A few years ago, somewhere around one of my more significant birthdays number-wise, I was feeling angst over something a friend said or did. Another dear friend, Lisa, turned to me and said something along the lines of being in the second half now, and no longer having to endure anyone or anything that brings negativity into our lives. At first this sat with me like a weight upon my chest; initially, because I disliked the way her reference to the second half of life sounded, but also because I am not one to part with friends easily. I have mastered the idea of forgiving, but never forgetting; which, I suppose, really means never truly absolving anyone, including myself, of whatever the supposed wrongful act was. Yet, here I am a few years later and at any sign of trouble, I am reminded of Lisa’s brilliant adage, as I mull over my options as to the best way to handle what potentially can cause me a sleepless night or two. Letting go is not always easy.
Letting go of friends that through a newer and brighter light appear to not be the comrades I envisioned previously or the worry that runs like trailers for an upcoming horror film is downright difficult. I often find myself spending too much time repeating the yoga instructor’s instructions to let go of what no longer serves us and wonder exactly how she intends for us to do that. If only I could learn to let go the way I learned to cook or write, by watching others do it. If only it were as simple as letting those exhales come out your mouth. Of course, this does not mean I don’t try. I attempt to let go multiple times each and every day of anything that is not, per say, serving me. Whether it be my confusion over the way a recent text message was punctuated; wondering the meaning behind it or the rude check out girl at the grocery store I continue to smile at while pondering what made her so unhappy or the bigger things; like tomorrow my sister will undergo her fifth chemotherapy treatment and I wish there was something more I could do to make this easier for her or one of the countless worries a mother has no matter how old her children are. Some of this, I know, comes from my constant battle with control and wanting to see everyone I love happy; regardless of the logical side, that tells me that it is impossible to control anyone else’s happiness other than my own. You see, reasoning aside, I still find myself on the constant hunt for the ability to let go. I am, however, getting better at it; the dark circles under my eyes inherited, not a sign of anguished nights.
This morning I read about gong meditation. Yesterday I discovered salt therapy. Last week I talked in depth with a friend who regularly practices Transcendental meditation. I have downloaded Headspace to my iPhone. I’ve learned a new meaning to words like acceptance and intention. I have lavender scented candles, room sprays, and hand creams. And, of course, I frequently take long walks and attend yoga classes, where, even on my least flexible days leave feeling a sense of gratitude for coming to the mat, as they say. Yoga undoubtedly stimulates and even encourages a sense of calm that feels pretty great. I have not quite mastered, but am definitely better at, talking myself out of a full-blown anxiety attack. I still listen to friends and family with a whole heart and genuinely hope I can be the ear they need and feel for them appropriately. I rely on Ujjayi breathing when necessary, and sometimes believe I am harboring a secret when I feel it working on a crowded subway or waiting for my flu shot. The truth is though, none of this needs to be clandestine. Actually, it should be shouted from the rooftops, added to the water, and taught to toddlers so they can use this skill for a lifetime. We, humans, I mean, should all know how to let go of whatever it is that doesn’t serve us and practice it daily. Can you envision a world free of fear, worry, and anger? “Worry,” I recently read, “does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
As I continue on my journey to live in a world free of the stuff that doesn’t serve me; I hope to cross paths with many indulging on a similar course. I may be in that second half, but I am resigned to the fact that that is just fine, because it is my objective to make it the more peaceful half. Here’s to the courage and strength to let go of those things that do not serve us.