Bring on the Tabula Rasa!

Let go, let go, let go… How many of my musings over the years, indeed, over decades, have been about letting go?

It is one thing to know what I should do and quite another to be able to do so with any consistency.

This morning I had a sudden aha! The reason it’s so hard to let go of things is that when you toss all those things away, you find yourself in a precarious, unsettled, and uncertain place, ungrounded, with no tethers to hold on to. A tabula rasa, with no organizing principle.

It’s disconcerting. That was the real “aha:” Letting go is disconcerting!  It’s not necessarily a bad place, rather, that it’s an uncomfortable one. It feels like an abyss, at least initially.  That’s the thing to figure out: how to let go without feeling like you’re drowning in nothingness.

If I don’t hold on to those things, what do I hold on to?

The voices of wisdom talk about a “ground beneath the ground” of our attachments, an untouchable place of peace within. They counsel us to abide in our essence, our heart and soul, letting things “of this world” drift in and out while we remain in a place of inner peace.

I find that hard to do.

I want something tangible to hold on to, touchable comfort in lonely times, and palpable reassurance when the path ahead is obscured and murky. I hang on to imaginary tethers as if they were real because doing so is comforting. They create a sense of security, albeit it a false and ephemeral one. Not exactly a spiritually enlightened point of view, but that’s the truth of it.

Realizing what motivates me to hang on to things helps me reframe the challenge of letting go into the more relevant challenge of getting increasingly comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty, thus creating openness and space for new things. If I can do that, I won’t feel the need to hold on so tightly in the first place. Hanging on is limiting. I need to remember the advantages of being empty, so I will feel less tempted to try to control things.

I feel certain that the Universe has more plans for me than I can possibly imagine. Letting go of my small visions opens doors to possibilities that lie beyond them. Here’s to having the courage and vision to become empty in order to get refilled.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll let go of worrying about letting go.