Killing Hope - One Way To Truly Let Go
“I’m I afraid we’ll have to kill it.”
He nodded, looking defeated. “I suppose….?” Then, with a resolute snap. “No, there’s no other way.”
I felt sad, resigned. The kind of feeling you get when all options narrow down to the one choice. The one we’ve both been secretly hoping not to have to take.
“So,” he rubbed his hands on his pants legs a bit restlessly, brisk with tension. “When do we kill my Hope?”
And we proceeded to look at the relationship that he had worked so hard to salvage. The ex-partner who had ultimately left him without any clear reasons why. The failed, one-sided attempts at reaching out to this partner, like throwing notes folded into paper airplanes into an empty void. There were no more answers….
The “Why?” drove him into my office, and we started many sessions trying to get to the bottom of the need to answer it.
It ultimately came down to Hope.
“If I knew the answer to ‘why’, then I would KNOW what I did wrong,” a pause. My eyebrow rose expectantly, a hook for more. A crack in his voice. “And then maybe we can get back together.”
A tear down his cheek.
And we tried various things, not to find out the answer to “why?” – for that way lay the dead-end trap of hypothetical answers sunk like the wreaks of ships – to help him to move on. Always, he would feel better for a while, but ultimately returned to me in a melt-down. He’d sent more texts to his ex again. He’d even wrote letters, and taken to hovering under his ex’s apartment, or on social media.
All our efforts felt like going around in circles, trickery and tips. And we felt like two chickens that have been hypnotized to believe our beaks were fused to a spot on the ground. So we circled around this spot – so full of Hope. Trying to preserve it.
Until it came to me, making me hold my breath for daring to even think it, that preserving this Hope was itself a trap.
Which was why I suggested to him that we had to kill Hope. I sensed deep within me that only by ultimately killing this Hope and the need to preserve it, would he be able to Let Go.
To free up the emotional energies invested into keeping Hope alive, when in Truth it had long ago extinguished. Only by freeing him in this way, could he see the way forward, whether in how to handle his ex-partner, in future Love or in Life as whole.
Fast forward to today.
As we described and share in the images of his efforts to re-connect with his ex, I got him to sense into his body, to where his feelings lay. To the physical sense of Hope he held onto deeply, fearfully and tightly.
Now I got him to imagine completely ending the relationship. Vividly painting image and image of no longer having any contact with is ex, of moving on, of seeing his ex with someone else, of being lonely and beset by fears that he would never find someone else ever again.
Any image that symbolized the ending of Hope.
Fear came and we sat through it. It was a fear of being alone. I reminded him that we were going through this TOGETHER even as he feared being alone.
Sadness came, and with the first release of tears, grief that what was good in the relationship was truly past. We sat with it, wordless, a long time. He shook and sobbed. He grieved for himself, seeing how he had put in so much effort but to no avail.
Then we celebrated the tenacity and beauty of his Hope. For wanting to give it another shot. It grew into rage – towards his ex-partner for not giving him a chance, towards himself for possibly screwing things up between them. We allowed it, gave it the full attention it needed.
Then there was just pain, nameless and seemingly infinite. It took my breath away, but we sat through that as well. It was like being caught in a rip but we hung on.
And then…Calmness. There were no more thoughts and feelings. Just…Space.
I found I could breath again.
And so could he. He looked at me, with fresh tears. Tears of release and relief, that he had come through an excruciating amputation and survived.
He sat taller and straighter, shoulders back.
“I think….I’m ok now.”
“How do you mean?”
“I mean…” A surprised note in his tone. “I’ll be ok.”
We often read things online, and in the self-help section of bookstores about Letting Go of something. However, it’s harder than we think. We can’t just let go like opening our hands. Sometimes we can, but often we can’t.
The experience of these sessions let me understand that Hope is one thing that stops us from truly Letting Go. Hope helps because it sometimes gets us to persist, and we see results. Just think of your breakthrough stories of entrepreneurs hanging on through tough times and then striking the payload.
And yet, sometimes, Hope can hinder when what we Hope for is impossible.
The only way then is to let this Hope die.
Then we can truly become liberated because we have freed up the grounds to grow Fresh Hope.