If you asked me what life comes down to, I would answer that I believe it all comes down to Letting Go.
Dynamics between people, situations, emotions, get to the point where it’s just not working or it’s simply intolerable.
You don’t feel heard or understood. The way someone chooses to engage is intolerable. You’ve experienced someone doubling back one to many times.
A vulnerable trust is broken yet again. Sometimes, actually often, people feel so justified in their actions and it makes it even harder to be at peace within ourselves.
You are flat out on the ground waving the white flag from the sheer exhaustion of trying.
You’re broken-hearted and disappointed in yourself with how you acted under pressure with throat-choking fear.
This all leads to this radical and daring place of Letting Go.
Or as it’s called on the spiritual path, Renunciation.
From a Buddhist perspective, Renunciation has to do with letting go of holding back.
It’s about seeing clearly all the ways we pull away, shut down, close off, hold back, deny, ignore, and then learning how to open.
How we actually stay open has to do with coming up against our edge. That’s the moment when we learn what renunciation means.
You know how rivers flow down mountains? And then at some point, the flow of the water gets blocked by big logs and boulders? The water can’t move any further, even though it has tremendous force and energy, it just can’t move.
That’s what happens with us. We get blocked–out of the fear of the unknown, or fear of what happened in the past, we put up these blocks, these dams that basically say no to life and feeling.
How do we let go at these moments? How do we renounce? How do we say yes to opening further and let the water keep flowing, and keep our life-force evolving?
How do we not freeze and instead take another step toward the unknown?
Whenever you realize you have met your edge, you can be honest with yourself, by just gently acknowledging that you are saying some version of “No”.
The whole journey of renunciation, and letting go–which are just two phrases that mean saying yes to life– is realizing you’ve come up against your edge, that every single cell, molecule, bone, neuron within you is saying No, and then at that point softening.
The paralyzed quality, and the quality that causes us and others pain, seems to be the hardening or refusing quality.
The letting go, or the renunciation of that attitude is simply feeling the whole thing in your heart rather than your head and letting it soften and penetrate you so that you actually sit there with the troubling feelings and let them soften you some more.
You feel compassion for your predicament and for the whole human condition.
You reach out from inside yourself, the heroine of your own journey of awakening, constantly coming up against big challenges and then learning how to soften, open, and connect.
It’s a journey you can be proud of making on behalf of all beings, including of course, yourself.
*this post is adapted from the teachings of Pema Chodron.