The art of letting
“Good things will happen if you let them”, I keep telling anyone who will listen. The next thing I’ll tell them is that there is some hard work involved in the ‘letting’ part.
In order to let good things happen, it is necessary to allow anything to happen. And with ‘anything’ comes ‘everything’, meaning the good, the bad and the ugly. ‘Anything’ is the big pool of uncertainty that I kept circling for years, refusing to take the plunge in case the good wasn’t the thing that was going to happen after all, in case it would be all those other things instead.
In fact, despite having repeated that sentence like a mantra, it didn’t make much sense to me when I finally looked at it closely. How exactly was it necessary to ‘let’ bad and ugly things happen when what I was aiming for was positivity and allowing something good into my life?
The flow of happening
Whilst I was dealing with the fears and resistance, I began to observe that during moments when I wasn’t being terribly vigilant about defending myself against the bad and the ugly, things were in fact happening. Not just small things, and not just the bad and the ugly. Substantial, significant, unmistakenly good things were happening.
So the key learning came from an unexpected direction. I learned that when good things happen to me, I am successfully ‘letting’. From that knowledge I was able to look back to different moments and identify how the letting was actually happening for me: what was the thinking and what did it feel like. Unexpectedly there was no fear there, instead I saw curiosity and willingness to handle whatever would come my way. It surprised me to realise I felt perfectly comfortable, at ease. Like it was no effort at all.
The necessity of acceptance
On the surface it appears that life’s two basic options are to accept that life is full of uncertainty, or to try control the direction of our lives.
If we choose to control, we choose to live under constant fear of losing that control, a limited existence where every step is taken within parameters known to us. It may sound safe in its predictability but when elements of surprise and delight are completely eliminated, how much chance is there for happiness and fulfillment?
If we choose to accept that life is full of uncertainty, we may not have any control over what life throws at us but we do have full control over how we react to it and what meaning we make of it. And whilst we are not able to control whether some of the bad and the ugly will come our way, it is equally certain that we won’t be able to keep the good away either!
The choice is, of course, entirely our own.
What kind of life will be most fulfilling to you: Will you be trying to stay in control, or will you let life happen?