Is There an Art to Letting Go?

I walked through a hospital today listening to Kid Cudi on repeat on my headphones.  I saw people looking down at the ground.  I saw people walking quickly.  I saw a teenage girl yelling and crying into a phone while running with five others following behind.  I saw an elderly woman with a walker smile at me.

It wasn’t until I looked in a bathroom mirror that I saw the black mascara streaks smudged deeply into my face.  No one seemed to notice.

I thought she was doing better.  I wasn’t even going to come straight to the hospital when I got the call, but they said she was ready to go.  She has been battling breast cancer for years now that spread into her bones.  She has two young girls in high school.  She is so young.  This is bullsh*&, and I am angry.

And she is letting go.

Unrelated, I recently have been scarfing up every single article on letting go, whatever that means. I mean, seriously, what does it mean? Can someone tell me?  It seems to be that no matter what I come across, I just don’t seem to get it.  And I am trying really hard.

Everyone has a quote, or 10 ways to do it, or some personal I-now-see-the-light-that-was-in-myself-the-whole-time story.  I am not so convinced that letting go is something attainable in 10 steps or through bubble baths reading Pema Chodron.  Instead I see inspiration in trapeze artistry-part courage, part good timing, and part it just works out.  Or it doesn’t, and you fall.  And my guess is those guys fall a lot more than they catch.

Maybe letting go is simply realizing that your brain shuts down for a nanosecond, and when you look down, you see that whatever was in your hands in just not there anymore.  Or maybe it’s that slit beginning of slowly starting to focus after an episode of holding on with all your might, eyes closed, teeth clenched, silently repeating just let go just let go just let go.

Or just maybe it’s like repelling, making so little rational sense to slowly back down off the side of a rock backwards with nothing but a rope that I think is tied tightly. Key words here are I think. This experience has been so excruciating at times I actually cry.  I keep telling myself just let go just let go just let go  but each time I never seem to get closer to embracing it.  I’m not even sure I have ever fully been in awareness at the moment of true release.  I just know when I’m on the other side.

Yes there are steps. Yes there are books. Yes there are experiences.

But actually letting go?

It is that complete in-between space in between tightening a life grip and completely releasing.
Maybe there is no art to it.  Maybe there just is an is.  Maybe you’ll never completely know how you did it.  Maybe you’ll just know when it’s gone.

So here I am, for months, attempting to let go of holding all of the pieces of my heart smashed into shards by betrayal and unkindness and deceit.  And yet today I am walking through a hospital with my friend in one room of many.  She is so strong.  She is so knowing.  And she is just letting go.

Because I guess one day you just do.

Do you know how to let go?

image credit

2 thoughts on “Is There an Art to Letting Go?

  1. She Let Go
    She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
    She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
    She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
    She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.
    She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
    No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
    There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.
    In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s