Letting go! Did you ever find yourself gripping on to something, not even knowing how tightly you were holding on? A railing? A coin in your pocket? The edge of your book? The arm of a chair? The hand of someone dear? Recently I was on the top of a boat and the wind was blowing, the waves were rocking the boat, and there was no light to be seen over the railing, it was pitch dark. I don’t do well with darkness, heights, and wind in combination. I needed to let go to make a next move; to take that next step; to get out of the wind, down the steps, into the warmth and light. I needed to let go of the railing to make a move towards what I desired as safety, to grasp onto the next support, to find a place of comfort…to take care of me. While in that place of discomfort, I explored the feelings – I was uncertain of my safety inside (even though my head knew I was safe), I was afraid, I felt out of control, I even had physical symptoms of discomfort.
Honoring self care and healing is much like the process it took me to get down off the top floor of the boat, out of the wind, and into a more comfortable environment for me. I needed to let go. I could not take a next step without letting go. We cannot find healing if we cling to the hurts, pain, or past. We cannot know a different truth, or be free in knowing who we really are if we clutch the known. So often we cling to the known even when the known is painful, detrimental, and perpetuating, because it is just that – known. At the same time, in my experience on the boat, I could not just let go of the railing and be in safety, I had to let go, take a next step, let go, and proceed to a place of comfort…I had to not only let go, I had to move. I had to surrender. I had to choose. As Mark Nepo describes the process of letting go, I had to live into the unknown.
If we maintain the grasp of our current knowing, we can never know what more there is, what joy lies ahead, what beauty there is to be hold, what creativity is to be ventured into with our hands, what freedom there is in our heart. Our hands need to let go of the railing of the known(s), and our hearts must be set free to be out of the dark, into the light, and into the safety and comfort of new knowing(s). In my experience on the boat, it was in exploring the darkness, fears, wind, and heights, that I was able to truly know the comfort of light, warmth, shelter, and safety…but in order to get there, I had to let go.