so invested in it. It can be a helpful tool for some instances, because it can help you create a life that you love. But when it falls apart and you feel lost because you didn’t get that future, it can be devastating. We do this in all areas of our lives- the perfect job, having a family, ideal family vacations or holiday dinners, and the list goes on. I bet if you got honest, you could name three different futures you have in your head that you are mentally playing out right now.
To deal with letting go of this future, a girl friend and I created a ritual. We decided we needed to honor the death of the dream. Giving it respect seems like the most natural way to let go and move on.
We realized that honoring a dream death helps on so many levels. We find the process is best when you have a compassionate witness by your side, instead of trying to do this alone. Make sure the person is a compassionate listener, which means that they will let you say whatever you need to say and not try to fix it, diminish it, or make it go away. This needs to be someone that can sit with you in your shit and hold your hand.
First, we get honest. And honesty is where everything begins. We acknowledge what we were hoping would happen. Saying it out loud brings it to the light, and somehow bringing it out loosens the grip in my brain. (It really helps to have that compassionate witness nod their head and say that you’re not crazy for painting this vivid image of a future). It also acknowledges that we are probably going to experience grief and the whole host of emotions that come with that. This helps me feel less like a crazy lady for feeling feelings about something that didn’t even happen. It somehow normalizes it, and that gives me a bit of comfort.
Next, we write a letter to the dream. In my case, since it was a breakup, I wrote the letter to my ex. I described everything I thought we would have together and how I was feeling. You could write it to anyone or anything. Get everything out that you need to say. You get to be angry, frustrated, sad, what have you.
After everything that needs to be said and written are said and written, we release it by burning the letter. We watch it turn to ash and smoke. Something about that feels really satisfying. We’ve always washed away the ashes with water of some kind, which wasn’t exactly intentional but in retrospect I think it’s actually important. Water brings about renewal. It is a symbol of a new start.
This week, I had a dream death. I have been planning to run the Loch Ness Marathon for over a year now. And while I’m still running a marathon this year, it will not be in Scotland. I’m pretty sad about this part. I was so looking forward to being back in one of my favorite places in the world, and accomplishing a major goal while I was there.
My inner critic has been especially harsh lately, criticizing myself for tackling a goal like this and failing so spectacularly. And I'm coping with that by I’m by extending compassion and forgiveness to myself. I'm also reframing how I see the experience. It's not a failure in a bad way. Yes, I failed to meet my goal but now I have new information about how to reach that goal next time. It's not over, I just got feedback about what doesn't work.
I’m letting myself feel any feelings that come up, but I am not letting my critic steal the show. There is a lot to learn here that will help me next time. Keeping myself focused is helping to bring relief
Does this resonate with you? If so, I invite you to share this email with the person you’d like as your compassionate witness. Forward this to them and set a date for your own dream death ritual. I hope it brings you as much relief as it brings me.
Did you find this blog post helpful? Do you want to increase the love in your life? It all starts with yourself, which is why I created a simple self love meditation. Claim yours here and get more love immediately.