Let go of the bag of rocks on your heart

Paradoxically, it takes greater courage to admit the need to collapse and find a shoulder in which to lean, than to pull yourself up by your straps and pretend you are fine. -- Matt Hogan

Often it seems we perceive that a broken, aching, and yearning heart is something that is tied to a passing situation. A passing experience that doesn’t hold significance for our future.

Your significant other leaves

Your sibling passes away

You lose a career you love

Your business bankrupts

You look in the mirror wondering where the years went

That time you were embarrassed around your peers

Caring for your sick parent

Watching the news and the violence of the world

Our hearts ache much more than we often realize. Our bodies remembering it all. We walk around carrying the news of the day, and the moments we struggled to process of the past, like a bag of rocks. Slung on our backs, moments big and small that were never processed to completion. Armored up, our nervous system and mind tries to protect us further. 

Often not feeling free inside of our own bodies. A locked down tight feeling like we must maintain this morphing of ourselves to survive in our worlds. Rigidly holding onto what body movements and expressions could be perceived as unacceptable. For the risk of rejection and judgement keep us in our cage. 

Locked In our cage of longing. Longing to acknowledge that we struggled, and many times, just want to collapse. Longing to acknowledge that our hearts have felt great pain. Being told to rise above it does nothing more than to shut one down further. As the message received is, ‘you are still not doing enough’.

For so long, I swore that the feeling of freedom I sought was found in the world around me. To travel. To experience new people, culture, and aspects of life that you read about. There is some truth within this that I’ll leave for another day.

Though, I am reminded today that the greatest freedom is dropping the bag of rocks on our back that we have long carried. And finding our way to release the weight piling up on our chest, is a doorway to our deeper longings. 

Those hard times when you had to pull up your boot straps and tough it up, your heart remembers how much that hurt.

(A rock goes in your backpack)

Those times where you needed someone to lean on, but didn’t know how to reach out for help. Your heart remembers how much that hurt.

(A rock goes in your backpack)

Those times you believed you were weak because you struggled to hold it together…

(A rock goes in your backpack)

In this life, we are going to experience loss. We are going to experience moments where we bump into each other in ways that we are hurt. What hurts the most is holding onto the bag. It may feel like protection for your heart, but it’s not. 

As the backpack fills, life increasingly feels dull. Or, completely disconnected. We yearn for that feeling of aliveness again. Certain that it’s inside us somewhere. 

Though often, we look to traveling, adventures, alcohol and other means of searching, to reclaim our birthright of peace. Somewhere along the way, we begin to realize that all the trips, money, drink, and relationships in the world will not be able to carry the weight of the backpack. 

We must take the backpack off. 

At times, it may be a large rock we are able to remove. 

  • Perhaps we meet the friend or mentor that reminds us it’s okay to be messy. It’s a part of being human. We feel real acceptance.
  • Perhaps we begin to rekindle a relationship with a parent. A relationship that has long been a challenge, that was on auto-pilot because we feared to speak up. Then found the courage to take a chance.
  • Perhaps we have been able to find the space and support to finally shed those tears long held onto. Held onto to save face. To suck it up for your family. To continue an old narrative that it is weak to cry. 

At times, it may be one small pebble we are able to remove.

  • Perhaps, someone offers us a kind word and we are able to let it in, without assuming they have an agenda. Or, simply not believing that this could be true about us. 
  • Perhaps, in a moment we needed to offer ourselves some Grace, we recognized we were doing our best. Which is all we can ever do.

Whether the rock be big or small that we drop out of our bag along the way, begin emptying the bag. Those murmurs of longing in our hearts, are there for a reason. Though, often the challenge is coming to know what those longings are telling us. And how they can begin to inform how we navigate our lives from here. 

I had to begin feeling for what rocks were ready to be let go of, to start feeling the personal freedom I’ve longed for. I continue each day, finding more pebbles, and at times, large stones that are ready to be taken off my back. 

There’s lightness, clarity, and a deeper trust that is born when letting the bag go. 

Be well,

Matt

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