Last week, while I was  walking  to the bay,  I spotted a little green shoot pushing through the dry soil.  Seeing a  tiny herald of spring, my heart felt lighter.  That little shoot was a harbinger of transformation:  The dry hard soil will eventually morph into a colorful landscape. Mother Nature is a miracle worker.

February was an emotionally difficult month for me:  A phone call from my past life brought shock, disbelief, sadness, and some regret.  These emotions pinged-ponged inside of me.  It was not until I faced and accepted these emotions  and did what I needed to do —reluctantly, did  I feel  consolation.  Like the tiny green shoot, I had to let go and push through the dry dark place into the light of transformation. 

Many of us have been consumed with negative feelings that dishonor our sense of purpose and keep us in the dark.  I mean, really, does one want to live in a cold, dingy basement?  Metaphorically many do.

Life changes are not predictable.  For me, this mantra has proven true:  Life can change in a New York minute, and we don’t see it coming. Yet when changes do appear, and many times not gently, we are called to deal with whatever crosses our path.  

We can metaphorically run and hide or play the “pretend this doesn’t hurt” game by burying  our feelings. However, when those suppressed emotions are not given voice, they can cause a myriad of physical and emotional disturbances.   

Research shows that withheld negative feelings can wreck the immune system. A lower immune system can give rise to a minor cold or a more serious diagnosis of cancer and heart disease. 

However, if one is willing to pass through the fire and do the hard inner work, healing and transformation is possible.  We all possess the power to transform ourselves by renewing our mind or changing direction. 

Spouse, partners, parents, therapists, and friends can be cheerleaders, yet transformation is an inside job—and a lonely one at that. And you gotta want it.  Talk is easy; doing the work is difficult. 

Sometimes transformation can occur  when we let go of a grievance. Ah, but we love to hang on to “what he did to me.”  We keep the grievance alive by compulsive thinking or retelling the story in our heads or out loud.  Trust me:  Hanging on to a grievance will contaminate other areas of your life.  

I am always in awe of folks who can forgive the murder of a loved one. Yet some of us find it hard to forgive much smaller infractions.  We have all experienced  minor or down and dirty rows.  We may regret what was said in the heat of the  moment.  One party may be willing to let bygones be bygones and offer an  olive branch; the other may reject the olive branch. 

Friendships and relationships are destroyed by those who hold on to the grudge.  Perhaps the unforgiving party feel that they will somehow punish the other person so they can feel righteous.  After all, fairness and justice must be served since the other person is wrong!  And sadly some folks will carry these grievances to the grave, unwilling to give up the victim moniker. 

There is a reason that jealousy is called the little green monster.  Jealousy is a common human emotion that can make the most grounded person do awful things. It is the rawest emotions, and if left unchecked can be devastating.   

Many folks glamorize jealousy by believing it is a sign of love. No it’s not! Jealousy is a negative emotion stemming from insecurity.  Most of us have at  one time or another felt that prick of the green monster.  In the light of truth these jealous feelings will dissipate.  But oft times jealousy creates problems that would not exist.

Making comparisons can seem harmless or even healthy. Here’s a news flash: It’s a game that cannot be won.  Someone will have more money, a bigger home,  and go to an Ivy League school. Comparisons are like running in place and going nowhere—and it’s exhausting because enough is never enough!

The common denominator in these aforementioned scenarios is the refusal to  let go — even if it is us making us sick.  At times, our emotions are puzzling and frightening.  Sometimes we have to look deep inside and face things, we’d rather not see.  But what a tragedy it is when one is  afraid of the light.  

Yup, Mother Nature is a miracle worker, and so are we.  Like the little green shoot, we can change our lives by letting go.  We can metaphorically push through the dark dry places of our lives and step into a place that is saturated with the  light of transformation. 

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Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.