What if we all just let go?
I’m going to start with that cliché and then continue with the cliché of thoughts that I had when I was walking in the woods. Because that’s what happens when you walk in the woods.
I feel as if I’ve been having the same conversations wherever I go. No matter where, it keeps coming back to the same themes lately. How are we all connected? Do we connect? Can we connect when we connect how we connect? Why do we connect? How many of us are disconnected from ourselves?
I’ll continue along with my clichés as I continued in the woods. Because, as I saw the trees that have been there for longer than I’ve been alive, I looked down to notice beneath my feet the roots on the path I was taking. Creating spaces, rises, twists and turns that guided me.
We look at trees as these massive objects. We see how high they go into the sky, how busy their branches are, how productive their leaves are, how useful they are as homes to the nature that uses them, and then moves on. And while we like to talk about being rooted and grounded and the importance of roots in our growth, we don’t talk about is how those roots create our space and our existence.
Roots form so much more than how long you can stand and against what wind. When a tree begins to spread its roots, its seeking nutrients and water. Sun isn’t the only thing a plant needs to grow. It’s also looking for space. Roots will strangle one another if they’re too tangled. Roots from different types of plants seem to grow next to one another in ways that complement or destroy one another. Roots shape riverbanks, hills, valleys, waterways. Roots are more than just an anchor. They do not exist in isolation. They create form in the world around them.
So I come back to that original theme that keeps popping up in my life lately over and over again. How we connect or disconnect. We often focus on how productive the people around us are or how they come up from the ground that they were planted in. We often look at how they lean against one another, how they move themselves around to survive and fight for whatever sunlight they can get. And while we value their roots for how long they can stand, we don’t pay attention to the world that they are forming.
How does our lack of awareness of where and how we are rooted impact us? More and more of us have just stopped existing here. We exist not only in the world of technology but in worlds of insecurity, fear, anger, paranoia, hatred, isolation. Much of this isn’t new. We’ve always been creatures that focus on our past and our future. We’ve always been creatures that focused on what we lack and how we can get it from another. We’ve always been jealous creatures ready to destroy the world rather than let another live in contentment. We’ve always been creatures who struggle for control.
This is how we felt we needed to create this world in order to feel safe. In doing so we created a world that is completely unsafe for most of us. We somehow created the world in which we don’t exist. We’re trapped inside our minds, living inside of systems that divide and deplete us. We’re trapped inside, always thinking that we need to be better than we are. We’re on a hamster wheel, running towards a goal that is imaginary. In the meantime, we never really stop to look.
I’ll come back to the woods for a moment. There are a lot of times that I go hiking that I pause to observe or wonder about things that are in nature. I have to laugh at the number of times that people think that I’m lost. Because I have no purpose to where I’m heading, except to wonder. I have no focus on destination or no stride to get to the finish of whatever goal I have. I am just taking a moment to enjoy where I am and what I see or hear. It’s really confusing to most people.
Those are the moments that I’m happiest. Those are the moments that time stands still and I remember why we’re here.
When I was younger I misunderstood. I thought that mindfulness would bring me control. That self-awareness would help me control my emotions and my thoughts. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to understand that’s not the point. The point is acceptance and awareness.
To let go.
We’re not here to control this. We’re not here to control each other. We’re not here to do anything , but be aware. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing that I don’t want control. I love my mind as my thoughts wander. I love my feelings as they’re big and small. Even when they hurt very, very bad. I love people as they are. I love to wonder, and all of the experiences that we have good or bad never knowing what will come next. I love the journey.
Moving with intention is not about control
Mindfulness is not about quieting the mind
Peacefulness is not about calming every storm
So I wonder what happens if we just let go. If we let go of our expectations of a world that doesn’t actually exist. If we let go of our expectations of each other, that don’t actually exist. If we allow her roots to weave and bend and grow and have space and find nurturing in whatever way that we need to.
If, as we journey through the path, we feel everything,
we see everything,
we think all that we need to,
and know that the only thing to fear is losing ourself.
What if we just lived, knowing that we could be just as we are today and still find beauty if we just pause to look.
I want this for you. That you see your roots, gnarled, formative, deep, tangled, spread wide or deep, and know that you are a part of shaping this world, my world, as much as I am a part of shaping yours. That you might see the story hidden underground that tells the tales of our connections. Just let go and grow.