I met a wise woman the other day. She was supposed to be a psychic. I went to her for my annual glimpse of the world ahead – not that I believe people can see the future, but I find the discussions often play on things that are rattling around in my head anyway and help me create the future I want for myself. The psychic says something and it touches a fiber in my brain and makes it resonate like a harp string, playing a note that commands my attention. It’s like cheap therapy, only they don’t usually send me away with homework.
This lass did. And it’s interesting homework. She suggested that every night when I went to bed, I envision the thousands of strings connecting me to the people around me – the ones who matter, the friends, the enemies, the ones I don’t really care about, the ones I fear. She said I should think of them as a clump of strings, and that I should take big psychic scissors and cut them all away every night.
“All of them?” I asked. “I might want to keep some of them!”
She told me the bundle would be so big I wouldn’t be able to tell which string belonged to which person, so I should cut them all. The ones I wanted, I could reattach the next morning, or the next time we were in contact.
There’s something appealing in that image. How many strings do we all have attached to us that we don’t take on with joy, that we really don’t want any more, that we feel duty-bound rather than inner-led to maintain? And the idea of trimming them all before sleep seems both enchanting, allowing us to float free of the earth in our dreams, and scary, letting us float untethered and alone. For a moment, thinking of this visualization, I felt a frisson of fear – what if I should die before I wake? With no strings attached to my family and friends, would I be lost?
The image resonated with me strongly because it’s one I’ve used myself, in describing how I keep track of my kids, my family. When they were younger, I almost felt the strings attaching me to their selves, I could feel vibrations along their psyches and knew when they would be worried or sad or whatever. I’d even keep track of the dog that way. Weird. Now that the kids are grown, I rarely get a vibration along their connection strings – they are too far away, too capable of handling things on their own. As they should be. But I intuitively “got” what this psychic woman was telling me.
So every night, I play that scene in my head. And every morning, I attach people again. I notice there are some strings I just leave curled up on the floor. And I see some new ones floating by that I now have time and room to attach. And feel lighter.