on the rocks, with salt: the sweet space of letting go

[slideshow]It was a mad week.  I had ten toes in 11 ponds and the stretch was beyond uncomfortable, it was cricking painful.  Sunday evening I could have happily kicked someone (anyone, really) in the face.  Thankfully for my neighbors, green juice and some silent horizontal time helped ease that.

So when Monday I had an opportunity for an outdoor bevvie (which turned to four) with one of my dearests, I slurped that up faster than he could order a Mexican bulldog.

Later in my apartment, I got on the phone with bestie willclark who has moved to San Francisco and somehow found myself crying.

No, it wasn’t crying.  It was Summer Snot-A-Palooza 2011. 

I was exhausted; I was super tipsy even after a half-hour bike ride home from Midtown West; I was spewing truths that only come from a: in Belvedere-soda-two-margaritas-and-a-glass-of-pinot-grigio veritas kinda way.

On the other side of the country, willclark held the space for me to do this.  He did not run.  He did not try to get off the phone.  He did not try to calm or coax me.  He just held space.  And because I could feel him hold space, I let go.  I let go when I did not even know I needed to let go.  For two days I had been carrying intense neck pain, I thought it was because my network chiropractor was in Fiji.  This morning, eyes puffed bleary from tears and Blockhead margaritas, the neck pain was gone.

I get asked this so often.  How do I surrender?  How do I let go?

I don’t know.  It is the hardest thing in the world.

But I think the other side of the coin is faith.

Because why do we hold on when we know something is not serving us?

It’s because we’re terrified.  Terrified that we will evaporate if we let those emotions take us over.

Terrified of what stands on the other side of letting go, because in holding on, at least we know what this looks like.  It may not be what we want, it may not be what we deserve, it may be keeping us comfortably small, but at least this is “the devil we know,” right?

Sometimes we don’t even know we’re holding on.  I couldn’t have pinpointed that I needed a good cry.  I knew I was overworked; I thought I needed a massage.  The release that came was not something I would, or even could, have chosen, but when it came, it was beyond relief.  It shifted me.  It shifted me back towards whole.

We hold on, unconsciously of course, perhaps because we are overworked or tired, but more often we hold on because we can’t guarantee the world’s benevolence.  Is it ok to let go?  Will I be supported toward something greater if I leave the job, apartment, relationship?

On the highest level, when we speak of enlightenment, it is, letting go of your self.  Your sense of your body, your life, your conditioning, your mind, anything you thought you were.   It is letting life take you over, and that is absolutely terrifying for mind, body, heart, ego… unless… unless you have faith… and space.

If we believed in the ultimate good, truly, we would never hold on.  This is enlightenment: being incapable of being anywhere but the present.  Being comfortable with what is, and never needing to hold on to any moment for longer than it’s worth.  The gift of that Realization can only be given.  The space needs to be held and we release to that space, we have the faith, you might call it devotion, to the munificence of that space.

But even aside from faith.  Even aside from benevolence, there is evolution.  So no matter how hard we try to hold onto something, at some point, if we are not willing to let go, it will be taken from us.

willclark told me on the same mascara and margarita tear-filled phone call that his friend, the terrific theatre actress Lauren English, who I don’t know personally although we swim in the same theatre circles, took these pictures (above) of a sign in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Just as she took the photo, the sign blew off.  So, here in a captured moment of grace, is the whole story.

Signs tell us to let go.

You can call it the flow, divine will, God, nature or evolution.

You can have faith in it or not and you have the choice to believe in its inherent benevolence… or not.

But here’s something that’s sure as shootin’:

If we don’t consciously choose to let go, one day a wind will come by and tear us away and we will float through Williamsburg gutters or sip in margarita tears on our chaise, but

life will move us.

In that, there is no choice.

Instead, we can embrace the release.

There is sweetness in that relief.

I tell you just as much as I tell myself.
There is sweetness, relief and benevolence.
It is there.  It is always there.