Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Being done....

For most of my life I had long hair.  As a small child I hated the hairdressers and eventually my mother gave in to my insistent pleas to grow my locks even though it meant uncomfortable mornings before school untangling and braiding my thick, wavy mane.  As I grew older I loved my long hair and, with only a couple of experiments with shorter styles, I kept it that way for over half a century.

Then one day, about five years ago, I woke up and knew with absolute certainty that my long hair days were over.  I was done.

I got up, dressed, got in my car and stopped off at the first “no appointment” hairdressers I could find.  I sat in the chair of the first hairdresser who could accommodate me and said “Cut it all off……short.”

She looked at me quizzically and asked “Are you sure?”

“Absolutely,” I said.

Twenty minutes later I left the salon with a haircut almost as short as the day I was born.  I drove home and put on a hat before I entered the house.  I stood before my husband and pulled off the hat with a great “ta da!”

He stared, gulped a little and then said the best thing he could have….”Wow, you look so much younger!”

My decision to cut my hair was an easy one.  In fact, it wasn’t a decision at all.  It was just something I knew I had to do with a certainty that stopped all hesitation or objection in its tracks.  The day before I had no thought of cutting my hair.  It wasn’t something I’d been thinking about or debating.  It wasn’t something I had consulted others over or agonized about.  When I went to bed that night I had no idea I was going to wake up knowing my days of long tresses were over.  It wasn’t a decision so much as an instruction.  “You are done with long hair,” it said, “Go get it cut.”

This incident isn’t the first time I have just known that I was done nor do I think it will be the last.  You have probably had this experience too.  Often we get to that point with difficult relationships or with difficult work situations or with uncomfortable shoes.  One day we just know we are done and we walk away.

But where do these messages of “doneness” come from?  And why do they happen with some situations and not with others?  Why do we hang on to some issues way past their sell by date and never seem to get to a place of being done?

I believe that this voice that says “You are done” comes from the place deep inside all of us that knows us intimately and speaks the truth.  It does this all the time but mostly we are too busy to hear or to listen.  Once in a while however, somehow a quiet gap opens up in our minds, perhaps in sleep or in a restful state, and that soft, small voice suddenly sounds loud and clear.  It’s messages are always simple…..DO this, DON’T do that, you are DONE …..so that we cannot not understand or mistake them.

We know we are done when the message comes almost out of the blue, when the issue has not been on our minds night and day, when we haven’t been wrangling the issue to death, when we haven’t been agonizing with others over it, when we don’t care a jot what others might think about it, when we are excited over the prospect of what we will do now we are done, when it just feels right.

If we doubt the decision, we are not done.  If we try to second guess the outcome, we are not done.  If we are anxious about what will replace it, we are not done.  If we fear what others might think about it, we are not done.  If we feel lost without it, we are not done.  If we have grief or feel bereft, we are not done.  If we feel as if we have lost the battle, we are not done.

Doneness is about absolute certainty.  It spells relief.  It engenders inner peace.

My doneness with my long hair may seem a trivial matter compared to the quitting of a job or the ending of a relationship but the confident voice inside doesn’t grade our issues.  Being done with a hairstyle is no different to it than ending a major phase of our lives.  It is all about assisting us to move on with peace and assurance leaving behind anything that doesn’t serve us anymore and opening us up to new possibilities.

That random hairdresser who cut off my long hair that day continued to cut my hair for the next five years.  She was a treasure, a total gift from the Universe, a wonderful byproduct of my listening to that voice that told me I was done.

So pay attention to that voice when it speaks loud and clear and know when you are done.  Who knows…..at the very least you could end up with a cute new haircut!


  1. Gillian, I've had 3 of those types of experiences - the out of the blue, profound, has to be now things. One also involved my hair (but I was in my 20s), one involved eating chicken after 10+ years as a vegetarian, and one involved my belief in reincarnation. Now I need to see a picture of your hair long because I'm having trouble imagining it!

  2. Betsy.....I'm glad you relate. I will have to dig out a photo of the long haired me and scan it in. Watch this space......!!