The time has come to close one of the most exciting and memorable chapters in my life. Traveling through Central America, (a journey I didn’t think would ever happen) allowed me the opportunity to grow and open my heart in ways I never thought possible. One of the most important lessons on this trip, as cliche as it may sound, was learning to let go. Releasing. Whether a person, thing(s) or emotion. And I had to let go of all three. You can imagine how many times I’ve sang the song “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen to myself.
Somewhere along the way I read, that to love and let go can be the same thing. And letting go means diving in. But if your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice or clinging in it, it is not true love. Ex squeeze me? Wherever it is I was supposed to be diving into with letting go, I should back away right now! It sounds way too complicated. It’s much easier to just attach yourself and cling to the idea of love. Isn’t that what we’re conditioned to do? Connect ourselves to someone. Partner, parent, friend. Looking for some sort of indication that we too are loved.
I wondered. What exactly is love? And how can it be the same as letting go? Love by definition is an intense feeling of deep affection. Mmm.. it sure feels to be more than that. I decided to explore this more.
A lot of movies, songs, art and poems talk about love as a need for possessing. As if by not having it you can’t survive. Or that by admitting to love someone you admit to having a lot to lose (as one TedTalk speaker noted). I disagree. It is the complete opposite for me. By admitting you love someone knowing you may have to let them go someday, helps you obtain an unrestricted freedom. Don’t you see. By knowing and accepting that that person may not be with you tomorrow. Allows you to cherish every moment even more. You possess nothing, and gain everything.
That’s not to say letting go can’t be a sorrowful experience. Because it is and it hurts for a bit. The first time I realized the difference between attachment and non attachment. Was the first time I decided to trust someone with my whole self, the good and the bad. Allowing them in, through the process of losing everything I owned and other very emotional moments. In addition to letting them go as well. After many cookies later, ok and pie. Maybe some ice cream too. I realized that it’s not how much you trust the other person with your love. But how much you trust yourself to love unconditionally. Letting go of every attachment, discrimination, prejudice or clinging you may have for others or oneself.
Love is not just a deep affection. It is a limitless connection to and complete acceptance of myself and others. A boundless reserve of empathy. Expanding with every new experience. I now close this chapter and eagerly await the beginning of the next. The adventure continues.