Letting Go

It’s really hard for me to let go of things.

It may be my watery nature, but I have a tendency to absorb and retain everything, from useless information to emotional impressions, to random thoughts to people to rocks to unique phrases to books.

I’m not an obsessive person, but I’m pretty close.

And I’m very sensitive. I’m a natural empath, and I’ve had issues and struggles with that over the years. I feel the emotions of other people as if they were my own, and that has a number of problems associated with it. It’s hard to tell what I’m feeling and what I’m getting from someone else. It’s hard to tell who I’m getting what from. And it’s really hard to recognize that I am not the root cause of (or often even associated with) the emotions I am feeling from other people.

So if someone’s mad, I think they’re mad at me. If someone’s hurt, I think I hurt them. If someone is attracted to someone else, I’m not sure if they’re into me or not.

And I dwell on things like that, because it takes a lot of processing to sort that all out. And I play out different scenarios in my head to try and separate the threads. And because the data are so jumbled, I can easily come to the wrong conclusion.

Whoever said to trust your intuition obviously wasn’t dealing with this crap.

So I did what a lot of people with this particular affliction do: I set up really heavy shields. I blocked everything out.

Which kind of hinders your ability to connect with people. Because it’s supposed to.

Strong connections got through the shield just fine. Sometimes that was a problem. Because too strong a connection could bring the whole system down.

See, the way I operate is by forging an anchor point. My problem is that when left to my own devices, I tend to form connections to everyone and everything. Which means I lose myself in other people. I need a strong anchor point so I have a place to look at and say “There! That is me! That is where I start!”

When I was young I would form strong anchors with girls that were sensitive. Empaths were fantastic, but most often it was some manner of psyvamp. This led to a series of manipulative relationships and a lot of emotional damage.

So I built up a strong ego and anchored to that. And it worked very well, since the anchor was inside the shield.

But I’ve come to some realizations.

Functioning in that way is not conducive to certain types of magic. Magic that I used to do but don’t any more. That I feel compelled to do again.

Shielding in that way actually leaves me more open to emotional predators. Because they’re the ones that are able to break the shield and form a strong connection more easily.

That hiding in a shell was avoiding the problem, and not solving it. I was not learning how to define and find myself in the jumble, or how to manage those connections. And I need to do that.


This long preamble is all to illustrate one point.

I like to be in control.

Not of other people, mind you, although I have years of management training and experience and don’t mind the leadership role at all. But of myself, and who I form relationships with, and on what terms. Of what I express and what I feel.

But I’ve been doing some work with Bacchus. And I’ve been learning to let go.

A while back I experimented with changing my image. I had my hair dyed to remove all the grey. This was facilitated by a cosmetology student I am acquainted with. During the process, I mentioned that I was planning on attending a Nine Inch Nails concert soon, and that I would allow her to do my hair. Any way she wanted.

The results and some thoughts on the process can be found here.

The bottom line is that she made me feel comfortable enough to let the shields down. And I trusted her, and I surrendered to her creativity. And it was a powerful experience.

And I haven’t been able to restore those shields since.

And this is what I’ve been dealing with for about he last month.

Because without a strong anchor point, I don’t know who I am.

Because it’s really hard for me to remember who I am without a reference point. And if this is another person, then I’ll attach to that. And if it’s the shield I built up, I’ll attach to that.

But when I’m running without shields, floating free …

What the hell am I?

Free, maybe?

Nah, it’s can’t be that newagey-feely.

I define myself by how I interact with other people. The most I can do, I suppose, is find a way to help them feel better. Because making them feel better makes me feel better, because I feel what they feel. I think this is a reasonable starting point.

And if it doesn’t feel good, I have to just let it flow down the river. Because I do get to choose what I keep and what I don’t. And I can choose what connections I cut and which I maintain. In choosing those relationships, that is how I can know who I am.

I firmly believe that we are defined by our relationships with others. And I’m taking that to heart.

The problem is that I’m having trouble sorting through those connections, recognizing what they are, and selecting the ones they want.

And I think I’m on to something with this. Because the problem is I’m trying to hold on to them too much. I can’t let go. I can’t let the impressions flow past, and I need to learn how to do that.

My tendency is to want to select certain connections and relationships because they help construct an image of who I think I should be. But I’m realizing more and more that this is not who or what I am. That I need to allow the relationships that draw me to people and things that are more in line with who I am, with what makes me happy and content. This is important, because I’ve done a lot of things out of social obligations and for the sake of image.

I need to let all of that go.


I’ve been afraid to lose myself in my empathic connections. I don’t want to be caught up in other people, you see. I want to be my own person.

And the more I tried to control this, the harder it became to do so. The more problems I had, and the harder it was to handle the impressions I was getting. Because I was trying to hold on to something I thought I wanted, instead of recognizing that my nature was to do the opposite. That as a teacher, as a healer, as a wizard, I have to embrace the flow and take things as they come. That I have to allow the feelings I get to pass through me and then move on. That my magic works by doing so: by bringing something into me and directing it on the way out. And that holding on to things was clogging the whole process.

The whole concept of “surrender” is usually seen as submission of some form. But in my case it isn’t submission. It is allowing things to be as they are. It is allowing my true nature to come forth. It is surrendering to my own impulses, my own feelings, my own drives, and understanding that doing so allows me to process, direct, and help the energies I am inundated with. And that this process itself, as well as the relationships it fosters, is how I can define myself.

So I allow myself to feel the depression from my mother’s cancer, and my father’s anxiety over it, because this enables me to comfort them. So I allow myself to feel the crushing weight and stress of the woman at work pushing through school, as well as the aspirations (and disappointment) of the men vying for her affections, because it enables me to encourage them to focus on what they really need. So I allow myself to feel the exhilaration and confusion of my friend as she integrates with a new goddess, because it allows me to calm her nervousness and derive inspiration from her work.

And that is the kind of person I wish to be. And in not doing so, I have been delaying my own growth as both a wizard and a person, and denying who I am.

And so I surrender. I surrender to myself, and to the flames of the Phoenix, that as I endure the pain and stress of casting off my old inhibitions and coping with this flood of sensation and emotion, I will be reborn as a better person.



5 responses to “Letting Go

  1. Pingback: Letting Go | Practical Pagans

  2. Wow, I can relate to this completely. I’ve loved all of your writings, but never have you written anything that cut so deep into me. Thank you for being so honest and open, and finding a way to put these experiences into words. I could see myself in this, and for so long I’ve struggled to figure myself out. Bless you 🙂

    • That was a difficult post to write, and didn’t at all go where I was trying or expecting to take it. But the getting it out felt good.

      I process things by writing about them. Most times I come to realizations or terms with something in mid-post. That’s why they change directions sometimes. But I don’t change them, because I want the process to show.

      I am very glad that this spoke to you.

  3. Wow. Even though this is so deeply personal for you, you helped me realize that part of my magick is “bringing something into me and directing it on the way out.” That is the best summary of it I have ever seen. And allowing things to be as they are – that takes balls, and many people don’t know it. We are taught that manipulating things as they are is the “best” way – to “do something about it” – but leaving things takes a strength that you can’t know until you do it. Right on.

    • And that it helped you is part of why I write this stuff. (I say “part” because the writing of it helps me.)

      Writing is becoming more like spellcasting for me. I just have to trust that this will reach whoever needs to read it and be of help.

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