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Less is More in the Art of Letting Go

Updated on January 10, 2013
Simple pleasure of being
Simple pleasure of being | Source

(Continued from How to Master the Art of Letting Go)

The wide, tree-lined streets were ideal for a boy riding his bicycle in the sixties. I delivered newspapers from mine, throwing them left-handed onto my customers' doorsteps. A bicycle gave me wonderful mobility and freedom to explore beyond the outskirts of the sleepy college town nestled against the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

After high school, I left home and began working with a wildlife photographer on the east coast. We lived four years from a camper van, traveling from Maine to Florida. From there and for the next forty years, at each move I looked ahead to ride a bike again and relive the boyhood feeling. But always my living space could not accommodate a bike, there were no bike paths in the area, or I moved again before a bike could be established.

A Life Change

When Kati and I met in 2000, she was a free spirit, innocent and dedicated to her liberating path. She encouraged me to follow the longings of my heart. I had suppressed many passions over the years and was "stiff as a board" in body and emotions, nearly a zombie and barely functioning. For example, I had almost forgotten the joy of riding a bicycle from my boyhood days until her sons loaned me theirs to pedal the streets of Ashland.

As Kati was in America on a tourist visa and could not stay, we flew first to India and then to Spain for a year. I was separated from my first wife and my feelings for Kati were growing deeper, yet it was difficult to let go of sentimental emotions from my long marriage. Kati also carried baggage from previous marriages. How smoother our way would have been if we had mastered the art of letting go of the past!

With more than forty household moves in the twelve years that followed, I had plenty of practice in letting go. Bicycles that fit me well and were a joy to ride were soon sold as we moved on. When we flew from the Hawaiian Islands to New Zealand, our idea was to carry everything we owned in backpacks. We frequently stripped down our possessions and let go of favorite things. I learned the gift of giving, even if it hurt at times. As we both did this, we realized it wasn't just to 'have less stuff,' but also to be free from emotional attachments and the fear of not having.

Letting Go Artfully

It is not always easy to let go, as the ego can put up a good fight. A person may think they have let go and be surprised when some 'hanging on' shows up in their reactions. When you are no longer attached to the outcome of wanting things, and have mastered the art of letting go, the unexpected gift of life will happen. Being detached does not mean being cold or withdrawn. A person can be free from attachments and still engaged and warm towards life.

The payoff of letting go is that overall I am far more alive, contented, emotionally stable and mentally flexible, and able to feel more deeply. By doing the inner work including letting go in the present moment, I have made space inside to live more from my Higher Self and fulfill my lifelong dreams.

Space is Made for Fulfillng Dreams

They were long-forgotten and unattended dreams held deeply in my heart. For example, I returned to the Idaho river wilderness where I spent a summer as a boy, returned to live on the Maine coast and in my Colorado hometown. I've fulfilled dreams of living on the Hawaiian islands, hitchhiking through New Zealand and experiencing some of the charm and magic of Europe. And in the course of things, I have been able to satisfy longings to explore my sexual, poetic and creative aspects and be more natural, spontaneous and me.

Letting go is an act of will and can start by saying to oneself, "I see the actual, the untainted. I observe deeply my experience as a gift to unfold, as a signal to embrace the moment." If the attachment persists, it may require resolute will and calling on the Higher Self.

Letting Go in the Present Moment

Last night Kati's thoughts wandered to "How can this all work out and what will my life be?" She felt her inner peace change to anxiety. Immediately she told her mind, "Enough of that!" She let go as she realized her anxieties arose from speculations projected from the past and knowing that her thoughts created her reality. She showered her mental drift with the joy of the present moment and went into restful sleep. With the new day, unexpected opportunities that were revealed affirmed the needlessness of lingering in the projection.

In the week this was written, Kati and I decided to sell our bikes, barely used and bought four months ago. Mine was the best I have owned. The freedom of movement and to go further which I once felt over riding a bicycle I now possess internally.

As we walked and talked today, our hearts were happy. We felt complete, with no pain of loss for anything that we have given up. We have gained far more, in peace of mind and overall joyful well-being.

He who binds to himself a joy
doth the winged life destroy.

He who kisses the joy as it flies
lives in eternity's sunrise.

- William Blake

Can letting go be fun?

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