Unleash, Let Go
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 the 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 and justice.
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?
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. When we can let go, we give permission for motion, pivot, and movement. This is a gift.
I wish I could explain how painful and simultaneously liberating it can be to let go. I wish I could explain how letting go is a moving through—a death and new life. I can offer a meaningful poem I return to time and again. The Persian poet Jalaluddin Rumi offers permission to be met and accompanied:
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.
Whether the one who greets us is the Divine lover in our inner heart, a soul-friend, a four-legged, or the exquisite suchness of nature, we find our best self in a field such as this. It is in these times and places that we connect with our emerging future, a desire to savor life, the courage to let go, and move through.
– Pegge Erkeneff
Reprinted from Listen: A Seeker’s Resource for Spiritual Direction, July 2013, Vol. 7, Issue 3, page 1 (Spiritual Directors International © 2013). Reprinted with permission of Spiritual Directors International. To order copies or a subscription of Listen, call 1-425-455-1565 or go to www.sdiworld.org.