Being Grateful and Letting Go
It’s Monday of Thanksgiving Day week here at CoupleDumb and the concept of gratefulness is on our minds. Of course, once something is on our mind, it immediately goes to our fingers. So this week, we are going to write about gratefulness in CoupleDumb style, whatever that is, and you can read it and be thankful for us.
Paul says: I’m going to get all Socratic on you first thing in the morning. Sorry. You cannot be thankful for something without acknowledging its existence. I do not remember whether it was Plato or Socrates that said that naming something gives it existence. In essence, we can’t name something that isn’t and, if we can name it, then it must be real. Deep, isn’t it?
Now let’s move to Buddhist philosophy. Every moment is individual, neither living in the past nor existing in the future. This kind of stuff is what I usually think up while earning a hangover but, trust me, I am going somewhere with this. Besides, you didn’t think that we would just say, ‘hey, it’s good to be grateful’, did you?
When I sit at the Thanksgiving table and declare that I am grateful, I am invoking one moment in the existence of one thing that I am thankful. This year I will be thankful for Ricky, my annoying two year old, but the second that I say that he ceases to exist and becomes another new ball of frustration and joy. The daughter that I am thankful for now is not the one that I was thankful for last year. We are grateful for a moment in time, a memory or a hope for the future.
Where am I going with this? Let me give one more piece of philosophy. If you never let go from a hug then you are Siamese twins and peeing gets messy. Part of what makes an embrace so special is the separation at the end. One of the things that Lee and I have done in our therapy groups is to give away something that we are attached to, something that we have had for a very long time and that means something special to us. The results are magical. I gave away something from my grandmother and, in doing so, allowed myself to introduce my deceased spiritual protector to the world. By letting go of the pain of her death, I was able to celebrate all of the blessed moments of her life with me. You cannot receive a hug with your arms folded. (OK, now I just sound like a fortune cookie.)
The other half of being thankful is letting go and knowing that the new moments created will also be something to be grateful for. Now, I’m not saying that I am going to be thankful for Ricky while putting him out on the curb. But I am releasing the old little man for whom I am so grateful and embracing the new dude that will create fresh memories that will soon give way to other things for me to be thankful for. And I will release those… and so on… and so on.
Lee says: I need to watch that Paul doesn’t slip scotch in his coffee. Wow, what the hell was he smoking? Buddhism? Socratic method? Peeing on your Siamese Twin? I can safely say that I am grateful for sanity and not having ADD. Apparently my husband can’t say the same.
I kid. I kid a lot. Something happened when we were on the cruise that I found so amazing. We were discussing his grandmother and my great aunt (both deceased) and I was getting a little mushy. Sure it could have been the intoxication but I have mentioned that my grandparents were a little lacking. In my case, my Great Aunt Hilda was my soul grandmother. She was loving, supportive and did all the bad things grandparents are supposed to, like feed me things I shouldn’t be eating and playing baseball inside the house. She would have gotten a kick out of all these great things happening to me and Paul (did I mention she adored him?)
Anyways, while we were sitting there knocking back our drinks. Paul said that he was happy that his grandmother and my great aunt had passed when they did because they would not be able to handle being incapacitated. He explained how they left when they were still contributing to the world and able to understand things. Now, they can support and love us from the other side of the veil. That is so big for Paul. This is a man who could not acknowledge death or grieve. Loss is universal and to truly experience happiness we must embrace our losses, feel the grief and let them go. So this year I am grateful for my husband’s growth. He’s such a big boy and I am so proud!