There comes a time where you realize you have to make a decision. You have to pick a path. Do I cling to that which doesn’t serve my purpose here on planet earth, or do I release it?
We want to cling. From birth, we need. When we are old enough, we learn to grasp. From then on, a lot of us never stop. Most of us, I’d say. Until life offers us no choice. Life has a way of forcing the dream out of our grip, like a bully twisting your arm to steal your lunch money.
Word to yo mama, life. I don’t want your lessons. I’d rather be a fat and happy kid sittin’ with my spaghetti at the lunchroom table.
But alas, life’s ears are deaf to our cries (supposing life actually has ears). It’s like a blind and brutal machine bulldozing over us, and we get stuck in the gears, spurting blood and screaming…
Too much? Yeah, I thought so, too.
But you have to admit, some days it feels that way. Some months it feels that way. It even rolls over into years and decades, if you let it.
If you let it. What kind of bullshit is that? What kind of power do I have over this beastly life machine that eats me alive? Well, not a lot. But you do have your brain and a thing called perspective. The way in which you view things is pretty powerful. It doesn’t change the things, it changes you.
Sometimes, we can find a way to see that the hard things can benefit us in some way. Sometimes it’s a minuscule way, but we can find a way to be the tiniest bit grateful for something. Normally, when we lose someone we love, we can find solace in the fact that we had them to begin with. If we find that crumb of gratitude, somehow we can make it the smallest whisper of a win.
But here’s the other thing. Life teaches us that we can’t keep. Most of the “can’t keeps” feel a lot like getting a Brazilian wax, I think. Just rip all the things out of our most tender parts. Thanks, life. That was fun.
But every now and then we get the chance to outsmart life. We get to call the shots.
It’s called Release. And it sucks.
But it’s still powerful. (It doesn’t really suck, the necessity of it sucks.) We see a loss on the horizon and we are able to prepare. You know like if you go fishing, but you do it the “catch and release” way? You know you’re going to let your trophies go.
Catch and release fishing is sort of like a “why bother” latte- you know, the skinny decaf kind. But it has its own beauty. It’s generous. It allows the fisherman to engage in conquest and appreciate the strength and beauty of Mother Nature. And then the beauty and pain of Release.
I suppose our learning to Release whatever life asks (or demands) of us has it’s own beauty as well, but I can’t see it yet. I just know it’s the only way to not get caught in the gears. To not fight. To open your heart, open your hands and for sure open the floodgates of your eyes sometimes, and let it all go. And do it again. And again. Until there’s nothing left but a serene lake of glass and quiet glory.
Life gives us many opportunities to practice this until we get really, really good at it. And if we’ve been wise, we’ve shown others the way, because one day they will have to Release us as well. And they will have to see the win.
And if we’ve taught them well, they will.