I was fighting a cold the other day, and moved into a very still, introverted space of healing. I tossed out my to-do-list for the day, cancelled plans, and spent the day reading and drinking tea.
As is often the case when I become more introverted than extroverted, the Universe resolved a few situations I couldn’t seem to fix, and delivered a few things I’d given up hope of obtaining. My life requires a fair amount of Yang (active & directive) energy; when I’m sick I’m definitely more Yin (receptive and still). This translates as being less willful. I don’t impose my will on the Universe when I’m under the weather. I just co-exist with It, and It always treats me differently than when I’m being all certain that I’m right about what should be happening. The lesson seems to be that letting go of what it should look like allows the Universe some room to work things out in ways that I can’t imagine.
This is one of the basic tenets in many spiritual traditions. It also showed up in my colleague’s dissertation on “what makes an effective moment in Play Therapy”, where she was surprised to discover that effective moments often happened when the therapist was sick, or tired- i.e. not feeling so good, and not trying so hard to be effective.
The tricky part is to let go of expectations without trying to let go of expectations; that is a paradox to be wrestled with. Or, in this case, not wrestled with.
Here’s a poem that my friend Ronda used at a recent yoga workshop. It beautifully captures how to let go without trying to let go…
She let go.
She let go. Without thought or word, she let go.
She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the “right” reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all the memories that held her back. She let go of all the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning
and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report
or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a 5-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one notice a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.
Attributed to both Rev. Safire Rose & Ernest Holmes