Some life events cause a distinct chasm – on one side stands “before,” on the other side “after.” The deeper the chasm, the more desperately we my try to get back to “before.” Chronic illness, a break-up, addiction, the death of a loved one. When we can’t accept a situation we might try frantically to change it, reeling a against it, trying to control the outcome. We might be so intent on fighting the reality of the situation that we inadvertently cause more pain.
Letting it be allows moments of peace during a situation that we can’t, but may desperately want to escape. It allows a brief respite to consider the possibility of feeling reconnected… to a loved one, a community, to the here-and-now….
Has anyone ever told you to “let it go” when you were in deep pain? Did this feel like a slap in the face, cause a surge of anger, leave you feeling misunderstood, even more alone? …. if this has happened to you, you’re actually not alone.
If you have experienced this reaction in the face of the well-meaning “let it go” advice-giver, chances are you are experiencing a grief so deep that letting go is not an option. This is where letting it be comes into play.
Last spring I attended a weekend retreat on grief with a friend who experienced the sudden loss of her son. We talked about the awful slap in the face of being told to “let it go.” My friend said, “Letting it go implies it’s gone … but it’s not gone. Letting it be is coming to terms with what is and not beating yourself up over what was or what could have been.”
In contrast to letting it go, Letting it be builds a bridge over the chasm of before and after, as opposed to futile attempts to fill in the chasm. Letting it be allows moments of peace during a situation that we can’t, but may desperately want to escape. It allows a brief respite to consider the possibility of feeling reconnected… to a loved one, a community, to the here-and-now…. to something bigger. Letting it be comes and goes, but it presents a moment of mindfulness…. and the possibility of a good life in spite of the chasm.
For most of us the ability to Let it Be comes and goes. With small doses of letting it be we can start to build an altered, but good life, perhaps even enjoying the journey. Like power and powerlessness, letting it be makes room for real peace, one moment, sometimes one second at a time.
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!