A little over a year ago, I was contemplating a visit with my father in Key West. The Holiday season was nearing and I knew my father’s health was beginning to fail. His friends had called me worried about him, saying that he was not “himself” lately. I knew I needed to see him soon and became consumed with fear. I panicked and wondered what would happen if my ultimate dream of living in Key West near my father never came to fruition. Key West was a second home to me and living there with my best friend (my dad) was something I had dreamed about since the first day I set foot in the Conch Republic.
To cope with my fear, I sought coaching from a peer who used the art of the metaphor to help me to solve my problem. In using a metaphor, the client chooses an object that is representative of their thought, feeling or situation and tries solves their problem in a metaphorical way. Example: The pressure I’m under feels like my head is in a vice. The problem is the pressure, using the likeness off one’s head in a vice. In a metaphorical world, there are no rules to solve a problem. You can fly, you can become an animal, you can even travel around the world in 30 seconds…no problem.
In my mind’s eye, I pictured myself on the ocean shore by Higgs Beach in Key West, holding a pink balloon. The pink balloon was representative of my dying dream of living in paradise with my father nearby.
“So, what would you do with this pink balloon in a metaphorical world?” asked my coach.
I thought carefully and suggested perhaps I carry the balloon around with me for the rest of my life, but quickly realized it wasn’t practical; it would just get in the way when I needed to use my hands or arms. Then, I considered the thought of allowing the balloon to carry me away…I could just drift off with the balloon and safely float down to earth when I was ready to deal with reality. Again, this sounded great, but even in a metaphorical world, it didn’t seem to practical enough to resonate with me.
Then, I said without reservation, “What if I just let it go?”
“What if you do let the balloon go?” said my coach? “Then what?”
Great question. What if I just let it go?
A few thoughts came to mind:
- I watch it float away.
- I admire it from afar. I know it’s my pink balloon and appreciate it for what it is, even if it’s not in my hand.
- If it floats away, I have no idea where it goes. In fact, I may never see it again.
- Worst case scenario, the balloon loses air or it pops. It doesn’t even resemble a pink balloon anymore.
Then, the lightbulb came on:
Even if the balloon loses air, even if the balloon pops, even if it falls into the ocean and becomes mangled beyond identification, guess what? I’m on the ocean shore…the current will bring the balloon back to me!
“…and how might that apply to your real-life situation, Julie?”
When I let go of my expectations about how things should be, the very thing I love comes back to me, in its own time. It may look a little different, it may not be exactly when I expect, but IT WILL BE.
I moved forward confidently that season, visited my father that December in Key West and we LIVED. We spent time together, we talked for hours on end, we laughed, we cried. I was his daughter and he was my Dad. Only five short months later, he would experience his health crisis and I would carry the responsibility of relocating him to Ohio.
Throughout that crises over and over, I let go of all expectations about what would and should happen, remembering the pink balloon metaphor along the way.
Then, last night as I was sitting with my dad in his apartment, there was a brilliant moment of clarity: The current had brought my balloon back to me. The time was not as expected, the place…definitely not what was expected. But the paradise I experience every day when I see my father smile, laugh and enjoy his peaceful existence is the closest “Key West” I could ever ask for.
Friends, I invite you to release your pink balloons. Let them go. Admire them from afar. Your balloons may lose air. Your balloons may pop and fall into the ocean. The outward appearance of your balloons may drastically change. But trust me when I say that if you move with the current of life, the current of life will bring your beautiful pink balloons right back where they belong.
Julie Cline is a Life Coach, Reiki Practitioner, and Speaker whose goal is to encourage, guide, support, and help heal individuals who want to move forward but have difficulty taking the necessary steps. If you need help to find clarity, confidence and space to reclaim your life, contact Julie today and apply for a complimentary Heart to Heart session.