This afternoon I wanted to take a little time-out, so I headed over to NetFlix to see what I could watch instantly. I was thrilled to see that Toy Story 3 was available. I’m not sure how I missed it when it was in theaters last summer, but I’m definitely glad I got to see it today.
I’m also a big enough girl to admit that I cried non-stop through the final 15 minutes.
For those of you who haven’t seen the movie yet, I won’t spoil it. But I will say this – it is a beautiful demonstration of what it means to let go with love.
Soon after the movie ended, I was on the phone with Rev. Nancy who reminded me of an essential truth – we can’t leave until we can stay. I know that sentence may not make sense at first glance, but it really is one of the most profound things I’ve ever learned.
The concept is that when we want to end something – whether it’s a job, a relationship, an experience, or even getting rid of a toy – if we’re doing it with any level of upset, we’ll carry that upset with us long after the thing has ended. If we stay and work through the discomfort and upset to the moment where we experience true peace even in the midst of the situation, then we are finally in a place where we can leave and be healthy…because we’re not carrying any old baggage. We’ve deposited the baggage in the appropriate receptacles and can move on unencumbered.
As a for instance – I’ve talked a bit about the relationship I ended last summer. There had been several times earlier on that I wanted to walk away. Thankfully I have a strong support system that reminded me of this truth – I couldn’t leave until I could stay. If I left at those earlier times, I would have been leaving in anger, or upset, or dissatisfaction. Had I left in those moments, I would have carried that anger and dissatisfaction with me. I might have built a belief around them that said “Men are dark twisty creatures and can’t be trusted to really care what I want.” I would have then tried to build a new relationship on that foundation of anger, dissatisfaction, and distrust. Instead, each time I chose to stay and work my way through. In each case it wasn’t something that he was doing to me, it was my own stuff that was getting triggered. In choosing to stay, I gave myself the chance to work through the discomfort and come to a deeper level of healing within myself. When the final moment came, it came with a deep sadness and mourning…but there was no anger. I had a lot of grieving to do, but I was at peace. Had I left earlier, I would not have been at peace.
I couldn’t healthfully leave until I had learned to stay and be at peace. Even though I was sad, I was able to end the relationship with tremendous love in my heart. It’s love that I still hold for him and always will.
I am so grateful to Pixar and the makers of Toy Story 3 for the beautiful way they told this story. The distinction that they drew between casting something aside versus letting go with love was stunning and it healed something in my heart that I didn’t know was broken.