“As I started to picture the trees in the storm, the answer began to dawn on me. The trees in the storm don’t try to stand up straight and tall and erect. They allow themselves to bend and be blown with the wind. They understand the power of letting go. Those trees and those branches that try too hard to stand up strong and straight are the ones that break. Now is not the time for you to be strong, Julia, or you, too, will break.” – Julia “Butterfly” Hill
Many of us find it difficult to relinquish control of the situations we face in our lives. We often feel compelled to action, as if it were in our power to control them and thus determine the outcomes. We exert so much time and energy attempting to “stand up strong and straight” during the winds and storms we face in life that we fail to “understand the power of letting go.” As Julia points out, the secret here is to simply let go–for although it seems contrary to logic, we hold fast by letting go.
Perhaps you have heard the saying about if we love something, we should let it go, and if it comes back to us we will know whether it “belongs” to us. So much of our discontent and dissatisfaction comes from our unwillingness to let go of trying to control things and bring about just the results that we think should occur. Additionally, in letting go, we allow things that have a hold over us to pass away. Hatred and anger, for example, allow things that should be put in the past to occupy our minds in the present moment. Similarly, the pain from a difficult break-up can only be forgotten in our letting go.
By letting go of our attempts to maintain control over every aspect of our lives, we can relieve much of the stress within our lives, and we can find a faith within ourselves that will provide us assurance, sustenance, and nourishment that things will work out right–much like the roots of a great oak tree. There are so many things that we cannot control and that we will never know, yet we are sometimes still not willing to admit this. Once we do, however, we will find life to be much more enjoyable, because the burden of controlling the world will not be carried upon our shoulders.
Relinquish the desire to control so much of life today… just let some of it go.
Questions to consider:
What do you try to control? Are they all things that can be controlled?
How would it be to no longer feel a need to control things?
What kinds of things can you let go of?
For further thought:
“We find by losing. We hold fast by letting go. We become something new by ceasing to be something old. This seems to be close to the heart of that mystery. I know no more now than I ever did about the far side of death as the last letting-go of all, but now I know that I do not need to know, and that I do not need to be afraid of not knowing. God knows. That is all that matters.” – Frederick Buechner