Grief is so complicated.
One moment I’m overwhelmed with sadness, the next with relief…anger…hurt…loneliness…conviction…reassurance…uncertainty. It’s all in there…all mixed up together like some chunky stew melding all the flavors together. Facing the grief is hard…and it is only the beginning. Now I get to live with it…with each breath…with each thought…constantly aware and paying attention to my loyalty and my lines of light as they sneak off my Divine Line.
And so I sit in the grief, listening to what it has to teach me…letting all the emotions flood me and swirl me and caress me and cleanse me.
Then the phone rings.
He’s calling from one of the employment legal firms I had contacted prior to leaving my job. I had wanted advice and support in negotiating my exit, but for some reason, no one had called me back. Now, two weeks later, after the process was done, he calls me. I tell him that the situation is finished, and like a good lawyer, he persists by asking questions. To my surprise, I actually am willing to talk, so I do.
An hour-and-a-half later, I feel so validated. Finally, someone has heard me. Someone has acknowledged the pain I’ve experienced and someone has supported me by saying that what I experienced was illegal. Finally, someone has acknowledged that my 40+ pages of documentation does indeed describe harassment, and that there is definitely potential for a winning lawsuit. I’m so grateful for this validation that I burst into tears. His voice is soothing and supportive; encouraging and sympathetic.
He then asks me to send all the documentation to him, along with a questionnaire that he will send to me. I tell him that I will get that information to him that week…grateful for so much support and justice after feeling so isolated and alone for so long. I then hang up.
I’m too emotionally drained to do anything at that moment, so I go for a walk. Talking about everything I’d experienced brings back all those emotions…in huge surges. For the first time, I feel them completely…aware of all the pain I had ignored for so long. As I walk along the ocean’s edge, I consider my option to pursue the lawsuit. I know I have ample documentation…that’s not the issue. The issue is, do I want to spend my energy…the little I have left…on a situation that has ended? What do I want to happen if I do pursue the lawsuit? Will winning give me the sense of justice I want so deeply? Will it take me where I want to go? I’m surprised to realize that I don’t know the answers to these questions.
That night, I chat with a girlfriend, and we discuss these same questions together. I realize that some part of me really really wants my former boss to lose her job. I am angry that someone so out of integrity is allowed to keep her job, yet someone so much in integrity is easily allowed to walk away with no acknowledgement or recognition for the value of that integrity. I realize that some part of me really wants to retaliate and seek vindication. I really want people to see what they’ve lost and regret what they’ve done and apologize to me. As I sit with this realization, I allow those emotions to churn about and they rile me all up.
“What happens if you win?” she asks. “What will you gain?”
That’s a good question. What would happen if I win? I project myself into that potential to experience the moment when the judge rules in my favor. I experience relief, happiness, validation, sorrow, weariness, exhaustion…all the things I’m experiencing now. I’m surprised by that. Do I really want that? I look over to the other side of the courtroom to look in the eyes of the people there…people I once worked with…people I still see in my small town…people I still care about. There’s now a wall between us…a wall that can never be undone as a result of going through this process…no hope for reconciliation or renewal of any kind of relationship. This is not what I want. And yet, the law has been broken. At what point do I let go vs. pursue justice when something is so clearly wrong?
I express this to my friend. Neither of us has a clear answer.
“In hearing you discuss this situation,” she says, “it really is clear to me that there is a difference is values. You deeply value integrity, honesty, and conscientiousness over getting along with people. But, your former job values getting along with people above everything else. There is no way that the two of you could ever reconcile because you value two very different things.”
I’m startled at this insight. She is so right! I’m so grateful for her insight…for showing me something I couldn’t see for myself.
The next day, I have an appointment with my masseuse. She is so intuitive, so compassionate, and so nurturing that I know I will be supported simply by being in her presence. As she begins to work on my body, she asks me what I’m holding on to…because my body isn’t releasing.
“I feel like you’re bracing yourself in protection against someone attacking you. And as long as you’re in that stance, I’m limited in how I can help you.”
I burst into tears and my mouth starts blurting. I have absolutely no idea I am saying…it all comes out in a rush…tears flowing…tissues absolutely necessary. As I do, she keeps working on my body, and it gradually starts to relax and release. She listens, supports, encourages and sympathizes, and again I feel validated and I relax just a bit more.
“Can you let go? Can you visualize floating in the ocean…letting the waves carry you where they will?”
I am startled to realize that I have so much resistance to that idea. Why? Because you don’t trust that the Universe/God/Goddess supports you in this decision. I send a request for help. I can imagine floating on my back in the ocean trying to just let go, but I keep getting distracted by the waves washing over my face, worrying that I’ll hit rocks or get twisted up in the seaweed. I desperately pull all my lines of light back to myself, looking internally for the energy I so desperately seek, hoping that will help calm me down and focus, but it’s not helping. And then, a beautiful humpback whale appears. She looks at me and asks if she can help me. I tearfully accept her help, and she gently swims underneath me as I float. She gradually lifts up closer and closer until her back brushes mine. She gently lifts and supports me so that my face is never underwater and I don’t have to worry about hitting rocks or getting tangled in seaweed. And then I slump.
Instantly, my masseuse responds, gently pulling out all the stuck and stagnant and painful stuff from my muscles. My body gratefully releases it all and we both flow and swirl in the healing. Then my masseuse speaks.
“I had a boss who was a lot like you’ve described yours to be. I was afraid to leave because I loved my clients and the work so much. I tried to tell her in a variety of ways that she was killing her business because of her lack of integrity, but that only made things worse. Finally, I knew I had to leave. It was scary and hard, but so worth it. I started my own business, and it’s really starting to flourish now. I love working for myself…staying in integrity with my heart and my path and living in joy each day. She eventually lost her business completely, and most of her assets, but she still didn’t learn anything from it. She still thinks of herself as a victim…that it was someone else’s fault that all of this happened to her. So, even though I want her to learn this lesson and she experienced all that I predicted she would, I have to let go of my attachment to being right or the outcome of her journey…because it’s her journey…not mine.”
Ahhhhhhh!!!! Those damned attachments to outcomes! That’s what this is all about! Now I have to be aware of loyalty as well as attachment…only on me…only for me.
“What about my obligation for the illegal situation…don’t I have a responsibility to hold someone accountable when they’ve done something illegal?”
“Perhaps. The law is there to protect you should you choose to pursue that direction. But it isn’t the only way to solve the situation.”
“Am I not destroying my enemies when I forgive them?”
As I lay on the table, remembering that Abraham Lincoln quote I’d seen on Facebook that morning, still conscious that the whale was supporting me, I explore what it would feel like to simply forgive and move on…to fully release all the injustices, all the pain, all the harassment…and use my energy to focus on moving forward…into my life’s purpose. The longer I sit in that option, the better I feel and the deeper I relax and release.
“This energy you’re feeling, the anger, the injustice, the hurt, the pain, the betrayal, is powerful energy. Don’t deny it…don’t ignore it. Find a way to use it…to transform it to a higher frequency so that it takes you where you want to go.”
The tears flow again…this time in gratitude. This is all exactly what I need…these are the answers I seek. This way is in integrity with who I am and what I wish to be and model in the world.
That night, I wrote an email to the lawyer, expressing gratitude for his support and his willingness to hear me, as well as my decision not to continue down the legal path of retribution. As I pressed “Send,” I saw the Ho’oponopono prayer in my mind…shining with a golden light. I said it…to all who love me…to all who supported me…and most especially, to my former boss and those who challenge me. I’ve said it every day since.
I love you.
Please forgive me.
And the peace deepens.