The other night I was driving home with Jack and the sun was starting to set. Jack was getting upset because he didn’t want it to be night time, that meant it would be time for bed soon, and he wanted to go visit his cousins instead of sleeping. We were set to go to his cousins house the next day, so I told him he had to let the sun set otherwise he wouldn’t get to see him. He got mad and wanted it to be time to visit right then, but I said if we visited at this time then he wouldn’t get to see them for very long, because everyone had to go to sleep soon.
We hold onto things and ideas we want very tightly. We know what we want to do, and we want it to happen now. We can see the good things, we just aren’t there yet. And going through and waiting is always hard. And when what we have to wait through is the darkness, which can be unpredictable it’s even harder.
Sometimes it feels like the thing we want to happen. The thing is we have to allow that to be an option. We have to let go of the day, we have to let the sun set, and make it through the night if we ever want to see a new day. If we never move into the night, if we settle for less than the best, then we make it harder on ourselves. If we hold on and force things to fit inside a mold that they don’t really belong in, the mold will eventually break or the things inside of it will. We have to fight for things, and we have to know what we want, but we have to let things be as well. The sun sets for a reason. Nothing would survive without the night. We couldn’t strengthen our roots, we would turn brittle and break if we didn’t have the nights to cool the skies. And even though the dark can be scary, it also has a beauty that’s nearly unsurpassed. We can see more of the universe in the dark than we can in the day. We can use that time to hone our dreams, to find our path. But only if we let the sun set on today.
While I was looking around for gifts for father’s day today, I asked my son what he wanted to get for his grandpa. And he said camping stuff. I decided that sounded as good as any ideas I had, even though I think the last (and only) time we camped I was around 10 years old. Nonetheless, my dad had promised to take all of the grandkids camping this summer, and well, what better encouragement is there? So we were going down the aisles and looking for stuff, and Jack kept picking out things that were really big and would be heavy and hard to carry. I started talking to him about the importance of traveling light, and although he was able to make a pretty good argument for bringing a bike to ride on so they could carry extra stuff, it wouldn’t be enough stuff for the kayak and scooter he wanted to bring along as well. I tried to explain that sometimes it’s important to remember that we just need the essentials to get by, because when we have too much, it weighs us down. Then I realized that’s what I would write about today!
The concept applies so well to life. It’s so easy to get bogged down by everything that we carry with us, that we forget how nice and light and easy it is to travel without all the junk. Whether we are harboring fear, worry, unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy, anxiety – all of those negatives have a tendency to weigh us down. When we get upset and end up at a dead end in life, it’s really hard to turn around and see that there’s another path – or even a way over the wall – when we are walking our path with too much weight. If we are having to drag ourselves through life, we will end up with a whole lot more scars and bruises than we will if we are able to walk upright, and run and jump and turn around where necessary.
We all hit walls. We all have bumps in our roads. We are broken down by the streets that are covered by the things that are trying to hold us back and stop us from moving. If we want to get anywhere worth getting to, we have to do so without all of the negative weighing us down. We have to feel freedom and be light on our feet. Quick to think, to see ways out. It’s a way of thinking that matters drastically. Looking at the positive. Removing the negative. Becoming adaptable and pliable so that we can handle what life throws at us. Life is never fair. But that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve and be more instead of giving in and becoming less. If life is going to be uneven, make it so that you achieve more than you think you should. Make it so that you experience more good things by doing and giving and being pliable to your situations. We can accomplish what we want to accomplish. We have to open. We can’t be weighed down by fear or any other negatives. It closes us off. It changes us, just like the positives change us. We have to choose which we want to emphasize. Whether we want to constantly struggle on our path or we want to travel light. There are already struggles we have to face. What’s the good in adding more for ourselves?
Instead, let’s travel with the essentials. The things we need to get our goals accomplished. The things that help us deal with life’s unbalanced paths, and lead us to a place of success and hope.
We were watching the Queen’s Jubilee Concert tonight, and Paul McCartney was singing “Let It Be” and Jack recognized it as the Beatles. He said that was his favorite Beatles song, and I agreed. Normally I just indulge him, but in this case it was true. I love “Let It Be” and though I find it excessively difficult to distinguish favorites most of the time, and even moreso when there are so many great songs to choose from, “Let It Be” has been my favorite Beatles song since I first heard it.
It was written at a time when there was lots of turmoil going on in their personal and professional lives. They disbanded shortly after, and the song is sort of an anthem to the end. And it got me thinking about how life has to move in waves. Things have to end regularly for us to continue on in our lives. Friendships end. Relationships end. Parental roles change. Jobs change. The tide continuously turns and churns. And we have to be able to let go of those things that will inevitably come to an end. And we need to let go of those things that we are allowing to hold us back. When we look back over the years we can see just how quickly life does move. And if we aren’t moving with it, it’s easy to feel left behind. Our friends and family move on to other things. Our focuses change. They grow as life grows. Our interests change. Our habits change. Life in its nature is full of letting go.
Distinguishing between what to hold onto and what to let be can be difficult. We have to work for the things we want to keep. We have to work on ourselves. Work on our relationships. And work on our careers. But we have to be aware of what it is in our lives that we haven’t let go of that may be holding us back. Sometimes it’s as simple as an argument that we are holding a grudge over. Sometimes it’s a turn down a path we didn’t plan do go down. It can be holding out simply because we don’t want to be wrong. Whatever the case, when we are holding on to things that are holding us back it makes it nearly impossible for us to be happy in our lives. We have to learn to let go and let it be. It’s funny, because there is a tremendous freedom in letting go and letting it be. I have never found more peace in life than when I finally let go of the things that were holding me back the most whether it was through forgiveness or simply no longer holding out and giving up who I wanted to be for a relationship, the freedom that accompanied finally letting go was amazing. We can do things to help ourselves. We can do things to learn to let it be. And it’s important that we take the time to do them. Because no matter what you are searching for or fighting for, there will be an answer, if you just let it be 🙂
I also want to thank the following bloggers for nominating me for the following awards…I do appreciate all of the kindness you all have shared with me on this blog journey! 🙂
The Reader Appreciation Award
Thanks for writing award
One of the most important things I’ve come to realize is that the only power we actually have is over ourselves. By this I mean it is impossible to make anyone else do something that they don’t want to do or be something they aren’t willing to be. They have to consent as well. They have to be open and willing as well. And there isn’t anything that I can do to force this. With my nephews and my son it was easy to be open to their love. It was easy to trust that I wanted to love them and wanted them in my life. When it comes to other kinds of relationships, both friendships, but more importantly with intimate relationships it is a lot more difficult for me to be willing to be open. I’m not sure that it hasn’t gotten harder since learning that I can’t make someone love me. It simply has to be something that they choose and something that I have to trust. Although I also find it a little bit easier, as well, because I’m less confused about what needs to happen and what I want in order to make anything happen. And I think that knowledge is extremely beneficial.
But the aspect that has been on my mind lately is how difficult it can be to have to let go. We can’t force others to do well if they aren’t going to choose to. We can’t make our kids do well in school if they don’t want to. We can’t make them socialize with the people we would prefer, or date or marry who we would prefer. We can’t make the people we love have the life we think they should have. And letting go of what we want can be extremely difficult. We can’t live anyone’s life for them. We have to let people make mistakes. And watching that happen with no control over it is hard under any circumstance – parent, child, friend, significant other. So in the end all we can really control is ourselves. And letting go of that need to change the paths that others are on is something that we have to do for ourselves. It doesn’t mean we have to leave them alone, but in some cases that is what’s best. It doesn’t mean we can’t encourage them, or offer assistance. But we have to be willing to allow them to make their own decisions, because no one responds well to excessive pressure. The pot will always boil over in those cases. Excessive worrying is just as traumatic, only we are hurting ourselves. Looking at ourselves, understanding our role, learning how we can best approach the situation in a way that is beneficial for both people is the only way for anything worthwhile to emerge. We have to use the power that we have over ourselves in order to help others who we want to help. We can’t force others to do anything, but we can make the right choices for us.