Lent and the Strangeness of Letting Go

By Shae Hadden | Bio

I’ve been looking for a way to be free all my life. My entire search has, unfortunately, been focused on the practical aspect of ‘holding on’ to whatever I thought would give me freedom: a belief in some system or way of thinking, money, possessions, favorite books that contained ideas that were ‘liberating’, any activity that loosened up my body and mind, people I loved. But now almost nothing is certain in my life, and a deep desire to let go of my attachments to everything and everyone propels me forward.

This sensation is visceral. It’s like a snake wriggling out of its skin, a baby bird struggling to climb out of the nest. What to do when my whole being wants to do something I thought impossible: drop everything I’ve gathered around me (including my clothes and possessions), take one step to the side, and then begin again…buff naked and unencumbered?

A friend was reminding me this is the time of Lent, a time of letting go of what no longer serves us. For some, the focus is on indulgences or addictions. For others, letting go becomes a much broader, deeper process. For me today, so much could fit the bill: material things that I don’t use or will never use, abusive relationships, agreements I made that don’t work for me anymore, ideas of how I ‘should’ be, what I can accomplish and what my life ‘should’ look like, as well as practices like continuing to accept things or situations I don’t really want, wasting time thinking too much, being afraid.

I’ve been struggling with this ‘shedding of the old’ for the past year. I am afraid to step out into the world and declare who I am, and I’m tired of hanging onto the past. Surrendering to my present overwhelming desire to let go seems to be the best course of action. I’ve declared my intention to move, and have started the process of going through my belongings, discarding what no longer serves, and putting everything in storage for a while. I’ve abandoned my fascination with finding a life partner. I don’t really know where I want to live or with whom. But for the first time in my life, I am fully aware that I am free to go anywhere, do anything and be anyone I want to. This shedding of the ‘old’ is just disclosing the infinite possibilities of life.

God give me the strength and the courage to keep on letting go, and the wisdom to create a life that works for me.

God grant us all the courage, the strength and the wisdom to know what to let go of so that we can create a world that works for everyone.

© 2009 Shae Hadden. All rights reserved.