Love is in the Letting Go

Sometimes love is in the letting go. 

 

Think about an embrace. 

 

There's the approach, eyes connected, arms extended. 

The embrace itself, holding close. Warm, connected.

And the letting go. 

 

It's not a “good hug” if one person holds it for too long, right? 

The embrace is dynamic, an intuitive cueing off each other's interest and energy. It’s mutually enjoyed and celebrated, or it is a mismatch.

Non-attachment is an often avoided aspect of love.

We talk about loving without conditions, but we spend very little time sanding down the edges of our manifold conditions around those we love. In fact, we tend to think of love as attachment. But just as when we get attached to ideas of ourselves, who we are “supposed” to be and what we “should” do, these projected additions to the persons we love are toxic to the flow of energy within and between us.

We often want those we love to fit our images of them. We love aspects of them and resent or reject other aspects. This is not love, but if we were honest, we spend much time justifying our conditions, expectations, and various other elements of “attachment” instead of whole-heartedly and open-handedly loving those we say we care about.

Whether the attachment shows up in the form of a partner or spouse not fitting the “mold” you have made for them in your mind, or it shows up in your frustration and anger in lost friendships or in differing levels of interest, the common element is that YOU are holding onto something that isn’t real. You made it up. You added it to the reality of who that person is and what your relationship is.

Love is in the letting go.

Letting go of the images of others we have fashioned. Letting go of the compulsion to exert our will into the lives of others. Letting go of the people themselves, holding space for their flourishing (and their failure!), none of which is to our credit! Letting go of the “shoulds” we have self-imposed about what our relationships are supposed to mean, look like, and be for! Letting go of having to, and opening up to generous contribution and receptivity.

When we let go, we can begin to practice relating to one another in love.

While we’re holding on, we are loving neither ourselves nor those we seek to care for.

As the Teacher puts it,

“There is a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.”

Love is in the letting go.

Today, observe within yourself if there are places where you are holding on.

  • Ask yourself: What do these feelings and fears connect to? WHY am I feeling resistant/justified/frustrated/[insert-reactive-adjective-here]?

  • Offer yourself: The space to feel, to listen to the inner cacophony, and to validate the feelings without justifying any kind of reaction. Hold non-judgment for yourself.

  • Offer the other: The space to be completely themselves, however they are. How can you let them/your expectations/your images of them go?

May you experience love and peace within and without,

Ben