The last two weeks have felt rough and uncomfortable. Plenty of difficulties for people I love. Things that I’d like to fix. But nothing I can. Heavy weight of emotion.
This is how life goes some times. And, I don’t like it. We want to end the pain, and fear. Get it over with, move on. Feel better. But all we really can do, and all we really need to do is be in it, trusting that it won’t overcome us. Trusting that some day we’ll emerge from it in a different place.
It’s hard to sit with it of course. The anxiety of uncertainty. The pain of loss. But when we can accept the new normal, we start seeing little glimpses of better. The nuances of life. The crooks and crannies where there is hope, where we are reminded that life isn’t all bad. It isn’t all pain. It isn’t all unfair or uncertain or wrong.
When we accept what is, our new circumstances, or our aging body, or the fear of the unknown, when we stop railing against what has already happened, we can find a little teeny, eeny bit of peace. Enough to move us just a bit, into the next moment. The one just a second ago we didn’t think we could endure. We can of course. We will, of course, get through it.
We won’t like it. We will cry and complain and worry and fear. And then, we will be with it. We will simply stop doing and start being in this new kind of normal. We will let go. Stop wishing for and start living with.
And when we do this, we are free. Not without pain. Not without hardship. But able to cope.
In Imperfect Spirituality I write:
“Once you are clear about what really is in your life you can decide to hold onto it or let it go. Buddha says, “Attachment is the source of all suffering.” Anytime we hold tight to an idea, or thing, or person, or something we love and covet, we are resisting the reality, because everything is impermanent. The things we love will change or vanish altogether. We suffer, too, when we cling to our challenges rather than accepting and moving through them. Surrender, then, is the way to go. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but it is a path that becomes smoother with knowledge.”
“Surrender is a voluntary thing,” says therapist, author, and former Buddhist monk, Donald Altman.
“It is a choice to let go in some way: to give up your worries and your troubles; to realize you don’t have control. It is not submission. It is active—you are making a choice for release.”
Letting Go a Billion Times a Day
And, it is a choice I sometimes need to make a billion times a day. When I’m carrying around grief or worry or fear, it becomes an unconscious source of pain. It’s like a small vibration in my soul that keeps rippling through even when I’m not thinking about it. I’ll wake up feeling fine, and then something will remind me of the loss or trouble and I’ll vibrate with the pain again.
But, when I can catch myself ruminating, clinging, wishing things were different, I can then deliberately bring my attention back to the situation at hand, and let it go again.
I say :“this is what is, I’m releasing my hurt over it now. I will no longer carry around the judgment or the fear. I am accepting things as they are and I’m giving it over to the bigger energy that keeps the sun rising, the Earth rotating, the oceans flowing.”
Then I take a deep breath and exhale the air in a rush, until it becomes part of all that is. And I start again.
Sometimes, if a situation is really stressing me, I have to do this time and time again, until I have the clarity from acceptance. Then I’m better able to deal with whatever is going on.
“Surrender is when we stop trying so hard. It frees us up to make a move without getting clobbered by the same pain over and over again,” I write in Imperfect Spirituality.
When you recognize there is nothing to fix, nothing to do, when you recognize you’ve got to be here now, present in this moment to actually get through the pain of it, then you can let go of everything else trusting that this discomfort now will become something different and easier to bear.
For me this is a difficult thing to do. But, when I consciously accept the circumstances and let go of my need to feel differently than I do now, when I just release that pressure of what might have been or what I wished was, I relax and deal better with the now and life becomes just a bit easier. A bit more hopeful. And that, helps a whole lot.