As I was composing my thoughts for an abbreviated and tardy newsletter, I realized I had overextended myself with more than I could accomplish. As a result, I noticed pain creeping back into the nerves of my shin, a clear indicator of stress, reminding me it was necessary to let some things go. My priority was to honor my uncle, the Rev. William J. Hultberg, for his 85th birthday. For several weeks I was taking the necessary steps to prepare a family BBQ for the celebration, which included creating a patio for my Weber grill. Fr. Bill literally saved my life, paying for my stay at the Caron Foundation, where he was the Spiritual Director and where I learned just how important the art of letting go is. He is my hero and guardian angel, and to say I am grateful for him, is an understatement.
In class, I often remind my students to let go if they are in a particularly challenging pose. Letting go does not mean to disengage your muscles, but rather the struggle in your mind. Letting go of the thoughts or judgment of what the pose should look like, and placing the attention on the breath and what the pose feels like to them. Letting go of the external world is indeed difficult when your entire life is programmed around it. Going within, however, is where ultimate freedom takes place, allowing yourself to “be“ in the external world without fear or judgment. You begin to open slowly, just as the rose gently unfolds one petal at a time, allowing yourself to “just be”.
Many times, while in the middle of a class, when a student is struggling, the Divine downloads an image to use as an analogy, and to assist with the understanding. The image for letting go that was placed in my mind’s eye, was that of a boa constrictor. A boa, once it takes hold of you, will squeeze the life out of you, holding on until you die. If it lets go and releases you, you thrive. The same is true for life itself. Holding onto anything, whether it be thoughts, people, or beliefs, will only suffocate your life, stifling it. True freedom arises when you let go.
Letting go is not easy, but it is simple. Begin by letting go of something minor or trivial, such as a household item or an article of clothing. Just tell the item it has served you well in the past, but now it is time for someone else to receive the joy it provides. You may even hum the tune, “Please release me, let me go….” as you lovingly pack it away.
Let go and let God!