Today I will savor in my heart ... When I let go, I am simultaneously holding onto myself, and giving permission for life to flow.
The first half of our life is a journey spent acquiring, and holding on. We long for security, safety, assurances he or she will be faithful, our life will be steady, our purpose fulfilled. In my twenties, when I first intentionally engaged a focused spiritual practice, I learned terms such as detachment, egoless, and selfless. I thought—mistakenly—I had to let go of my desires, and die to self. For many women, and someone like me, this appeared to be a natural antidote to tame my wild courageous soul. I needed to become submissive to God, and believed I must be obedient to letter of the law. In part, this was a response to being rebellious during my teen years. I wish someone had carefully shared with me that my passionate response to life is my wholeness—when directed toward goodness.
A decade or more later, I was receiving cranial-sacral treatments for chronic neck pain. I worked diligently to release tension, negative thoughts, sadness over broken dreams, unhealthy patterns, pockets of ache and energy locked in my body. One day the healer mentioned that the word release implies energetically that a “re” lease will take place at a future time. She offered that the better idea would be to use two words: let go. In that aha-moment, I realized how often we use the word release when we really intend to let go. Pause for a minute to reflect. Which word comes to mind in your vocabulary? Do you recognize the subtle difference?
Today I talked with a friend. She and I are both experiencing a bit of chaos inside our usually calm, organized, productive, playful, joyful selves. I have been battling with my inner discomfort, thinking it silly. I have not been very kind to myself, and am judging myself a bit harshly. It is spring breakup in Alaska, and my friend and I realize we are restless. We agreed it is good and healthy to feel this type of discomfort.
A deep paradox exists: in order to let go, we must have a vision and maturing, grounded Self to hold onto that is more true, and more present than that which we let go of. In our lifetime, as we age, letting go is a wave we ride. We let go of relationships, patterns of behavior, thoughts and actions, dreams, our children, loved ones, health, and sometimes cherished ideals which have become false idols. Some are of our own choice in the fullness of time, many are circumstantial and done to us. I know I desire insight healing, wholeness, and alignment with my own best self. Therefore, when I can let go, I give permission for motion and movement. This is a gift.
I wish I could explain in carefully crafted words how difficultly painful, excruciating even, it can be to let go. I wish I could explain how letting go is a moving through. A death and new life. It must be experienced.
I can offer a meaningful poem I return to time and again. The poet Rumi gives me permission to be me, no matter what I’m experiencing, and reminds me I am not entirely alone in my wrestling. Whether the one who meets me is the Divine lover in my inner heart, or a friend, a four-legged, or the exquisite suchness of nature, I find myself, my best self, in a field such as this. It is here I connect with the desire to savor life, the courage to let go, and move through. Perhaps you will too.
“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense any more.” – Jelaluddin Rumi