Often I think of the need to let go or the act of letting go. This afternoon I pondered that I have indeed let go – past tense.
I let go of some guilt (because I haven’t let go of it all, of course). I let go of some expectations (ditto not letting go of all). I let go of nearly all of my ideas of perfection (I’m trying, folks!).
When I let go, I find that I gain something else: a lot more breathing room. Each exhale, in fact, is a letting go of that which we don’t need; we need to exhale. All day and night, we are taking in thoughts, emotions, worries, anxieties, joys, etc. We take in so much. If you’re anything like me, eventually you have to step aside or sit down or go away for a while to let go, clear the mind, and breathe some fresh, clear air — in and out. It’s lovely to take in a deep breath, to let out a deep sigh. If I were better at letting go, each breath would be a new moment, not holding on to anything but keenly and mindfully observing that which is before me in that moment. (And maybe I wouldn’t sigh quite so deeply as often.)
To clear one’s mind doesn’t mean we rid ourselves of the lessons learned from our experiences, the wisdom of our lives, or the emotions we feel and have. We are very much of this life of ours, but we do not have to be so attached, clinging to it as if it were all that this life is about or as if someone could take it from us. Such dependency seems to me as if it boils down to fear. Being fully mindful and present, I believe we can open ourselves completely to the possibility of being in full connection with others. In a way, that means we become vulnerable, possibly losing ourselves into the whole. Is that a bad thing?
We have to let go. Let the children play on the big kids’ playground. Let our daughters go to the movies alone. Let the children out of our eyesight, even for an entire weekend. God grant me strength to let my children drive, fly, go to college, fall in love, be heartbroken, and discover themselves.
Mostly, though, I hope that I can let go enough to do my best, to love as deeply as I can, and to keep on breathing in all that is the blessed life of mine.