I remember this one time, when I was telling myself to really, truly let it go, with “it” being the dissolution of my beautiful life, I went into a rage and nearly took myself out. I didn’t want to let it go.
I had spent nearly a decade creating, building, sharing, and loving a life that I had painstakingly, conscientiously built. In many ways, the world as I see it, very simply, can be filled with such darkness and separation. But I had found love, nourished it from a seedling, and cherished its fruitfulness, despite the odds.
I was one of the lucky ones, even though in some circles it was a love that dare not speak it’s name. But I spoke its name out loud, and I would have done almost anything, except sell my soul to the devil, to keep that love flowing in my life.
To some, it may even have been an enviable life, though that was not my intent—to create envy in the world. But it was my life, it was in integrity, and I could not imagine letting it go. Not peaceably. Not calmly. Not with a happy, grateful smile.
But God, the Universe, whatever, had other intentions. I was just an unwilling supplicant in the school of hard knocks. Yet, here I sit, years later, and the same lesson seems to continue to embrace me, as if it has chosen me for its own, been drawn to me for mystical reasons, reasons I will never fully understand while here on Earth.
It is more subtle now, yet paradoxically I am more acutely aware of it. Is it my own personal Karma? Is this feeling simply my personal cross to bear? Or is it something deeper, an archetypal pattern of the human psyche that each of us must face?
As I stand witness to life, certainly as a man, but more so as a teacher, It seems that really, truly, letting go is what being human is all about. It is actually so obvious as to be almost embarrassing to miss. Each breath is a letting go. Each sunset, and even each sunrise, is a letting go.
The birth of anything surely involves the death of something. It seems it is the very nature of our reality. Quantum energy constantly shifting. Holding on to my sweet, supportive life partner would have been the equivalent to holding on to a cloud as it softly floated across a landscape of greens and blues.
And not only that, if I could freeze time, why would I? The poet Rumi chides us when he tells us to give up, if we don't understand by this time that our living is firewood. Okay then. I’m not interested in giving up.
So, if I were to truly let go, where might I end up? I’d have to say, right here. Right here. I used to fear (and yes, a big part of me still does fear) the idea of letting go. It used to feel, when I would think of it, as if I were falling. Falling from the airy thinness of sky to the harsh, bitter condensed reality of life on Earth.
It felt like too much to handle, this letting go. Now, after years of soul searching, and with decades of softening by life itself, when I feel myself letting go, I sometimes get the feeling that I’m falling up.
As I write this, the feeling of letting go—in this moment—excites me. Freaks me. Causes me to truly wonder. And wonder is like spiritual gold. It is the child who watches in utter amazement as a caterpillar slinks with its silky soft fur across the deep green hues of a maple leaf’s surface, on its way to utter and miraculous transformation.
As Mary Oliver says, “Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.” If each of us were to really, truly let go, we might just realize we are on the ride of our lives, making our way across the surface of the Earth, on our way to utter and miraculous transformation.