I was just flipping through the channels when I decided to watch the last half of Oprah's most recent interview with Shirley MacLaine. I used to think Shirley MacLaine was a little crazy, but now I'm not so sure (though I'm pretty sure I'm a little crazy, but that's beside the point). She said a few things that really resonated with me. I felt I needed to share.
What first caught my attention in this interview is that Shirley mentioned she no longer attends funerals. When Oprah asked her why she replied with something to the effect of "well, none of us die so why go to a funeral?" According to her beliefs (in a nutshell), souls don't die, they just shed their bodies and move on to another state of consciousness. From there they can decide whether or not to incarnate again.
Anytime someone talks about their belief that souls don't die, I get a little excited. It's like somewhere in my deep pool of sadness a little bit of hope bubbles up. I don't really want to get into a full-on discussion of my feelings about reincarnation right now (maybe in a later post) but, suffice it to say, I've considered the possibility.
At this point in the interview I was somewhat glued to the TV, feeling quite emotional, hoping to hear something helpful. It's not that I think Shirley MacLaine is some "enlightened being" (who knows, maybe she is?) or guru I want to follow, I just believe that we can learn something from everyone.
After more reflection on Shirley's life experiences and accomplishments, Oprah asked her what her biggest life lesson has been so far. She replied that she has learned to "let life happen". Then she used the word "surrender".
It's hard to explain why the word surrender had such a huge impact on me, but when she said it I had a major realization. It hit me that for the past two years, three months and twenty-seven days I have used every ounce of energy I possess to fight against reality. Every moment of every day, both when I'm awake and when I'm asleep, I'm thinking "this didn't happen, my kids can't be gone, there must be some mistake!"
Hundreds of times each day I say to myself in my head or under my breath "I just want my kids back, please give me my kids back, I'll do anything - please!" All I do is fight, fight, fight and I'm getting angrier and more anxious all the time. Just this afternoon I tried to take a nap and woke up in a complete panic. It has to stop.
When Shirley said "surrender" the word sounded like a vacation (I know that sounds strange, but stay with me for a minute). Surrender, to me, seems like a land far, far away in which I might be able to rest. I thought, "if I could just give up this fight and accept what has happened maybe some of the anger, stress and panic will subside, at least temporarily".
I have to tell you that accepting what has happened to Kate and Peter is not something I want to do. It's not right, it's not the natural order of things and I fucking hate it. But I can't fight it anymore. I certainly can't change it because, let me tell you, if I could I would have changed it a long time ago.
So I guess my next step needs to be finding a way to surrender. I have a feeling I'll last all of five minutes and then be back to my usual fighting, but I think that's ok. Maybe the next time I try I'll be able to last six minutes instead. Maybe eventually I'll be able to find some peace . I'm not convinced, but it can't hurt to try.
Maybe if I can "let life happen" something will shift or change and I'll be able to move forward. Despite my best efforts to move forward, I'm currently stuck in some sort of holding pattern of relentlessly negative emotions. Something's gotta give. Maybe it's me.