“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” – Rumi
Isn’t that really what life is about? The question I ponder the most is exactly that. When things should be let go, and when to hold on to them. I posted this picture on my Facebook page the other day when I finished a lesson with Ivy Newport on Life Book to a Mixed Media folder I keep. My father-in-law was lovely enough to post a response to it inquiring how do we actually get that timing right? Apparently, it is something we continue to wonder throughout our lives.
That made me start thinking about this topic some more. I do believe we let go of things in the time we are supposed to. I also feel that many of us often feel a struggle around this. How many times have I tried to coax myself into letting something go that I seem resistant to releasing? Why is that? There is such fear in letting go of things that are ingrained in us such as fears. It is really the same as letting go of a household item that you no longer use. What if I really need that waffle maker in the future? It doesn’t seem to matter if I have not made or ate waffles in the last 10 years. Perhaps I will want to make them next year and will regret having discarded it. However, what we don’t often think about is how much that waffle maker is holding a valuable space in our cupboard that could be used for something new that we would use everyday. It takes energy for us to have to move that waffle maker aside to get to things that are behind it that we need access to. Quite a metaphor, but I think a valid one. The waffle maker, just like our fears or things we want to let go, can be a burden to us. How many other wonderful things could we focus on if we just let this thing go that is no longer relevant or purposeful to us? I know I spend countless hours ruminating on how I really want to release this burden. How much easier it would be to just let it go.
On the flip side of that, many things that we would like to hang on to, don’t get to see the light of day, or certainly don’t receive the focus they should in our attention span. Some items that I included on my holding on to list were my family, my artistic interest, focusing on well-being, my tribe and my spiritual practice. Those things often fall by the weigh side in my strategy of time management. I start the day intending for those items to take precedent in my schedule, but then somehow, worry over the waffle maker and whether I should keep it or let it go takes up hour after hour and the things that I know make me happy suffer. This was a great exercise to do during this time of year when the trees are so gracefully letting go of their leaves. They do not worry about not being as beautiful of a tree next year if they release the old. They have confidence that next year will be just as bountiful. Perhaps so should we.
Maybe we should all make a list of the things we want to hold on to and let go for this upcoming season. Perhaps taking them all on at once is daunting. Maybe just pick one. I know which one I am going to tackle this fall. What a glorious and lighter feeling it will be to release things that served us a valuable purpose, but have now run their course of servitude.