With the fall equinox, trees are shedding leaves for new growth. I am encouraged to reflect on what it means to let go. I would love to release habitual patterns, judgements, identities that are no longer serving me or others.
I wish I could simply write a 'how to' plan for skillful renunciation, a recipe that is easy to follow. Even if this were possible, ten individuals following this plan would likely have ten different journeys and outcomes. Still, I’d like to share what I’m learning. Maybe it will resonate with you. Maybe it won’t.
What does it mean to let go with compassion? For me, it means not forcefully prying fingers open when I’m holding on tight. It’s gently cradling the angry, frightened, hurt, lonely, or disappointed one in loving arms. It’s giving the physical manifestations of chaotic thoughts and emotions as much space as they need in the body and time to manifest as wisdom.
I’ve tried to let go with wisdom, telling myself that nothing is personal, perfect, or permanent. It sounds great in my head, but the body is not buying into this bullshit for one second. It recognizes a spiritual bypass and calls my bluff every single time. For me, letting go with wisdom is understanding the truth of impermanence, and the suffering that arises with grasping (material objects, people, pets, plans, identities, views, etc.). Not just at the head level, but at the heart and belly levels.
In Mama Sutra, Anne Cushman writes, “It is the process that releases the prana, not the pose.” All too often, I want to perfect a yoga pose, a meditation sit, a relationship, an experience, a version of myself or someone else, wasting so much energy trying to reach a destination that forever eludes me. Exhausted, I will still ask, “Am I there yet?”
I’m starting to fall in love with the process that releases the prana, the life force that keeps me going, kissing each wound with tenderness, opening to the wisdom of change.
May we let go one leaf at a time. May there be space for healing and new growth.