Thursday, January 28, 2016

Holding On as We Learn to Let Go

My birthday is here yet again! I turn 61 tomorrow. The plan is to celebrate with two of my daughters and Paul. They are taking me away for the weekend. I remain in the background as they plan, organize and pull together a weekend for me! I feel so special, cared for and loved!

This past year, my 61st, was challenging. It began with disappointments regarding my last year’s birthday celebrations. I experienced several physical issues resulting from a scooter accident in the spring. Complicated dental procedures kept me focused on healing. And of course, coming to terms with how my body is aging and ‘acting’ differently has become a constant reminder of the inevitable changes that come with getting older. My mom passed away this year and the experience of grief has been profound. Several relationships in my life have changed drastically. My work is settling in to a comfortable niche that no longer requires the same kind of energy and focus. The past year has created shifts in my dealings with my world and myself.

I have meditated intently, practiced Yoga with enthusiasm and purpose, and engaged in workshops and programs to assist me in learning ways to grow up. I have pondered, reflected, and processed. I feel an emergence into a new phase of my life with a new refreshed outlook.

Following the wisdom of great spiritual teachers, family, close friends and colleagues (not to mention the brilliant posts on Facebook), the term that repeatedly comes through is “Let go! Just let go.”

I have come to believe that “letting go’’ is a great skill. And it’s definitely not easy. As social beings and inhabitants of this grand Earth, the initiation into our journey of letting go begins with the physical disconnect that occurs when the umbilical chord is cut. As parents we learn to ‘let go’ of our offspring, hopefully with appropriate speed and at the right time. I remember the first time I left my first newborn baby with a babysitter. Or that first day of kindergarten. I reflect back on the time when my children, one by one, left our home and went off to create a life. Challenging and rewarding all at the same time! Paul and I remind ourselves often that we brought up our children to be independent and self assured. They are no longer in our backyard, yet they are strong, confident, healthy and happy. We miss them sometimes, and, feel good about who they’ve become. And, for the most part, they still like us and each other, and enjoy our infrequent and wonderful gatherings together.

Sometimes, in describing that process of ‘letting go’, I press the palms of my hands together at my belly. I slowly expand the space between my hands symbolizing how much we let go. By the time my arms are completely spread out, the child’s life I am describing is well into adulthood. And I explain, “My arms are still there to fall into if necessary. But they’re far enough away to allow for complete independence.”  Sometimes they will even come closer together in a gentle embrace. “I’m here, and you’re okay on your own,” is the message. “I got your back!” is the reminder. I am still “holding on”.

I have come to believe that the process of ‘letting go’ is not quite enough. What’s the point of ‘letting go’ if we flounder through space unattached to anything meaningful and real? “Holding on” is just as important.

What I have learned is that letting go becomes easier when we ground our selves to what we already have. Lately I strive to accept the way things are, “It’s not a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just the way it is.” I have found it helpful to change the way I think, shifting from “I want” to “I hope” or “I wish”…. Finally though, it’s just about accepting the way it is!

So…what can I hold on to as my 62nd year looms?:

Focusing on my physical health and establishing and maintaining balance in my life is essential. I hope to continue to learn and grow, read, watch and listen, both inwardly and out, and to continue to seek the love…that inner child that I have inside.

I hope to spend precious time with my children and growing family. I love teaching teachers! So many are amazing human beings who profoundly influence ‘our future’. Sharing my Yoga practice with others remains a priority. So is sharing my love with authenticity and skill and focus, so that those around me feel the love!

Our universe needs our help! I want to remind myself about the simple things that make a difference in the world. Taking care of the earth. Using water frugally. Smiling to others when I’m out in the world. Somehow connecting with people and letting them know I care. I do care. I really do!

That’s the best gift I have to offer! And I intend to keep going…”Ad mea v’esrim”!