One day, I somehow happened to get one of those beautiful red bands loose from its tightly packed labyrinth. I admired its ability to stretch really far and I pulled and stretched it as far as my little arms would go. That red rubber band and I had all kinds of fun that day.
Right before dinner I decided to put in on my wrist so that I wouldn't lose my new rubbery friend. Later that evening I went to take a bath and realized that I still had the red band on my wrist so I attempted one last stretch to really see how far up away from my arm it could go. I pulled it up, up, up and then POP!!! I screamed so loud my grandma came running only to see the very red welt now forming on my wrist. Unfortunately my red rubbery friend had just left its mark. I had been curious as to what might happen if I let go of the rubber band while pulling it that far toward the ceiling and in that moment I found out and I innocently learned that letting go meant pain.
That wasn't my first or only lesson in letting go and the pain associated with it, but it was one of my earliest memories of a physically shocking experience, that was of my own making.
I also remember being about 7 years old and swinging on my little swing-set that my grandpa had put together for me. It was so much fun to hop on the swing and just go as high as I could go. I loved feeling the wind in my hair and thoughts of flying high like a bird came to mind as I closed my eyes and seemed to soar.
One day I saw an older cousin swing really high and then to my surprise, as he nearly went over the top of the swing set, he suddenly leaped from the swing and he flew through the air. He had flown! HE safely and gracefully landed on his own two feet and to me that was enough proof that I could give it a go!
So, I climbed up onto my favorite swing, and I gave it a good push, higher and higher and higher I rose, and then as I nearly reached the height of being level with the swing set, I closed my eyes and I let go of the swing and I flew!!! It was the most amazing 5 seconds of my life, but it felt like an eternity! I was in heaven for that few second until i realized that I didn't quite know how to land as gracefully as my cousin did and although I hit the ground with a thud, I got up, SMILED, dusted off my jeans, and got right back on that swing and I flew again and again and again!!! I must have let go a hundred times that day!
That swing taught me that letting go meant freedom and it meant I could fly. Letting go was expansive, beautiful and fun!
It wasn't the first time that I let go of something and found adventure and joy, but it was one of the fondest memories of finding my wings at such a young age.
So is letting go good or bad?
Is it painful or is it joyful?
I find that it's both...
Letting go always means freedom even when it doesn't feel like it. Of course unless we are letting go of our freedom and then it's us choosing bondage.
Letting go of my ex-husband, letting go of my son, letting go of my friends, letting go of my old ideas, letting go of my struggle with illness, letting go of my mother, letting go of my father.... My life has always been a journey of letting go.
And so has yours...
Every day we choose to let go in little micro ways, and then there are those rare few times in our lifetime, we let go in huge life altering ways. Each time I have let go in small ways and in big ways, something or someone else took its place in some way.
It seemed like when I’d let go of people, interesting relationships were formed with new people. My circle of friends widened. The topics became more interesting, and more in alignment with who I was becoming in the moment. Slowly, a freedom to be more myself, came out of this letting go process.
When I had to let go of my son, so that he could go get the help he needed, it was hard, it was painful, but he grew and so did I from the experience and I grew closer to my other two younger children. I don't know that I would have appreciated my other two kids as much as I was free to do once my oldest son left home.
When I had to let go of my birth father because he wanted nothing to do with me, It was hard, it was painful, but I was free to appreciate the man who had raised me. My grandpa. I was free to honor the man who gave me all of the love and attention a little girl could need. He became my hero and I don't think I could have ever appreciated my grandpa so deeply had my father been more willing to be a part of my life.
Letting go invites us to trust life in a way that many of us today have a hard time doing. We live in a "Prove it to me!" and "I'll believe it when I see it!" kind of theme in society today.
Many of us have lost the ability to trust anything or anyone because we have been so hurt and refuse to let anyone or anything near our hearts. The hard part is that when we stop trusting life, when we stop being willing to let go, when we stop being vulnerable, we build up a wall that keeps us safe, but in the meantime that same wall of safety also keeps out the closeness we want to feel, the love that we want to have and to share, and the joyful experiences that are memorable.
Letting go isn't always easy and it's not always pain-free, but it is a way to change direction in the current, and it is a way to allow in new fresh energy, people, love, joy, adventure and experiences.
Maybe you can sit down tonight and write out how you have let go in your own life, and how much it has changed you in big ways and small ways. How there was both pain and blessings in the release.
Any way that you look at it, letting go is a necessary process and creates a form of freedom that we need because it helps us to move forward in our lives. May you find the strength and courage to let go of things in your own life and in turn allow the beauty of new fresh energy to come in.
In peace and wellness,