A Re-booter’s Personalized Easter Experience

Easter is this Sunday, and although the plethora of marshmallow eggs and fuzzy bunnies might indicate otherwise, the actual meaning of this holy day is to focus on sacrifice for a greater good and the regeneration which springs forth from such actions. You don’t need to be a practicing Christian to benefit from such observations; sacrifice and renewal are equal opportunity concepts for all of us.

 

To take these concepts and demonstrate how they apply to each of us on a more human level, I’ll use myself as an example. As regular DR readers know, over the course of the past few years, I have experienced loss, upended my life by moving away from Santa Barbara, and continue on a frustrating quest to reestablish myself and my life three thousand miles away in Washington, DC. Taking these steps required me to sacrifice my feelings of pride and anger about the past in order to move forward. I could’ve chosen to remain in Santa Barbara, to nurse my sadness about what happened, to blame myself and others. And, although I am not 100% free of such struggles, whatever dismay I occasionally feel is minor compared to the opportunity for freedom and self-determination that accompanies my decision to change my life and begin anew. Freed from such toxic ties, I see my future potential as greater than my previous experience, even though I have to endure a certain amount of uncomfortable redefinition and change to get there. What I want you to see is that, all too often, people cling to their past as the most important thing about themselves–whether that’s their youthful athletic endeavors, their identity as parents or spouses, their job titles and salary levels, their scholarly or artistic achievements, that sort of thing—and refuse to believe they can be anything meaningful without such defining markers.

 

What about you? Is there some aspect of your life without which you believe your life would mean little? What would happen to you if you sacrificed that distinguishing part of yourself?

 

Throughout the course of history, we have seen examples of people who have lost everything that they valued, whether it was their livelihood, their physical vitality, their financial independence, their families, their belief in God, or any number of core beliefs and assets. For most of them, this loss was imposed, not voluntarily given. But it’s what they did next that makes for such divergent results. Those who remain mired in grief and tabulations of loss cannot move forward. Refusing to sacrifice memories of what was out of a misplaced belief that doing so would somehow “lessen” the significance of the past seems to make all the difference. “If I give up my anger or my sorrow,” they reason, “I am diminishing them or pretending the bad things that happened are ok.” Respectfully, I disagree. What this means is that they choose to hold on instead of letting go. No significant renewal or resurrection of the self can occur if we insist on remaining bound and gagged by old identities.

 

I contend that in order to renew ourselves and soar beyond our past, we must first commit to sacrificing whatever it is that stands in our way. For instance, a veteran who makes peace with his missing limbs and formerly mobile past, sacrifices that description of himself, but seeks out a new life where what he achieves isn’t premised on how many working appendages he has. Is it possible for him to have a happy, fulfilling life even though he can no longer catch a football or swing a club? What is the difference between him and a fellow vet who loses himself in grief and addiction? Where did their paths diverge? What distinct choices did each make? And how did those choices impact the outcome?

 

This line of thinking is directly applicable to each of you, my fellow re-booters. Each of us has elements of experience and identity that are important to us, but what if we let them go? If you had to identify the most significant aspect of your life–being married or divorced, fired for incompetence or heavily recruited as a breakthrough genius, addict or community leader, being fiercely independent or markedly vulnerable–what is that aspect of yourself that a part of you clings to? “It’s important to who I am,” you whisper to yourself. How might you be freed to fly even higher if no longer tied to this characteristic? What if it turns out this experience or quality isn’t, actually, so critical to who you are? Can you relinquish this? Are you brave enough to close your eyes and see what comes up?

 

Sacrifice requires courage, yes, but it does not necessitate loss. With sacrifice can come the promise of an even greater life. You just have to remind yourself of the bigger picture and be brave enough to try. That’s what Easter means to me.

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2 Responses to “A Re-booter’s Personalized Easter Experience”

  1. Jim Patterson Says:

    Very good. I looked for the info from Dr L and I found the tapes but not the outline. I am sure I have it but could not readily locate it. Sorry

  2. helenga Says:

    Great post! Yet another good reminder to re-evaluate what’s holding us back and keep pushing forward. Thanks for the inspiration!

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