letting go

I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” ― John O’Donohue

We are all having to let go. For some of us, it is simple things- going out to eat, seeing family or friends, visiting a beach.  For some, it is much more than simple luxuries of life. Some have had to go without food,  some have gone without seeing their spouse or parent because they are helping on the front line, and some have had to go without being safe because their home is the most dangerous place to be.  And as I type this, 67,000 Americans have died.  Assuming each of those people were loved by only four people, that is over a quarter of a million people are letting go of a loved one, letting go of the idea of saying good-bye to them, letting go of a funeral or proper burial, letting go of so much more than the simple luxuries of life.

It is heartbreaking and it is scary. Life feels so unkind.

And while I am holding all of that, and feeling all my feelings, I know that there is more beyond the fear and sadness.  How do we continue to let go so we can begin to have healing?  Khalil Gibran’s poem speaks of fear so beautifully.

by Khalil Gibran

It is said that before entering the sea
a river trembles with fear.
She looks back at the path she has traveled,
from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests and villages.
And in front of her,
she sees an ocean so vast,
that to enter
there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.
But there is no other way.
The river can not go back.
Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.
The river needs to take the risk
of entering the ocean
because only then will fear disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,
but of becoming the ocean.

Letting go of fear and the unknown allows us to move into the space we belong- healing, life, and hope.

I keep coming back to John O’Donohue’s Blessing for a Traveler

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

Most of us haven’t left our homes in months, let alone our cities or countries.  However, we are traveling a different path.  The journey we were expecting this year has changed.  We are letting go of what we thought this year was going to be and we are traveling a new road, a road we haven’t seen, one that doesn’t even have a map.

Read this bit again,

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

Letting go allows us to make room for what will be.  As you let go of what could have been and what will be, what is your heart saying to you?  Where is the new place your soul will journey to?




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