Don’t Hang On, Hang Loose

Don’t hang on, hang loose.” –Martha Beck

I was listening to a webinar with Martha Beck about surfing the waves of change. She mentioned that some of smartest people in the world relax into not knowing—they let others know that they don’t know, but also ask for help and feedback with humility. They create a community around their challenges. Martha said that the most stable stand you can take in life is a fluid one. The conversation reminded me of Dr. Wayne Dyer who wrote, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life,” a book with essays written about Lao-tzu’s, the Tao Te Ching. He writes, “having lived by the ocean for many years, I’ve observed the strength and beauty of the tall palm trees that grow at the water’s edge. These stately giants are able to withstand the hurricane-force winds that uproot and destroy many larger, older, and more majestic trees. What is the palm trees’ secret to staying in one piece through huge, devastating storms? They bend almost down to the ground at times, and it’s that ability that allows them to survive. The Tao invites us, too, to be resilient, elastic, and pliant when we face the powerful winds that are part of life.” He goes on to say, “keep an inner vision of the wind symbolizing difficult situations as you affirm: I have no rigidity within me. I can bend to any wind and remain unbroken. I will use the strength of the wind to make me even stronger and better preserved.”

When I read Dr. Dyer’s book, I thought, “I’ve been rigid and set in my ways, and I’ve survived!” Months after finishing the book I noticed how many seeds were planted and were fermenting in my head. I realized that I lived in a constant state of feeling broken because my rigidity kept breaking my spirit, over and over again, after every stormy stage of life. I wanted to give up being rigid, but I viewed flexibility as weakness.

It’s been over a decade since I read Dr. Dyer’s book and I work daily on reminding myself to relax, let go, and gather strength from the winds that come my way. I meditate and relax into not having the answers to all of my questions, and find comfort in knowing that it takes great strength to be vulnerable. With all of the practice in being flexible all of this time, Martha Beck added a little more depth to my sense of community in this topic and reminded me to relax playfully by hanging loose instead of hanging on. Cheers to that on this new year!

In hope...I am fearless and flexible!



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