Letting Go + Leaning In
When we let go, we are not becoming lost or out of control.
No. To let go is to expand, take up space, and create freedom.
For when we let go, we lean in... into power, into peace, into a new place where we decide the outcome and the process because we no longer attach onto another person or thing to get us there.
We let go of a lot in this life and often, letting go feels as if it's happening to us; which is why I think we hold onto this idea that when we let go, we won't have control.
That just isn't the case. As we've seen and may even intimately know ourselves, we can let go of loved ones (or anything for that matter) in a physical sense yet we become obsessed or attached to a memory, object, thought, etc. that never allows us to truly release what we've lost.
We fiercely hold onto people, thoughts, and things to make us feel a certain way and/or to avoid feeling a certain way. Often, when we aren't letting go, we are trying to fulfill the same higher purpose as when we let go.
When we hold onto something, what are we actually doing, and for what purpose?
We are attaching likely so that we can feel calm, balanced, comforted, and in control of whatever result or outcome, we desire.
When we choose to finally let go of something, we do this because we desire to be back in control, comforted, balanced, or calm.
These two parts of ourselves share the same higher purpose, they just go about it in different ways.
No different than two people going to see the same movie. One may take a car, the other a bike but the intention (the final destination) is the same: to get to the movie.
Our minds and hearts are much of the same.
Often when we struggle to let go of a habit or thought, it's because it's serving a beneficial purpose in our lives whether we realize it or not.
I've struggled a lot in my life to let go. I've had internalized irrational fears and thoughts that have held me back from enjoying a perfectly wonderful moment. I've held onto moments and people for reasons beyond ones that serve me because I was seeking some sort of comfort in keeping them around.
I've let go of people who are still out there living somewhere. To grieve the loss of someone still living might be one of the more perplexing things we are capable of experiencing as humans.
Then there's also the experience of holding on to something so tightly that we accidentally deprive the thing we love of the freedom it rightfully deserves. We also do this to ourselves when we don't let go of that which no longer serves us.
Once when I was around five years old, my grandmother was giving me a ride home and saved a robin's egg for me that she found on the ground. As I sat in my car seat, I was completely consumed by this newfound instinct to protect this delicate little egg at all costs... so consumed by my desire to protect the egg, my grip was tight enough that it broke the egg right into my lap. I was crushed. I didn't understand at that time that the egg wouldn't become a baby bird one day and I couldn't help but feel I was the reason this baby robin would never get its wings.
Funny how moments from our childhood become reflected in our actions later on. Such as my desire for control that inhibited me from experiencing what it would be like to truly fly, soar, and break free of the confining shell I had put around myself.
Sometimes I can't let go of the notion that I need to let this shit go. However, only recently have I begun to understand the other side of letting go, of leaning in, of giving way to the water trying so desperately to take me along downstream so I can finally stop racing against the current.
There's no doubt that it takes power, courage, and commitment to let go of certain things.
And there's also no doubt that holding onto memories or people is a perfectly normal thing to do when grieving the loss of something that let us go. I think the thing to be mindful and curious of is asking ourselves what purpose our actions are serving... and then maybe exploring if the opposite of those actions would also yield the same results but in a much lighter and loving way.