on strength and letting go

In my second (ever) Yoga class, my teacher said something that struck me.

She said “Don’t make this about strength. Make this about letting go”.

It was a statement that was both so obvious and so profound. There I was, gritted teeth and tightened muscles. I was positively exhausting myself in a forward lunge, trying to resist the burning in my calves - struggling to keep myself upright.  But what I really needed was to let go. To stop trying to be strong, and to let gravity do that work.

It reminded me of my life. When I’m faced with a challenge, I try conquering it. I make lists, I explore possibilities, and I try to fix things myself. 

But, I’m beginning to learn – that despite what I think about strength being the solution to every problem – that there is work I cannot do. I can plan. Yes, I can exhaust myself planning for every possible outcome. But there really are times when what I need to do is wait. There is only so much searching one can do. It becomes futile if there's nothing to find.

I know I resist rather than letting go, rather than sinking into that uncomfortable place known as uncertainty. It’s so difficult to have faith that the future is working itself out ... in ways that I cannot foresee nor find if I  go searching myself. 

There is something to be said for gravity and the force that moves mountains with – or without – my strength. 

(photo) on film | Melanie in Big Sur, 2009
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9 comments:

  1. Wow & Awesome. Much needed food-for-thought in my life right now. I love the slant on "letting go" - not as defeatism, but as an exercise in a different sort of strength. Not as "giving up," but as a wise, empowered wild choice in it's own right.

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    1. Kristy, exactly. You said it better in that last sentence than I did in six paragraphs.

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  2. i find myself fighting against letting go all the time. when your first instinct is to fight, to find an answer, to fix things... it certainly can be empowering to make the executive decision to let things happen as they may.

    on a more literal note, it's been so long since i've last been to yoga. but, every time, i find myself shaking & putting forth immense effort not to topple over... & i really do think the answer is letting go & relaxing. but it's just so hard!

    - l

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  3. This is so relevant to what is going on in my life right now that I just want to cry. Everything you said is exactly what I need to and be right now.

    I can't always fix things or make them right again, and accepting that is NOT defeat.

    hugs to you for picking me up today. xo

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  4. So true, thank you. It gets to a point where it is too much to keep trying to frame things under your control and work everything out, sometimes all you can do is let go and feel much lighter for doing so.

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  5. You just wrote out exactly what I needed to hear. I've been holding onto this friendship for so long and finally realized that there was no reciprocation and I'm slowly learning to let go. But boy, is it hard.

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  6. I have no words for how much this resonated with me. So wise.

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  7. I love this post! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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