As Pearl and I briskly strode our 4 miles early this morning, in the cool 60ish degree temps, the Muse feigned quietude, as I enjoyed the spectacular morning light; mother nature's melodious voice cheering us on as we climbed hills and sang and chanted and huffed and puffed along the way. I've been noticing this about Pearl, lately, and she seems to be noticing it about me, too - all this huffing and puffing!
Well, as is often the case, the Muse didn't remain quiet for long. As my mind considered the day ahead and I stepped out of comfortable, familiar worlds, into unknown yet noticeably irritating ones, the Muse spoke to me about letting go, and reminded me of that exercise I've sometimes used when doing group work around death and dying. It's one I learned during my hospice patient volunteer training back in 2009. It hit me like a ton of bricks when they used it during our training and I always find it to be a valuable tool in working with the dying, or even with those as yet undiagnosed ones willing to consider their death for the sake of learning to live joyfully until such time arises.
I won't share the exercise here, so as not to ruin it for those who might join me in a group workshop, but what it got me thinking about this morning, is worth noting. As is more often the case than not, as soon as I took a peek at my newsfeed, there were several posts from friends discussing this very uneasy art of letting go that we hear so much about, and that was on my mind this morning! Letting go of homes, loved ones, ancient histories and memories, cherished treasures etc.
What the Muse directed me to is the realization of how often we decide it's time to let go of things, and we set about choosing what we'll let go of. Well, that's a good start. But the tough brand of letting go is having things suddenly stripped us by the hand of life, when we least expect it, when we least can handle it, when we least can imagine we'll ever be able to wade through the muck and mire and come out on the other side.
This is the essence of letting go: releasing the notion that us choosing what to let go of and when, will ever grant us the serenity of accepting what we cannot control, while watching everything we know and love be swept away.
An old adage would have us believe that practice makes perfect - HA! At its very best, practice makes more practice. And we're fortunate to have it!
The invitation is to leave it alone. To let life be. To know yourself as being lived. That is what is happening here. Life is alive as you, through your breath, through your being. Don't look for it elsewhere. It does you and undoes you, over and over again. You are not the doer. Stop claiming that you are, and your relentless despair of knowing you are not, will dissolve. The belief in the doer, in the future, in something rich and magical beyond this place, is what deadens you, and crushes your heart. The belief in something greater than this has held you captive, left you for dead. And yet you fear death. The only death you will ever know is this lifeless longing. Question these beliefs, awaken from them, and live it out loud. Then you will know yourself as boundless life, as freedom, and your body will age and die fully alive, without regret, endlessly beautiful.
Analisa Domenica is a naturalist minister and mentor, in private practice as a Doula for living and dying. She offers private mentoring sessions, end-of-life preparation & transition support, bereavement, home death, funeral, and natural burial guidance, and laying-on-of-hands for comfort care and pain release. Analisa joyfully celebrates weddings and memorials, according to your faith or secular tradition. She is available to private clients, small groups, and for public education. Find out more about her by clicking here.
'Li' lives and works in Mill Spring, NC, a stone or two's throw from Asheville, NC and Greenville/Spartanburg, SC. She also works globally via phone and zoom. You may reach her by phone at 828.429.0096 or write to her by clicking here.