I had the absolute pleasure of being able to wander through a beautiful part of New Zealand yesterday. It was a bitter-sweet experience. Sweet because of the wonders that surrounded my gaze on every step. Bitter because I had to let go of the dreams of a friendship I had hoped would last long into the future. Our friendship will go on, though it will be made up of different pieces and have boundaries that ensure a continuing love, but one that is free of hurt and instead replaced with respect.
How does one let go? A question that has brought me back to one simple answer. We can only truly let go when we understand the importance of loving deeply yet with no attachment. “Impossible!”, you cry. Let me tell you, dear readers, it is not only possible but crucial to let go to allow inner peace, true joy and foster the kind of love that is boundless.
When we place our happiness in another’s hands we are bound to be hurt. When we are dependent on another to sustain our joy, we ultimately take away our joy. Of course there is the exception of parenthood. All children are dependent on their parents, or parent, or caregiver, to give them the means to live until they are independent beings able to sustain those things for themselves. But as adults we must be brave. We must discover the strength of who we are alone, before we can embrace to beauty of having others walk alongside us.
So to letting go. I have practised this art for years. Many years ago, when as a devout atheist, I was led on a path to recognise my spiritual self. I immersed myself with the teachings of the ‘great’ religions, I resonated with little until I read The Four Precepts and Eightfold Path of Buddhism. I won’t go into too much detail as I believe we must all find our own way, find our own answers. But here, laid out, were life guides if you will. A way of knowing that of course suffering exists, but that there are indeed ways through the suffering and back into joy.
Buddhism is where I learnt about loving with non-attachment. To be fully present in each moment. To be grateful for all that has passed (no matter how painful, joyful, or just plain mundane) and to realise that once a moment we must let it go as we can not change it. To be grateful for all that is to come (again, painful, joyful, mundane) but to fully know that to expect any certain outcome will again cause suffering if it doesn’t play out as expected. Yes! Dream, Hope, Plan. And then Let Go.
All we have in reality is now. Now don’t get me wrong. Every day I am faced with choices. To dwell in the past. To desire a certain outcome in the future. And every single day I choose to let go. And I embrace my now. Turn my face toward the sun, moon and stars and offer my thanks. For all that was. All that is. And all that will be.