Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Holding On and Letting Go

Two important actions in life are holding on and letting go. Much of living a fulfilling life involves learning when and how to engage in these two actions.

We learn very early in life to hold on to those we love. Reflexively, a baby will hold tightly to a finger offered. A child learning to walk naturally holds the hand of a parent. Physical holding grows into emotional holding on. At this stage of life, love involves dependence.

As a child grows, the letting go reflex also begins. Learning to walk on one's own means letting go of the safety of a parent's hand. As children grow, they become more independent-- something that parents encourage. Growing into adulthood means letting go and breaking away from parents physically, financially and emotionally.

Parents also learn to let go of their children as they grow. Sometimes this is painful emotionally. Not only is it difficult to let go of those we love, it is difficult for us to watch them make their own mistakes and suffer the consequences.

Spiritually we also learn to hold on to those persons, values and things which give our life meaning and purpose. Yet, there are also things we need to let go of such as grudges, envy, hatred and prejudice.

Two questions we need to ponder are: What do we need to hold on to in order to grow and thrive? What do we need to release in order to grow? Answering these questions takes some genuine honesty-- a willingness to look at ourselves and our relationships truthfully.

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