So much of our culture is about “getting.” Getting good grades, getting the “guy”, getting the promotion, getting a new car, getting money and attention. Getting more stuff for the house, getting more Facebook likes, getting more TV channels, getting more information. We spend so much time and energy “getting.”
I want to tell you a story about my dad. He passed away 12 years ago after years going in and out of hospitals with a variety of medical issues. Dad was a scientist and fun-loving man who went through a lot of pain the last few years of his life. He was a scientist, a fly-fisherman, a great conversationalist, an athletic guy.
The last year of his life, he had to let go of lots of stuff. There was a progression of physical and mental loss. He had to let go of fishing, hiking, and eventually walking. He had to let go of some of his intellect. He was no longer the best player in Trivial Pursuit. The scientific discussions were coming to an end. He had to let go of some of the social engagements, he no longer could go out to restaurants or play chess.
What I saw in my dad, was the more he had to let go – the larger his heart became.
On his last visit to the hospital, the doctor told us he had a couple days to live. The one thing I will always remember (as many of you might have experienced with a loved one) is in those final couple days in that hospital room, there was so much love. Sure it was sad, but there was so much love. My Mom, my brother and his wife, my dad and I were there. Not many words at all. Just this profound love.
There was nothing to do. There was nowhere to go. There was no tomorrow. In the absence of something to do and somewhere to go, and no tomorrow … there was only the present moment, and in the present moment was profound love.
So what can we let go of each day?
Here is a list I came up with – I’d be curious to hear yours.
Today can I let go of:
The need to be right
Some “stuff” in the closet
My judgments about my friends
The need to be liked
Some gas (not in public though)
All the negative thoughts running through my head
Trying to “figure it all out”
The anger towards that bad driver
What mistakes I made yesterday
Blaming others in my life if I am unhappy
The mistakes I made years ago
Resentment towards others
Self-improvement and just accept myself
The stuff in my fridge that has dates from the early 2000’s
The need to be anywhere else other than where I am
The desire to distract myself from being present
That old lamp I never liked
Fear – yep, that’s a good one, let go of fear
The need for anymore “let go of” items on this list