Sensing a whisper of warmer weather, and perhaps partly due to the possibility of shedding heavy clothes in favor of lighter garments, we think of letting go, cleaning or cleansing, making room for the new emerging growth promised by the season to come.
As I have said before, life experience is a metaphor for so many layers of communication. Assistance with “Clearing Clutter” is essentially a new profession. We have awakened to the value of letting go and the great feeling of possibility and freedom that letting go of outgrown belongings brings.
However, if you have ever engaged in letting go of belongings, or letting go of any kind, you most likely have also experienced the paradox of authentically wanting to have life be simpler by dealing with less, and yet the often very great difficulty of actually choosing which things to let go and even then, actually letting them go.
The promise of freedom from the constraints of the past is greater than the fear of loss.
What we keep: things, relationships, patterns of behavior, even when no longer useful, are attachments to a way of living that is confronted when we actually get in process of letting them go to make room for the new. This is the process of growth and development: being confronted with old patterns of operating that have served us very well in creating the successful life we have now – successful in that it is familiar and we know how to function, how to navigate, how to manage ourselves in certain ways. When we decide to “simplify”, we are basically challenging the old ways of operating, and there is a risk of vulnerability that is revealed; a vulnerability that we have spent much time weaving a protective web of defenses/clothing/books/dust bunnies/weight, etc., etc. around it to feel safe.
Not letting go is experienced as being “stuck”. When we are stuck, letting go looks like it takes courage. When we actually choose to allow ourselves the grace of vulnerability, letting go no longer feels like it takes courage, it is then experienced as simply needing a game plan, a strategy, to fulfill on simplifying.
This of course doesn’t let us off the hook of dealing with the challenges of letting go, the challenge of accepting being vulnerable, but the promise of freedom from the constraints of the past is greater than the fear of loss.
Years ago, at the Temple where I practiced my spirituality, a new asphalt driveway was poured – right around early March. Each week for a couple of weeks, we could see a small cracked opening in the asphalt get incrementally larger. Around the third week, a delicate green shoot emerged. In the fourth week, one elegantly perfect daffodil opened its lovely blossom.
When we put our foot on the Path, at first we are afraid of being vulnerable. Yet as we continue, we become fearless, and retain the vulnerability … becoming then both the lion and the lamb.
image: "Detail: Amsterdam Hydrangea", by Laura Basha, 2014