“Let go… or be dragged” is an American proverb that whimsically speaks a very powerful truth. In my experience, the practice of consciously letting go resides at the very heart of changing gracefully. The essential truth is – things are going to change! We cannot stop the process of change from happening, so our work is to find out how to go with it and flow with it so we don’t find ourselves being dragged through life trying desperately to cling to that which no longer serves us.
I discovered recently that evidence of this profound truth has literally been around me all of my life. I am a native Floridian and grew up walking on the beach searching for shells. When I returned home for Easter I took another walk and found myself almost instinctively looking down by my feet, seeking the perfect specimen to put in my pocket and bring to my altar. As I looked at all of the different colors and shapes and sizes, the words of a song by Karen Taylor-Good began to ring in my mind: “Shells are little homes, that once fit but were outgrown, little lives that moved on becoming larger selves.” It was a true revelation as I allowed this truth to wash over me. Every seashell washed up on that shore represented letting go. Sea creatures will live in a shell so long as it fits and serves them well and, as soon as it does not, they leave that shell behind and move to another that is a better fit. What a concept!
As I reflect back, I discover that the reason I clung to those things is that they felt safe in some way.
In my life I have had to work at mastering the great wisdom of those sea creatures. There have been times when I have gracefully let go of a job, relationship, habit or belief that no longer fit or served me. Then, there have been those OTHER times… times when I have held on for dear life and stayed in situations or continued with behaviors that were not at all in my highest good.As I reflect back, I discover that the reason I clung to those things is that they felt safe in some way. They were familiar and comfortable and in some cases I was allowing them to define me. Each time I held on too long, I ended up getting dragged uncomfortably to my next phase of being. The holding on would result in pain and heartache and sometimes even sickness. Whenever I let go easily and with conscious intention, it would result in incredible blessings.
So how do we know when it is time to let go? The only true and unwavering answer I know to that question is to connect with Divine guidance and ask. We are always in connection with Spirit and every answer we ever seek is found in that connection. We can access this limitless source of answers through the activity of prayer and meditation. As we get quiet and listen, we will know without question if the right next step is to let go. Remember the deep and profound words Kenny Rogers heard from a gambler while riding on a train… ”You’ve got to know when to hold em and know when to fold em.” Preach it, brother….preach it!