Many of us spend our lives clinging.
As children we cling to our parents, for safety, stability, because we are shy or uncertain. We’re so new to a world that’s strange and unfamiliar, it daunts and engulfs us. As teenagers we band together, clinging to a group of friends defined by fashion choices, musical taste, outlooks, beliefs or ideals. We find safety in numbers during those potentially tempestuous adolescent years; we have yet to resolve to go our own way, find a unique path or step too far outside what we regard as our special circle.
As we mature into adults we begin new relationships and once again we may find ourselves clinging. We cling to all kinds of things. Notions of what our relationships ought to be like, how we should lead our lives and all the while influenced by societal customs or standards. We may redirect our clinging to our partners (from our parents) as we continue to seek the essence of unrelenting companionship, security and commitment. We become parents and the cycle begins afresh; we cling to our children because we want to protect, guide and help them make their way in the world.
When we aren’t clinging to each other we seem to cling to our possessions. Cars, homes, gadgets, accoutrements. We cling to our faith, our religions and the thought patterns we’ve invented for ourselves during the formative periods of our lives. We cling to our notions about life, love, happiness and health and as we age we cling increasingly to an imagined future and a remembered past.
Fast as limpets in coastal pools we cling to our little strips of rock hoping to avoid the rip tides and storm surges that might cast us off into some distant shallow or the unfamiliar vastness of the open sea. We try so hard to cling, to stay safe in our sheltered rock pools and out of harm’s way. Yet in doing so we devote ourselves to one life’s most incredible tasks; a task we can’t possibly hope to achieve. We ask ourselves to be master of all around us, inside and out and Mother Nature doesn’t work that way. Like it or not we’re all part of her grand design and as time changes we change along with it. We might notice physical things like lines and wrinkles. We sometimes detect the intellectual shifts, a broadening or narrowing of our attitudes and outlooks as the clock marches on. Yet it seems we are not so adept at noticing that which is most obvious. We are not divine and all-powerful.
We can make our own luck and I truly believe that in many ways we do; but we’re rarely able to avoid our own fate. Ultimate fate is a universal truth. We all start out and in starting we all end because that’s the course of life on this planet and it probably wouldn’t work any other way.
So why do we continue to cling? Or conversely what stops us from letting go. How do we know what relaxing our grip and going where the rip tide takes us will bring? Sure we might end up in a murky jagged rock pool but how do we know we won’t get out. Relax, float right on with the next high tide and find ourselves surrounded by calm, pristine waters once more?
Let go – two little words that seem to scare the hell out of us from birth to death.
But what if we practiced letting go instead of clinging on? Might we find ourselves better equipped to work with nature, accepting that time changes, welcoming with grace and good humour that we change along with it?
I think we can can roll with that rip tide, embrace our fate and enjoy each day unimpeded by fear, apprehension or regret if we stop clinging, relax and just let go.