For years (and years and years) I have been practicing letting go of attachment. Another round of “surrendering to what is” has arisen in my life.

After a string of unfortunate events, my car was totaled by my insurance company. The final demise was a hailstorm while my car was parked outside at the autobody shop waiting for parts to repair a minor dent. Did I mention my last car payment was last month also? S**t! On the other hand, an earth angel offered an impromptu loan of a red 2002 pickup truck for a few weeks. I watch myself swinging in judgment, this is bad, this is good. If I can return to equanimity, that state of mental balance and even-mindedness, I notice I have everything I need. 

My second total knee replacement in 14 months is scheduled for later this month. Aging gracefully requires lots of practice of letting go. Some days are filled with more ease and flow than others. I am engaged in plenty of self-care as I prepare my mind, heart and body for the upcoming rehab and recovery process. There will be a ‘new normal’ as I adjust to less mobility and range of motion. I am grateful for the wonderful support from my chiropractor, healing touch practitioner, medical team, and mindfulness community. In my preparation, I have a goal of putting away some savings as my work will be limited for weeks. I wonder if that intention has any correlation to the check that came from my totaled car? Hmmmmmm. 

Here is an excerpt from my book, Living From the Center Within: Co-Creating Who You Are Becoming, page 77

A Taoist teaching about a farmer who perceived clearly illustrates the observer concept. He attached no reaction or distorted meaning to what was occurring in his life: 

This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to condole over his terrible loss. The farmer said, “What makes you think it is so terrible?” A month later, the horse came home, this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, “What makes you think this is good fortune?” The farmer’s son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, “What makes you think it is bad?” A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. “What makes you think this is good?” said the farmer.  

How would our capacity to stay calm, open, and present be affected if we could observe our life with the Chinese farmer’s clarity? When we develop a witness or observer perspective, we can notice ourselves in a reaction. The witness is like a mirror. It is a neutral observer watching our reactions as if it were looking at an object. Not good or bad, just what is. In the beginning, we may only be able to observe a reaction after the stress response has subsided. As this skill develops, we learn to observe the physical, emotional, and mental stress symptoms as they begin. This gives us the option to relax, avoid or reverse our reactivity and choose an appropriate response.

We are not defined by what we have or don’t have, by what we are capable of or not capable of doing. My daughter reminded me of accepting the impermanence of being human. We are always in a state of continuous change and flux. During October, I recommit to making the most empowered authentic choices possible, doing the best I can amidst letting go and surrendering to what is. 

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