On Letting Go

Life has a way of moving us along.

Crissing and crossing us. Sometimes towards one another and sometimes apart; the siphoning of apart usually being more painful and stretching than the connectivity and receptivity of towards. But we are not meant to stay the same throughout our time lines and neither are our relationships.

For relationships, like life, like ourselves, are fluid, dynamic, and subject to growth.

It can be difficult to experience these changes in relationship; sometimes downright heart ripping and mind splitting. I often think about my brother and how abruptly he was taken from me with no warning that there was going to be a sudden irreversible departure of presence and that I would be left to make peace with something totally unpeaceable.

But I have come to realize over and over in the almost year and a half since his loss that it is possible to make peace and accept something that feels unacceptable- if you just make a little space to accept the fact that part of it will never feel okay. And this is the crux of letting go- you have to learn to make space for your whole experience of self in the matter.

Sadness. Regret. Reminiscence. Good Memories. Wishes that it was different. Anger. Confusion. The realization it is not. The pain of separation and the echo of a felt-sense of belonging. The light and the dark. The love and the hate.

The only way I know to embrace change is by learning to embrace the whole of who we are. We can’t learn to let go if we are turning a blind eye to or willfully engaging in denial of part of ourselves, which is like trying to run a race with a broken leg- you are not going to get very far. And we can’t let go of somebody we have loved, whatever the nature of that love, if we don’t acknowledge the part of ourselves who wants to hang on.

Sometimes the best we can do is take the hand of the part of self who wants to stay and stick, gently say with the utmost of care- there, there my dear one, I know this space was beautiful in its time, but there is no life for you here anymore– then help that part of our self continue to learn how to turn their face towards the light of what is ahead.

These days, I am carrying my lessons of my brother with me as I move towards letting go of almost 40 years of life in Anchorage, Alaska. I’m watching relationships I’ve carried for years slowly weave their way on out of my life, and many, I suspect, will not weave their way back in. There’s been a lot of loss and sadness for what is being left behind, even as I sense the wide open landscapes where space is being created for something new.

Such is the paradoxical nature of change.

But in all my leavings and weavings and unravelings, I keep coming back to something that my brother taught me: you can’t fight the tide of life. Nor were we meant to, for no matter how resistant our minds may feel, it is in the nature of our soul to reach for change.

We have a way of seeking expansion, even when we don’t always know what we are seeking.

And Life has a way of moving us along.

Forever guiding us in the direction we need for growth.

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