Learning to Let Go and Hold On
Life’s disappointments, sudden change, loss and grief seem to come in waves. They strike upon a calm beach and a peaceful mind out of nowhere, washing away all that once felt secure.
I’ve been basking in the sun for some time, feeling quite content. I didn’t expect it to last forever, but I was enjoying the stability until a significant change in my work life, the death of a longtime colleague and the end of a cherished relationship struck within weeks of one another. I felt dislodged like one of those helpless shells tossed about in the surf, disoriented and out of my own control.
It’s difficult to right myself again, but turning inward and looking for ways to reason through whatever has happened, coming to terms with the new reality always helps. Recognizing I have little choice in the matter allows me to focus on easing the discomfort and finding ways to cope, accept and adapt.
Writing is my way of laying out the situation so I can identify my reactions, find my strength and identify my options. This time, as I wrote, free streaming whatever presented itself, a provocative message surfaced, hinting perhaps that I have entered a new era of accepting life’s twists and turns, including the suspicion that as I age they will come more often and will probably jostle me a little more violently if I try to resist.
The reverberating theme of letting go, a familiar mantra of sorts, circled around several times. But I struggle with that analogy, feeling uncomfortable with the absence of security, as though I’ve come loose from my anchor and been set adrift.
But when my mind conjured up holding on as the juxtaposition of letting go, I felt a sense of balance in the opposing options. I probed deeper and wrote as the words of internal wisdom and guidance presented themselves in a sort of to do list for peace.
Let go of:
· the need for control. It’s a fallacy in most cases anyway and only leads to frustration.
· glorifying the future. It will likely be very much like the present. Uprooting your life to relocate to an exotic island off the coast of Sicily and writing the next bestseller is a lovely dream that probably won’t come to fruition. Be open to pleasant surprises, but be comfortable in your own life as it is each moment.
· your fierce sense of self-reliance and independence. Life might get even messier as time goes on and you may need help.
Hold on to:
· treasured friendships, true love and the joy of engaging new and interesting people. Stay close, keep in touch, speak honestly and open your heart to all the love it can hold.
· a sense of wonder. Let nature show you how it deals with change and learn the lessons.
· your physical abilities. Workout regularly, keep moving and stay agile to the best your body’s capacity. Don’t get lazy just because it gets hard, but be kind to yourself as you move through the stages of growing old.
· compassion. Forgive people, accept their frailty and faults. When someone lets you down, try to remember all the times they came through for you, and accept they may be doing their very best this time.
· faith. It is possible that everything will turn out just as it is meant to, that tomorrow will be better and that you can find serenity in an uncertain stage of life. Keep trying.
· the peace within. Take care of yourself, do what you can to calm the waters of your own mind, and stay grounded in your own perspective.
This may seem self-evident to some, to those farther along the path, well versed in how life unfolds over time and who have become more skilled in navigating the journey. But for me, it is a trove of sensibilities that will remain with me a long, long time. Hopefully, serving me well when the seas once again get rough.