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Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/1034188-A-Lantern-for-Your-Troubles
Rated: 18+ · Book · Writing · #1197218
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland
#1034188 added June 24, 2022 at 11:56am
Restrictions: None
A Lantern for Your Troubles
As I attempt to lean more fully into middle age, I am trying to figure out how to be the best version of myself. There are some mornings I wake up feeling every aching joint in my body. There are some afternoons when the weight of my emotions threaten to consume me. My challenges to self improvement are as physical as they are mental most days.

One of the things I struggle with most are my expectations of others. Living a life without expectations may be the best way to preserve one's happiness, but for me, that is nearly impossible to achieve. We can not control the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of others. We can however, maintain control on how we let those thoughts, feelings and behaviors affect us. We can be a brick wall or a doormat. I find I am, unfortunately, more often the latter.

In this past two years, I have had a serious of revelations. The biggest one being that no matter how well you plan, how hard you work, how big you dream...the universe can step in at any moment and disrupt it all. I was raised by parents who taught me I could do anything, but perhaps failed to prepare me for the reality that "anything" may be highly subjective and subject to biased interpretation. I have learned the hard way that in the end, you may set all the expectations and goals and still fail to achieve them because it is just not in the hand you've been dealt.

I have decided I may do my daughter better service to encourage her to reach for her dreams but to also have a fairly well-scripted Plan B to pivot to in the event the universe has a different plan. I've decided to instill in her the ability of "learning to let shit go". It is something I am trying to put into practice far too late in my own life.

People can be disappointing, as a matter of fact, I have found that those I love the most, disappoint me the most often. For a long time I have held onto hurt. I have carried around anger and disappointment. There were times I felt all that negative emotion turning to something black inside me. It was a feeling I likened to J.K.Rowling's obscurus concept from the Fantastic Beast series. An obscurus occurs when repressed feelings of hurt and betrayal caused a repression of magic in an individual. It took the form of a darkly ominous cloud that resided inside until one day it's rage would consume and destroy its host. It is funny that I would manage to find a real-life parallel in a children's book, but the concept really resonated with me. The message was clear, offload those feelings however you can or they will destroy you. I think of that swirling black warning cloud a lot whenever I feel that black coil inside me. I try very hard not to feed it. I try very hard not to let my rage win or worse, turn it against myself.

I have started to do this silly practice where I picture myself letting go of a bad thought or feeling like one of those paper lanterns. I imagine it lifting up into the night sky, the flickering candle inside beating back the darkness as it rises up into the atmosphere, getting farther and farther away from me. I can almost feel lighter after, having made the decision to offload some of that hurt. It doesn't always work. I'm not super great at meditation or self-visualization practices but I am trying and lately my lanterns have been working overtime.

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Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/1034188-A-Lantern-for-Your-Troubles