Letting Go

Letting Go

  • Posted by Kaleigh Malinowski
  • On May 15, 2018
  • Comments

I spent the weekend in the desert with my girl crush. When I say that, what I actually mean is that I spent the weekend in the desert with 200+ women who were doing outdoorsy, adventurous things and my girl crush was there. To be even more transparent, I saw her from far away a few times and I nervously talked to her one and a half times. And you guys—she’s cool. Think, Lara Croft meets Chris Farley meets Wim Hof meets someone—really, REALLY kind. Anyway, she was innocently standing by a picnic table getting something done when I gathered up my shy-girl courage, walked over and said “hi… ” (I said more than “hi”, but that’s how I started the conversation (pretty good, right?)). We hugged—I gushed a little, and then I told her how I had seen on her Instagram feed awhile back that she’d bought some cool handmade earrings from Uki Hana Jewelry and that I had immediately followed suit. Obviously, I was playing it way cool—Doh!—I proceeded to dig my toe into the sand and look around full-up of the question, “Why are you the way you are, Charlotte?!”, but my awkwardness was no thing to her and she eagerly tucked her hair behind her ear, “Oh, yeah!” I’ve got them on now!”, AND she showed me her bracelet from the same handmade deliciousness. Now, what you don’t know is that this woman was about to lead a troupe of ladies SUP-ing down the Colorado River. I know exactly how much that jewelry costs. I know that there’s a decent chance that all could be lost in the name of adventure, and I became fully aware that I was wearing my play-it-safe-cheap-o-outside-Target jewelry and the YOLO within me was at an all time low. I mumble something at this point about how awesome it was that she just didn’t care (Saints be praised that I didn’t say, “YOLO!” and try to deliver an overly exuberant high-five) to which she replied, “Ha! Gosh, I’ve lost so many things… In fact, now I just make it a practice to go through everything I own once year and get rid of half of it. Even if I still love it. Just, ya know, to keep my life flowing.”

“…To keep my life flowing…” She’d gone and unwittingly inspired again, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I came home from my weekend adventure and immediately got to work; closets and drawers, dusty boxes under the bed full of mysterious, marvelous and mostly useless memorabilia… all of it ransacked with reckless abandon.

I’m sitting, looking at the pile right now. The following is a short list of things I have to show for the ransacking: a purple, sparkly mermaid tail (Mom gave it to my for Easter last year… I’m still 12 years old), SpongeBob SquarePants leggings (not officially, but as close as it gets without the trademark), worn out purses, lots of clothes that I sort of like, a pile of stilettos, old shiz from old boyfriends, Scentsy stuff from when I could stand the smell of cinnamon roll-buttercream-cherry blossom blast (not technically one of the scents, but they do seem to be getting more creative these days). Anyway, there’s a big pile, and it feels great to get rid things that aren’t bringing joy and flow into my life.

(I’m not sure how, or perhaps I’m too lazy to find a creative way to segue into the part below. Here I am telling you that we are segueing into the part below…)

The Second Noble Truth of Zen Buddhism states, “The origin of all suffering is attachment.” When we attach ourselves to things, to people, to circumstances, when our happiness is dependent on “a certain way,” we sign ourselves up for suffering. But, if you haven’t noticed, suffering is part and parcel of this human experience. We can philosophize and preach until the sun goes down on the virtues of non-attachment. The living of it is a completely different experience. It’s fairly easy when the application is to things. We know the value of “things,” of “stuff”—nothing. The order of the universe is entropy. But what about when it comes to people? When someone leaves us? Breaks our hearts? Crosses the bar… How do we pick up and move forward? Let go and move on? Resist clinging to the past and continue to flow? I’m sitting here thinking of the answer to that and I don’t know that I have it. Which, may cause you to wonder, “Where did they find this girl to write this article?! She doesn’t even have all the answers!” Honestly, I’m wondering that same thing myself. Here’s my best thought:

I was reading from one of my favorite writers this afternoon. She was telling the story of when she was married and her husband read his vows to her. He referenced a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh, “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” I think that’s it. I think that the answer lies somewhere within that. Somewhere in loving in such a way that people (and things) are free to be, free to come, free to go. There is no attachment. There is no clinging. Contrary to what some may think, this concept is in diametric opposition to apathy. This is deep, deep love. That doesn’t mean we can’t feel sad when things, people and circumstances come into our sphere and pass out of it again. We aren’t dead inside. But perhaps realizing that with the leaving we are not left with gaping holes, but are found with space for the flow of life. Something else always comes. We are never left wanting.

Letting go, with the deepest love, I think, is the answer.

BY CHARLOTTE EVANS
YOGA INSTRUCTOR AT THE FRONT CLIMBING CLUB