The Art of Letting In & Letting Go

Could life simply be a series of events of either taking in or letting out, inhaling or exhaling, giving or receiving? Allowing ourselves to receive and conversely, allowing ourselves to release is a natural ebb and flow – or is it?

Take a moment to witness the seamless flow in nature, as vibrant grasses give life to the rabbit, whose death gives way to the nourishment of the coyote, whose excrement enhances the soil that then provides sustenance for the grasses…or the hummingbird who gracefully flies from flower to flower sipping sweet nectar while simultaneously pollinating the plants.

The natural world provides a virtually endless display of life and death, give and take. It all hap-pens so effortlessly and so impeccably in the wild and yet in our own lives, we can find ourselves occasionally fraught within this normal course of action.

I think it’s safe to say, we’ve all been known at one time or another to resist receiving, be it a generous gift from a loved one, assistance from a friend or even a complement from a stranger.

What is it that keeps us from receiving? And, on the other hand, what keeps us from letting go?

Truly, both acts are vital parts of an organic process and in some cases; one action must take place before the other can occur. Think back to the previous examples in nature, why would it be any different for us?

Recently, I personally faced a challenge of the latter…letting go. This reflection brings to mind an eloquent quote from the Buddha:

“In the end, only three things matter; how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how grace-fully you let go of things not meant for you.”

I feel grace opens the door to the effortlessness available to us when we make the choice to live gently and love freely. To me, allowing ourselves to love and be loved is a delicate balance of giving, receiving and letting go…and living gently is merely our willingness to allow this natural flow.

I wonder if we all knew this, I mean really understood it, would we be more apt to unreservedly take what is given or offered to us?

Would we generously share of our hearts and our possessions without hesitation, and fearlessly let go of what we no longer need or what is not meant for us?
What if we absolutely knew that once we let something go, it would be benevolently replaced with something of equal or greater value, and that’s if and only if we’re willing to receive it.

Who do we think we are to interrupt the flow of nature?

Why would we choose to do such a thing?

Would you really want to stop a flower from blooming?

In terms of letting go, how do you know when it’s time to let something go? How do you know that something has run its course, served its purpose, danced its dance? Is it a churning in your gut, an aching in your heart or a clear, inner knowing?

Regardless, I’m fairly certain we’ve all experienced a manifestation of this feeling at one time or another. We know when it’s time to release something, whether it’s a job, a relationship, an un-healthy habit or a pair of jeans.

However, we don’t always do so immediately or gracefully. Fear and doubt can often creep in and we consequently find ourselves frozen in our tracks and clinging to the very thing we know we must let go of.

How do we get passed this? What do we do in order to keep ourselves from clinging, from freezing, from interrupting the natural flow?

As far as I can tell, there’s only one way…let go !

No matter how scary, how paralyzing, how nerve-wracking –– just do it! Perhaps, if you’re out of practice, you can start with small things, like that pair of jeans and then work up to that pesky habit.

Pretty soon, you realize that letting go isn’t going to kill you. As a matter of fact, it may actually give you a new life.

Have you ever cleaned out your closet or the trunk of your car? Do you remember a light, re-freshing feeling associated with the completion of that act? Did you feel energized?

What if you make it a habit to let go of something as soon as you recognize it is no longer serving your highest good? What if you allowed this to be your instinctive response? How would that feel? What would your life look like?

Take a moment to contemplate the reality of this: “You will never get what you really want, as long as you choose to settle for less.”

Perhaps we each come with this knowledge, and it’s because of this knowledge that we receive the cues informing us of when it’s time to move on. Along with that knowledge, there are choic-es. One choice is to cling, ignore the feelings and the urges and allow fear to get the best of us. This is where we just close our eyes and settle in away from the risk of letting go.

The other choice is to step out of our comfort zone, to jump into the unknown and set ourselves free to experience what else might be in store for us. This is where we open up the space for something different –– out with the old and in with the new –– allowing in the endless possibilities, allowing ourselves to receive and be part of the natural flow.

What do we have to lose? Maybe only what’s really meant for us. In the end, we’re all in this together. Just like the rabbit, the coyote, the soil and the tree.

So, let’s go … 1 … 2 … 3 … let go !