Who doesn’t love a good breakup song?
So satisfying on a number of levels: full of torment and regret with just the right touch of revenge and strength.
Think Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive.
Or Garth Brooks’ Friends in Low Places.
Or Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger.
All great songs, reminding us that working though the process of acknowledging what’s over and taking steps forward is undeniably tough.
You can bet your angst-y Spotify playlist on it.
The good news is that, even though breaking up is hard to do, apparently there’s more than one way to do it.
Think Cry Me a River–two ways.
First, listen to Susan Boyle’s version here.
This woman is in bad shape. Her man done her wrong, and now he wants her back, but she’s having none of it. She’s so mournful and so low, she’s bringing us all down to melt in her puddle.
Somebody please scrape her off the floor and pour her into a chair, for crying a river out loud.
Now listen to Joe Cocker’s version here.
Same song. Same words. Same story. But oh, the attitude is crazy different.
Obviously, this guy is way further along. As in sass, attitude, energy. He is up and off the ground. The man has most definitely moved on, and is booking down the road with his bad self intact.
Don’t we all wish we could transfer directly from crisis to Cocker in one easy step?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work that way.
Most of the time you actually have to pass through the misery, sit with it, even. But there comes a time when moving on in some form is mandatory, and this process of traveling through can be mighty scary.
Marilyn Ferguson once said, “It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change, or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between we fear. It’s like being in between trapezes.”
Yes, indeed. You’ve released one thing, but you haven’t really grabbed hold of what’s next.
It’s disorienting and sometimes frightening, letting go of what’s behind, then dangling around in empty space.
And it happens in many areas of life, not just romantic relationships.
Your kids leave home, and you find yourself sitting on an empty nest.
Your kids come back, and you find yourself sitting on all kinds of stuff.
You move to a different house.
You move to different city or state.
You find yourself single.
You find yourself married.
You become a parent.
Your health gets weird, and part of you isn’t going to get back to “normal.”
Your life gets weird, and you realize you never really were “normal.”
And on and on. You can make your own list.
So where’s the adventure in all this? Taking a risk to experience the remarkable?
First, it comes in having the courage to let go.
And then, it involves making the most of “between trapezes,”–the space between past and future.
Here’s one idea:
Try starting a list of things that bring you joy, comfort and energy: praying, being outdoors, listening to music, writing, spending time alone or getting together with friends. Post this list where you can see it, and be sure to infuse each day with at least one item that brings you joy.
And in the meantime…
Feel free to put on a cup of something, curl up in a corner and let yourself wallow as you say goodbye to whatever is over now.
Go on, wave as you watch it walk out the door.
But then turn around.
And as you begin the difficult work of living without, say hello to the process of finding joy even while you are breathlessly suspended in midair. And know that one day, you’ll get a glimpse of what’s ahead. Then your hand will grip the trapeze in front of you.
And will you hear Joe Cocker and his awesome backup singers celebrating your journey.
Will you share, please, what’s over in your own life?
And, if you’re just joining us, check out the very first post (Your Epic Adventure Starts Here), where you’ll learn about starting a yearlong (52 questions) quest to practice living a life of adventure. As a bonus, you will also find the backstory for that ridiculous herd of buffalo on the header photo of this website…