I have come to believe that a life well lived is really closely attuned to one’s facility to let go. As I age, more and more things that would have seemed so important years ago become unnoticeable- a blip on the screen. Maybe I just don’t have the adrenaline for the drama anymore. Yet, other things seem to stick to me and take advantage of every opportunity where my energy is waning to needle its way back into anxiety. As I have begun to study the things that I can’t seem to drop, I would have to say that those fall into another category of unfinished emotional ties.
Some are the expected ones – like a couple of days ago when my youngest child emerged ebullient from her drivers test scoring a 95 and then driving off. It was a day I could see coming for months, having seen it with each of her older siblings, yet still as she drove away without me, I did shed a couple of tears. What will fill all the hours I spent driving to and fro with my kids? It is the end of a long era when mom was my first profession. I will become some other kind of mother I expect, but I expect I will always miss the intimacy that few other relationships match as that of mom and child.
Other equally sticky situations of unresolved relationships that continue to define how I relate in the world. Letting go of this stuff is like reinventing myself. It takes practice, diligence and continuous attention and still I often fail. These are the places we don’t usually talk about out loud, the deeper fears about our failings and the ways we have proven our unworthiness. Why I am stuck to these, I can’t really understand. I know they don’t serve me.
If anything, these darker underbelly attachments make letting go and moving on with life that much more difficult. The empty house is one thing, but when it becomes full of regrets – I can’t stay there or imagine how I can bring my own fullness to it. For much of my life, I have held solitude at an arms distance- getting it in small enough doses that I was happy to hear myself think. Now that it is looming large and redefining how my days will feel and look, learning how to get unstuck and allow life to move through me unobstructed is key.
It occurs to me that this is the way that letting go gets confused inside of me.
My son was saying something similar last night about letting go of a relationship that didn’t go well. Somewhere in his heart it translated to letting go of some part of himself that wasn’t quite seen. And so he resisted. Most resistance is futile. It just turns the immediate pains of letting go into suffering.
Letting go successfully happens when you let emotions move through you but not define you.