This morning I found myself thinking about a day I spent with my 4-year-old niece. We walked to a park near my house and she ran from tree to tree bestowing hugs and proclaiming her love quietly to the rough bark. She was determined to master the play structure and I helped her climb. Whenever she reached a point that felt too high, too unsteady, I felt her small body tense up, the vibration from her tightening grip moved through her slender limbs to my own body and I could feel her confidence falling like dominoes.
During those shaky moments I held her firmly and said that I had her safe, I wouldn’t let her fall. Sometimes this reassurance was enough for her to rebalance, find a foothold and climb higher still. Sometimes though she found she really had gone too high and she would fall back grateful and laughing into my arms.
Can’t we all relate to joy of a pair of strong arms to fall safely into?
In Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living Pema Chödrön shares with us why she practices Buddhism:
“We can discover the process of letting go and relaxing during our lifetime. In fact, that’s the way to live: stop struggling against the fact that things are slipping through our fingers. Stop struggling against the fact that nothing’s solid to begin with and things don’t last. Knowing that can give us a lot of space and a lot of room if we can relax with it instead of screaming and struggling against it.”
As my mind chewed on this revolutionary approach to life I began to see glimpses of what it would feel like to let go like this. It was both liberating and deeply comforting. I think one of the biggest ways that we resist letting go is by chasing perfection or in another way never reaching to climb higher because we fear failure. Read more »