Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Strength from Letting Go

That's a pretty deep title... I don't really know yet whether or not the content will match it, so, come on along on the ride with me...

This morning, as yoga class was starting, our instructor (Thomas) mentioned that we would be working our center (aka core, aka *yikes* - although since I had rushed through my core stuff at the gym yesterday, I knew I needed it). Then he talked about finding strength through letting go; finding support through opening. In physical terms, the point of really engaging your center is so that the rest of you can move more freely. But, these phrases had such powerful meaning to me on a level that went way beyond the physical. So, I made them my intention for the day and yoga'd on.

As I was working my way through the (sometimes grueling) poses, I continued to come back to this idea of strength through letting go. This is absolutely NOT the first time I have considered such a notion. Most recently, it came to me as I was walking along the beach on our last full day in Sanibel... Sometimes I am just so damn uptight. I do what I'm supposed to do, when I'm supposed to do it (for the most part), I don't usually let my true deep-down feelings out into the open, sometimes I even laugh when it's appropriate, at the socially appropriate decibel. Type A all the way, baby. Good lord.

Being open and letting go are two of the things I struggle with more than almost anything else in my life. And I'm not entirely sure why (although I'm pretty sure I come by it honestly). I suppose it has something to do with the notion that if I never really put myself out there for the world to see, I can't really be rejected by anyone. In essence, if they do reject me (which I'm absolutely sure is more likely to happen when not being truly open), it's not really me they're rejecting - it's the uptight, non-open, non-letting go me. I don't mean to say that I'm not myself. I believe that as I've gotten older, I have become more and more authentic and more and more real to everyone around me, mostly all of the time. So, it's not that you all have known a fake me, it's just that I'm not revealing everything about who I am. The scary, painful, really challenging stuff is kept to myself and the funny, upbeat, sometimes stressed (but always "together"), type A self is shown to the world.

The intent here, though, isn't to psychoanalyze myself, but to talk about being open and letting go. What do you think of when you think of those things? When I think of being open, I picture myself with my arms open wide, embracing people, embracing life. When I think of letting go, I literally picture myself dancing in some big field of flowers, spinning around and around, without a care in the world, letting go of every reservation and fear (and probably sneezing like crazy from all the pollen). Aren't these lovely thoughts?

As I walked along the beach that last afternoon in Sanibel, and the sun was starting to fall beneath the ocean in the distance, I thought to myself, "What would it hurt?" What would it hurt to fully express my love and affection for someone, to be open with myself, give hugs, allow others (not everyone, of course - strangers on the street don't need to know if I'm having the worst day in the world) to see all of me? What would it hurt to laugh as loud and as hard as I want, whether it's situationally appropriate or not? Or, conversely, what would it hurt NOT to laugh if I don't think something's funny? What would it hurt (this is timely) to just WRITE (I'm talking about my thesis, which I edit, edit again, then erase and write over) without regard for how anyone is going to critique or criticize?

But being truly open and completely letting go are hard, aren't they? Because we know that in doing so, we open ourselves up for the possibility of real pain if the real you is rejected. However, I would like you all to take just a moment to consider what else we open ourselves up to (as will I)... Real love, real acceptance, real happiness, real connectedness, fullness, and maybe even peace. In my mind, I believe that those things outweigh the pain. The real challenge is convincing the rest of me and putting it into action. And that is my goal for the next ... however long. To be open. To let go. Sure, I'll ALWAYS be a total Type A - I'll make lists, I'll set goals and work diligently towards them, I'll feel all aflutter when I see a REALLY GOOD pre-made checklist, I'll get upset when things don't go as planned or when I'm asked to do something that wasn't already on my schedule (geez.). But maybe I'll be better at showing people I care. Maybe I'll be able to take things in stride a little better, let go, and enjoy the possibilities that an unplanned event might offer. Heck, maybe as I'm holding my center tight, holding onto who I am, I'll be able to spin and spin and let go of everything else...

Ok, this was just about as deep as the title suggested. Too much for a Tuesday morning before 9:00? Go grab another cup of coffee.


  1. wrote a VERY SIMILAR post about this today! I'm totally with you.

    "When I think of letting go, I literally picture myself dancing in some big field of flowers, spinning around and around, without a care in the world, letting go of every reservation and fear..."

    totally agree -- just don't forget about the laughter and HUGE smile that would also be plastered on my face.

  2. It is so hard being open, honest and transparent. Best wishes!