The Art of Letting Go
Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Does the rosebush worry, as the last pink petal falls, if it will ever hold another rose? Does it fear the birds, bees, and their constant shower of affection, may be gone for good? Yellow fields of goldenrod accompany us through the end of summer as the season of flowers fades. For the past six months we’ve been graced by the varying colors and scents in fields, pastures, meadows, yards of neighbors and wherever room for beauty has been allowed. Birth and rebirth are the nature of things. So too is the continual need for growth and the shedding which makes it possible. It is as constant as the rise of the sun and orbit of the moon. Learning how and when to let go is essential in making room for what comes next. What awaits us on the horizon, capable of being sensed, but never seen? Whether it is the tree’s active choice or not, the annual release of its leaves allows for the continuation of life as the sun’s strength fades and the tree is no longer capable of supporting its leaves, nor in need of their sun-catching talents. The canopy of green, which has become familiar and nourishing, must go. In this seemingly simple act of letting go, the leaves themselves are given a new life as they reach the forest floor and become one with the creature’s and community below. Through decomposition, the leaves nourish the earth as they change form and may very well return to the same tree from which they fell as nutrients taken in through the underground system of roots. We too are asked to continually drop or shed aspects of our being. Whether it is a certain belief we hold about the world around us and ourselves, or perhaps the ideas and expectations we maintain in regards to another person, a job or a hobby, life asks, and sometimes demands, us in one way or another to make room for the growth we are here for. There is an art to the act of letting go. A dance through the darkness and what is unknown. While leaves may fall, the tree is certain to remain its composition and integrity. As we shed our own skin, it may be tempting to feel as if we are losing ourselves entirely. We despair over the thought that it is time to release a pursuit, passion or person completely? These dramatic thoughts which send us into emotional disarray arise from the fear which always lurks in the shadows of our being. Instead of the drastic, life-altering changes we become terrified are necessary, life is most often asking us to develop a new understanding of the meanings and roles of our relationships. It is our perceptions which must be let go of. And in the reshaping of our thoughts, an essential choice arises. Ishvara pranidhana is the yogi term for surrendering to a higher power. What allows us to move forward with hope and curiosity rather than fear and despair is our faith and trust in the larger network of which we are a small, albeit integral, part. Through surrender and acceptance of what is beyond our control, we make room for something new. No matter where your faith generates, whether it is the wisdom of our world’s great traditions or the plants in your garden, its presence is what reminds us that by letting go we are making room for next year’s flowers and leaves. If we choose instead to clutch and cling to what has gotten us here thus far, we are serving no one -- not ourselves, nor the soil from which we grow. The cycle must continue. Our own breath serves as a constant reminder that in order to be sustained we must release from our lungs, again and again, what once brought nourishment. And the carbon dioxide we have no use for? Well, the tree at our side will gladly make use of that. In this very same tree, there sits the exoskeleton of a cicada shed in the process of growth from nymph to adult. Further up on the branch, the rustling leaves have begun their change of color, readying themselves for the next stage. Elsewhere, the chrysalis of a monarch butterfly hangs discarded. The butterfly itself, after overcoming a clumsy introduction to its newfound wings, is long gone, traveling thousands of miles to its home in the mountains of Mexico. The reminders are everywhere. This is a magical world. Happy Fall.
The weekly essay emanates from an ongoing conversation between Yoga Underground studio-owner, Danielle Lindner, and local writer, Nolan Morris. Mistakes, errors and misrepresentations are those of the writer's. We want your feedback. What would you want to see discussed? What do you like or dislike? Reach out with questions or comments of any kind to Nolan Morris via email at firstname.lastname@example.org