A friend told me he uses the analogy of a trapeze artist swinging from bar to bar to help someone who wants change. There comes a point, he tells them, where you have to let go of the bar you are holding onto and have a moment in mid-air, so that you can catch the next bar – the one you want.
I love the metaphor. It puts that great moment of courage into perspective and is such a visual way of demonstrating that if you don’t let go, you’ll just land up swinging back and forth in the same spot indefinitely. Thanks Si Ekin, Courage Activist.
We often have to let go – let go control, let go of how we see ourselves, let go of the old ways, let go of loved ones, let go of jobs, let go of life as we know it… we tend to find it very difficult to do.
“Open your heart and let go,” I say to one person after another, “Open your heart and open your hands and let go. With love. It’s ok. It will BE ok. Open your heart to the love and stay with that.”
Letting go of a loved one, for example, isn’t easy – to have to say goodbye and let them go from your life. We get frightened, our heart feels broken, we hold onto our history – yet we have to let go. It helps if we can use our time to put things right between us and them. Clear away the interactions between you that rankled and hurt, all the little things of a lifetime that press into the spirit, restricting the free-flow of love. To love, accept and forgive – if that’s possible. Whether we try to fight what is happening, control it, avoid it, in the end, the only thing to do if you want to be free is to open your hands and let go.
A man I know is watching his brain-child business deteriorate. He has put his all into it: dedication, sweat, stress, love, intense excitement. He has done so much and he has achieved something remarkable. It will probably change how we see and do things in our country – but that’s in the future. At the moment, in its current circumstances, it is ‘failing’. He has panicked about this, angsted, berated himself, been angry at the system and experienced intense anxiety in trying to hold it all together. Recently it is dawning on him that his intense control of it may be part of why it is not succeeding. Trying to make it a certain way is limiting other ways of looking at it. Fresh new eyes may be just the thing that will take it to the next level – but for that he needs to step back and let go. Step back and allow it to maybe fall apart. No easy task.
A woman I know has also created an incredibly important project that may in time save thousands, if not millions, of lives around the world. She has sweated her soul into it and been intensely challenged by the conditions in which she has had to do it. Exerting all of her control, desperately trying to hold it all together to make it go the way she imagines it can. Finally, after feeling painfully unappreciated for many months she has realised that she has to let it go. Even if the people who take it over mess it up – and she strongly suspects they will – she can no longer subject herself to the indignity and stress of how she has been doing it. With fear and anguish she let go. The next morning she had a realisation about how she can continue with her baby in far better circumstances for everyone involved.
Another woman recently watched her partner behave very self-destructively. It badly damaged their relationship. But she loves him and he loves her. She was not ready to let the relationship go. She kept going back and trying to make it alright, trying to fix it, pretending to be ok for his sake and her own. She was working hard to keep it together, trying to control his feelings and behaviour, controlling her own – to keep it as she thought she wanted it to be. She began to have intense anxiety and feel silenced and disconnected from herself – but the only alternative was to let the relationship go and she wasn’t ready to do that. Finally one day she saw she has to let him live his life, make his own choices, choose his own actions and based on what he chooses she will decide if that suits her or not. She can love him and be with him but she has to first and foremost connect and listen to herself with love and respect – not lie to herself like she has been doing. She feels relieved at the option. It may take some practice to keep letting go.
And me, my goodness, all this letting go. I’ve been practicing allowing instead of pushing, opening instead of guarding, trusting instead of fearing. It brings relief and then panic in alternating waves as I allow myself to truly be who and where I am, instead of pushing, pushing and controlling to be where and what I think I should be, or what it should look like.
The times I get scared I feel letting go of getting it ‘right’ is just asking for trouble. What am I supposed to do? Just stand back open my hands, open my heart, stay connected to the love and watch it all fall apart, fail, leave me and die?
The answer, apparently, is yes. That is the healing for me at this time.
Open my hands, open my heart
And let go.
I hope you share this with others. We all need to be allowed to let go more.