“You can only lose what you cling to”
I have a picture in my head of letting go… I see a hand slipping out of another hand… moving forward with confidence, maybe not yet with competence, but knowing that it can be done.
Why is it so difficult to let go? Letting go of comfort, control, habit, security, youth, dependency…
I was faced with letting go of my kids. First, it was my daughter. It was involuntary, hard – even cruel. The biggest lesson there was that, sometimes there is no reason, no answer to the “why”; it just is what it is. My motto became “no attachment to the outcome”. It became a war cry, a meditation, a prayer for the long, dark nights. But it prepared me for the letting go of my son.
His going was much more gentle, mutual and peaceful. Still sore, he has just left for Stellenbosch; close enough for weekends, far enough not to be able to daily nurture him. It made me realise that timing is everything. There is a time for nurturing, for close mothering and then there is a time to let go…with love…to start a new relationship. This relationship is based on respect, trust and hopefully, maturity.
David Whyte talks about conversations that we should stop having. It becomes very tough when you need to stop “hovering”. You are holding yourself and your child back. The Buddhist philosophy is cemented on the principle of no attachment; a very difficult principle to ‘live’. Maybe it is because an attachment can be followed with expectations. Expectations of how someone should behave, outcomes, life…this sets us up for disappointment. Phillip Moffitt says expectations are always the result of a “wanting mind”. He advocates to rather focus on possibilities. It opens up opportunities, it is present time. I try and apply it in relation with my kids. Hafiz’s beautiful poem sums it up:
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
“You owe me.”
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.”
For more reading on the “Tyranny of Expectations” by Phillip Moffitt: http://dharmawisdom.org/teachings/articles/tyranny-expectations