“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be….To hold, you must first open your hand. Let go.” -Lao Tzu
There might not be another word in the English language that evokes as much opening, tenderness and possibility as release. On an emotional level, the ability to let go is the essence of what real intimacy is made from. Our human longing to hold onto those we love must mature if it is to survive into emotional release. The experience of release is found in all of the tiny, daily acts of forgiveness that most relationships demand. It grows in the trust that offers both partners the encouragement and freedom to follow one’s own heart with no fear of abandoning someone else, or being abandoned. Developing the courage to let go and release is the way to peace in ourselves and in our relationships.
Release is also a physical discipline and its practice offers one of the most healing and rewarding paths to living in a body. Mastering the ability to physically release the tension and stress the body accumulates is tantamount to graceful aging. Even more profoundly, the practice of release opens us to the mysterious and compelling territory of experiencing sexual pleasure. Our willingness to let go of our control and slide down into the unknown territories of our sexuality opens the door to one of the most satisfying release mechanisms available: the human orgasm. There is little that compares to the scintillating and exquisite release that accompanies the orgasm’s climactic heights.
Aspiring toward release is in fact a tenet of many spiritual disciplines. Every moment that we focus our attention on our capacity to let go, we lean into our current reality and rediscover the satisfying freedom to let things be as they are. This is where our willingness to release becomes a gateway to love, forgiveness and the courage to try again.
It is easy to be misled in this culture into believing that it is what we accumulate that defines our life. In actuality, the richest lives most often belongs to the people who strive for it’s opposite. Our ability to release and let go leaves room for what matters most, not the least of which is our ability to become more of ourselves. Release teaches that sometimes there is a more powerful force than our trying. Effort and aspiration are balanced by having the courage and insight to let go. As Lao Tzu reminds us, “By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.” Right now, think of what you can let go of and don’t try, just open your hands.