A Simple Path – To Leaving It on the Ocean Floor | The BridgeMaker

A Simple Path – To Leaving It on the Ocean Floor

By on May 06, 2012


“Forget regret or life is yours to miss.” ~ Jonathan Larson

Every now and then our baggage can surface when we least expect it.

Shame, resentment, bitterness, and guilt can pop up and surprise us. Our baggage seems to glisten even brighter when we try to look away. Before we know it, the things we have left in the past are standing before us – taunting us with their presence; stealing our happiness.

Wine, friends and a surprise attack

Mary Beth and I went to another couple’s house for wine, food and conversation last night. After a busy month promoting my book, I welcomed the chance to enjoy some Merlot while reconnecting with friends.

In the course of rewinding our lives, Mary Beth mentioned my brother died last October. I could feel the tension swell the more I talked about Eric’s death.

To help me deal with losing my brother, I’ve been seeing a grief counselor. The counselor is helping me reframe how I feel; she’s helping me leave my guilt on the ocean floor: Why did he lose his leg and I didn’t; why did he struggle financially and I didn’t; why did he die so early and I didn’t?

But I didn’t do well dealing with his death last night. Last night the guilt ascended from the ocean floor and swept me away. The surprise attack was complete.

A Sunday morning prayer

As soon as the sun peeked through the curtain, I woke. With Mary Beth still sleeping, I stepped quietly to the kitchen. I poured a cup of coffee and headed to the deck. Rain was advancing from the west while the sun was beaming in the east. Conflict was mounting as nature waited for resolution. I felt caught in the middle.

My thoughts returned to last night. A moment of simple enjoyment was interrupted by guilt’s stealth attack. Tired of what the guilt has been costing me, I closed my eyes and said a prayer.

I prayed for my brother’s soul. I prayed for peace to be with him, forever. And I prayed for my guilt to be left on the ocean floor – forever.

Sometimes the simple path to leaving our baggage on the ocean floor begins when we grow tired of the sneak attacks, the conflict it creates and the happiness it steals.

After praying, I sat a few moments longer enjoying the final sips of coffee as I watched the rain settle in from the west. The conflict was over.

A resolution had been reached.

What is A Simple Path?

This post is in A Simple Path, a series of short pieces inspired by my own life experiences. Each post is a simple path to experiencing something wonderful: maybe seeing life from a different perspective, or celebrating its beauty. Click here to read all posts in the series.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • This has thought me many things. Thanks Alex@!

  • Sorry to hear about the loss of your brother.  I lost my mother a year ago to Lou Gehrig’s and saying it was tough, doesn’t even begin to describe it, as I’m sure you know.

    So beautifully written.  The simplicity and peace that can happen in a prayer or intention of love is incredible.  Thank you for sharing this.

    •  It’s tough, isn’t it David – tougher than I ever thought. Thanks for your heartfelt support!

  • It is not easy to get over the loss of a loved one, Alex. I know that so well. Please accept my condolences. I’d like to hold your hand and give you strength. Please remember good things. Love, Vidya.

  • I have not had to deal with loosing someone close to me. The closest relative I’ve lost was my grandmother a couple of years ago, but even that had been expected for some time, so it was not as hard as it could have been.  I know, though, that it is just a matter of time before I do lose someone meaningful in my life, and I hope that I can remember your post as a model of how to handle things when it does happen.  I’m sure your post will help many who either are going through this situation or will soon.  Thanks for sharing!

  • Alex,
    I haven’t experienced the death of someone close (besides grandparents) but I’ve heard from my husband and others about these sneak attacks.  The emotion of grief wells up from somewhere you didn’t know exists.  But get rid of the guilt if you can!!

    This is a great, well written and truthful post that will help many people.

    • Betsy, yesterday went a long way to help me get rid of the guilt! I appreciate your sincere support!