Ties That Bind


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From the time we are brought into this world until the day we leave it, we are tied or connected to people, and then we have to loosen or undo that tie as we journey. For nine months a mother carries a child, then at birth the first tie is cut when the umbilical cord is severed. One can only imagine how traumatic that must feel for a baby to leave the coziness of the womb, turned upside down, slapped, suctioned, washed, handled, clothed, and fed within a few hours! That, of course, is the first beginning of life. Who would ever imagine all the other beginnings and endings this journey could hold.

A parent’s responsibility would be to protect and nurture this baby with safe feedings, bathing, sleeping, to tying them into their car seats, high chairs and change tables to protect them. Later on, the ties are the rules and boundaries we set for them from toddler stage to teenagers. Slowly, we have to start ‘letting go’ so they too can learn how to be responsible. That has to be the most difficult part of parenting! The child wants to pull away and become independent while we just want to hang on. Problems come with the hanging on too tight or letting go too early, but there was never a book written with all the answers to that, so we just do our best.

The way we were raised has a lot of impact on how we parent. We all have a past, we are all on a journey, and every journey has 3 parts. Where we were, where we are and where we are going. We cannot live in the past, it is gone, it cannot hurt us anymore unless we chose to hang on to it, and it will just become a burden to our growth. The journey will go on no matter what, the past will be part of us forever, and we head towards the unknown. What is important is living in the now, taking each moment at face value and choosing not to be squeezed by the ‘thens’, ‘whens’ and ‘what-ifs’!

Life is about beginnings and endings. The ending of a pregnancy is the beginning of human life; the first day of school is a new beginning for a child but an ending for a parent letting go of their baby at home; graduation is also a beginning for the child but ending for a parent, but on the other hand it is a new beginning for the parents experiencing the empty nest. Endings come unplanned in death where grieving teaches someone how to begin living without that loved ones physical presence. Therein is a new beginning and it may take a lot of practice to learn to let go, be aware of the endings so that you can see the new beginning.

“Letting go” of the Ties That Bind is the most challenging opportunity for growth that any of us will ever face but it is the most important thing we will ever do in order to live fully and freely. It is not about cutting the connections or undoing the Ties, it is about loosening or lengthening them. It is about accepting and loving others as they are, not as we would like them to be. It is about accepting that we cannot change or control anyone except ourselves, admitting powerlessness and that the outcome is out of our hands, and that we cannot fix another person’s pain or problems. Letting go is about releasing our belief that what others say, do or believe about us as a person defines our self-worth, and that we do not need others approval in order to feel valuable. Letting go is striving to be emotionally healthier every day, and that is the best gift we can give our loved ones!

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, and that is why we call it Present.


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