Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hanging Up the Phone

This week I got a call from a friend I haven't heard from in a long time. There wasn't anything extraordinary about the actual call. What was new was how I felt after it was over. I didn't replay the call. I didn't lament what was said or not said. I didn't question that I spoke what was true for me. I didn't feel confused about where my borders were when I was done. What changed? When I hung up the phone, I also remembered to disconnect the line of energy between us.

Artwork by Kathleen Keagy
Saying goodbye has never been easy for me, even when it would be better for me to say goodbye. I carry people and conversations around with me long after our communication is over. The exchanges take on a life, an energy, of their own leaving me tethered to a moment that has passed, and the people in it. I walk around feeling responsible for the outcome of relationships. This is normal, right? We're supposed to be tapped into the people we care about.

I don't see connection as the problem. It's the connection being in the “always on” position that is the rub. It's exhausting—like I've left my lights on and allowed my battery to be drained until it doesn't have anything left to keep me running. And these "always on" connections create clutter that makes it difficult for someone new to enter my life, even if it's someone I want to get to know.

When I hung up the phone with my friend the other day, I didn't just hang up the call. I switched off the energy current that was connecting us. Since then I've started putting energy switches in other areas of my life including my work, so that I can turn down the energy I'm sending when it's not really needed. It has taken a bit of faith for me to trust that the connection will be there without me investing in it all the time, but when I've tested it over the last few days I've been able to reconnect pretty easily. What I've noticed is that when I don't have all those low-level currents continuously running, I have more current—more energy—for me. I am more vital, healthy, creative, grounded in my body and available to receive whatever is right here in the moment. And that feels really good.


  1. Love it Kathleen!
    love your artwork as well...

    This blog reminds me of an old and many times told Buddhist tale involving two monks...I will paraphrase--

    It seems two monks, one older and one who just entered the monastery, set out on a journey to the next village. The monks walked side by side, taking in the sights and sounds as they went. After some time, they came upon a river that they would have to cross to continue their journey and noticed a woman looking out over the river, crying. The older monk asked her the reason for her tears. She lamented that she was unable to cross the river and desperately needed to get to the other side to attend to some pressing family issue. The older monk agreed to carry her on his shoulders and take her across. Once they arrived safely on the other side, the woman thanked him and went on her way. The monks continued for a bit until the younger monk could not hold his tongue any longer, "Brother, it is against our vows to speak to women, let alone to touch them and yet you did both". The older monk did not reply. They continued on. Again the younger monk protested that he was deeply troubled by the event and again he was met with silence. A third time, some hours passed, the younger monk-now almost outraged-began to recount the inappropriate actions of the older monk. The older monk turned to him and said "My brother, I put that woman down hours ago, why do you still carry her?"

  2. Thanks, Lucy! The Buddhist tale you recount reminds me that the tension between holding on and letting go is not a recent human development. I'll be thinking of those two monks as I continue on my own journey. Thank you for sharing the story.