I was in yoga this morning. Often we are encouraged to have an internal mantra with in our in and out breaths to help us turn off the Monkey Brain (internal chatter) and have a more Mindful practice. My yoga practice is primarily to help my mind, so I try to do this. I have often internalized the mantra “No thing” from the word nothing, which I’m trying to practice, I’m trying to turn off my outside thoughts to focus on nothing. The break up of that mantra into “No thing ” because I’m trying to think of no-thing led me to my mantra this morning. This morning I was thinking about goodbye, then “good” bye, what is a “good” bye? I have a close friend about to take her 5th attempt into moving away. The last 4 have led to her falling apart emotionally and taking months to repair. I have been there to help her heal each of those times, but when she’s just started feeling better, this seems like the wrong time for the 5th attempt. I always tell patients not to make any drastic changes when they’re coming off a major stressor. This friend is creating her own stressor, because she’s had this fantasy of living away and having a grand adventure, whether this actually suits her temperament or not.
Someone else close to me also returned from a grand adventure recently. She took months off work and went traveling with a friend. She came back early, and without her friend. Being away from all the structures that prop up our worlds can be difficult. Eventually she just craved quiet and privacy, and her friend took this personally. She returned to her world, and returned to work with a different perspective. I don’t think the trip created the internal peace she had wanted it to bring her, but she did have an interesting time. I’m sure she will travel again, but I doubt she will fantasize of taking as long a trip as she did again. What we fantasize doesn’t always turn out to be what we expect.
So I was thinking about goodbye. Either way, I have to tell my friend goodbye. I love her but I can’t watch her destroy herself again and again, kind of like when you love someone who has drug problems and they keep making the same mistakes. I have to walk away. I can’t keep being the one to prop her up and worry about her. The pain of watching her destroy things around her, destroy herself is no longer something I feel able to watch. So either way I have to say goodbye. I will hope she is successful this next time. If she is, our relationship won’t be the same anyway. She will be away and i will rarely feel that hug that I need from a close friend. I have to say goodbye either way to the relationship we’ve had.
But can I turn this into a “good” bye? I think that’s our ultimate goal with this life. All of life is about embracing and letting go. None of us likes to say goodbye, goodbyes are painful, but there is no life worth living without goodbyes. If we don’t risk loving, then we will never feel the pain of goodbye, but that would be a hollow way to exist. We hate letting go, but we still have to do it, so is there a way can we do it with more grace?
What would a “good” bye include? I can make it a “good” bye for me by holding onto and cherishing all the wonderful memories we’ve had during the years. I can make it a “good” bye by opening myself to the possibility of something new, either a new BFF coming along, or an older relationship that might be nourished because I have more time and energy to spend on it, or maybe even to a new different relationship with my old friend. I can choose to make it a “good” bye by choosing to think positively and wish her well. I can choose to make it a “good” bye by trying to make sure I don’t add more obstacles to her chosen path. I will try.