I am slowly learning the art of letting go. In the past month, my oldest daughter Janae became engaged to the love of her life. I’m learning to let go of my daughter. After three months of hard work cutting down avocado trees at The Grove, I now have weeds to cut and lemon trees to prune! I’m learning to let go of the idea that my work on the property will ever be finished. I am also in the midst of difficult business and creative challenges. I’m learning to let go of certain things I have no control over. If anyone has ever said to you, “Oh, you just need to let it go,” even if you feel like slapping them, there’s still wisdom in their words.
The art of letting go is the scary, but most secure path to true spiritual and emotional freedom. It is an art form, not in the traditional sense, because it requires constant practice, experimentation, and creativity.
To find peace and contentment, we have to ask ourselves, “How do I best cultivate the art of letting go?”
What do I mean by the vague, ephemeral phrase of “letting go”? A few familiar words come to mind…
Surrender. Relinquish. Give up. Abandon. Release. You may have a few words of your own.
You and I live in a world where we are told, trained and indoctrinated to gain, acquire, possess, control and hang onto things that come with the overt message that these things will bring us life! Buy the new car. The vacation home. The new dress. Get the job. Find the right spouse. Build up the nest egg. Be debt-free. Gain the respect and approval of others.
You and I know that there’s nothing inherently wrong in any of these things. They just don’t give us the life our hearts and souls are really thirsting for.
So, when there’s conflict…or when a dream is dashed…or someone disapproves of us…or all that hard work doesn’t pay off…or you discover you’re sick…you can begin to live in one of three extremes…
What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with them? What’s wrong with God?
I don’t find these questions very useful because they put us at odds with ourselves, others or God.
Enter the lost art of letting go.
Why is it a lost art?
Because letting go is a continual learning process. And until we realize that we’re hanging onto something that we thought we’d bring us sort of life or fulfillment, we’re lost. Becoming adept at any art form is a continual process of learning and practice. In our art, our life and our faith.
Life doesn’t always resolve itself. Tension doesn’t always go away.
Which is why trust. Faith. Hope. And learning the art of letting go are so necessary.
There’s great freedom in not having everything all figured out.
If you take the posture of a learner, you position yourself for exciting new discoveries and “Aha!” moments.
And in the eminent words of the great theologian, Forrest Gump, “That’s all I got to say about that.”
Questions: I don’t want to hand out any tips or tricks today…what do you have to say about the art of letting go? What does it look like in your life?
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