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What I know about letting go (it beats suffering)

LETTING-GO2“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.  Out of fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” Thich Nhat Hanh

I’ve spent the day at my son’s university, going through orientation in preparation for his entry in the fall.

He’s my only child.

And I’m noticing some resistance in letting him go.

We spent the day learning separately: he with his future classmates, and I with all the other parents both first timers and not.

Tonight, before meeting him for dinner in the university cafeteria, I had an hour to myself so I went to check out the lake his school is on:  a big expansive body of water. So large in fact the other shore (where Canada ought to be) is not visible.

I took my sandals off.  Dipped my feet in and the water.  The temperature was warm.  The waves, inviting.

Before I knew it, my skirt was off and I, in skivvies and top, unabashedly in, swimming further and further out until the shore became distant.

In the water I released my grief, let it lap at my body as I floated – wanting relief from the anticipation of seeing my only son go off to university.  The anticipation of not having him in my home every other week.  The anticipation of having a tidy, kept home – and the sadness of not seeing his socks lying around in various and sundry unexpected places.

Now, I’ve let go of an amazing amount in a relatively short amount of time. In three years: an 8 year relationship (that might as well have been a marriage) that broke my heart wide open.  A beautiful home surrounded by gardens I had created and tended to. Friendships where I had grown so big, could not withstand my change. A beautiful platinum diamond and sapphire engagement ring. Carefully chosen artwork that no longer fit who I was. Ambitions. My mechanic.

I try not to be a collector of either thoughts or things.  But through the years, I have found myself becoming more and more attached to them.  Recently I’ve been looking to surrender to non-having, non-cluttering, non-thinking.

Way down deep beneath all of this “stuff” I have captured, lies the freedom, the desire, the longing that has pulled me forward my entire life.  Always moved me forward (even when I felt I had gotten off course.)

So in the water, I’m still shedding — taking deep breaths and choosing to let go. I’m not waiting until I’m ready to let go. I’ve waited long enough. Carried stuff long enough. Longed long enough. For lightness.

For that tender place on the other side of courage.  And now is the time.

Stay inspired,

Joelle Lydon

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