Don’t just let it go
Someone recently asked if I still taught “Core on the Floor”, a piece I did for a yoga magazine. It was an hour and a half of power moves. I told him I was more into water than fire these days.
I’m leaving a class I just taught on spilling and unwinding. The theme was water. We are talking on the staircase and someone comments that someone else should just “let it go”. I say, “Forget that. No one lets anything go. Pretending you do just makes you passive aggressive. I say just confront it. Not confronting it is just a form of self-loathing.” I hear a snicker behind me.
I turn to see a smiling face. He says, “I’m listening to your conversation and I just had this conversation with my friend on the phone where I’m going off and he’s saying, ‘Man just let it go! Be like the water and just flow’”.
“Yeah, No way”, I laugh. “There’s no flow. You get dammed up in the muck that hasn’t been cleared. Now you’re drowning in the backwash.”
I think of the water that surged through our town in the flood. It took rocks that a human couldn’t lift down the streets. It smashed things. It moved any obstacle in its path. It moved cars and houses.
And I’m reconsidering that tired lesson and thinking of the “flow” as an action that takes down obstacles like Ganesh’s trunk rather than submission to tyranny. I reflect on a situation where I can test this thought. Years after letting go and ‘forgetting’ someone, I had the opportunity to confront him but it wasn’t satisfying because he didn’t really get it. That ignorance was what let him act wrongly in the first place. He didn’t have the consciousness to understand his actions nor the kindness to consider them.
So what good did it do to confront him? Was letting go the final answer?
The flow I had been going with was a flow into a lack of self worth because someone I gave too much credit to did not think me worthy of consideration. Turning the other cheek might have seemed peaceful but that cheek was red with shame and it was shame on me for allowing that to happen. Obviously nothing had ‘gone’ because I confronted him when I had the chance. His surprise told me he was horrified to think he’d hurt me but after that I saw he was so self-involved I didn’t even exist. That, it seemed, allowed me to let go. But why do I remember it now? Did I think there were no samskaras (seeds of memories) when I sent my anger into a balloon and let it go?
I called on water to help me wash seeds of discontent away like the flood took the seeds in my garden. I won’t go with the flow. I am the flow, the torrent, the surging, roiling, tremendous flood waters. I am sweeping away this disappointment. I am sweeping away self doubt. I am clearing, shoving, throwing, smashing, rolling and flowing. I am a forward pressing force of nature. No prisoners. Intruders to my well being are being banished to dissolve. I am pulling my obstacles down with the undertow of my passion and I am being released above into the sunlit sparkles of gentle ripples of self- love and light.
Action not passivity is what is called for and my test results are strong. It seems the seeds of discontent are exiled by my awareness. They are drowned beyond germination. I feel truth of the perpetrator. I see the truth of the previous reaction. I see the reality of the dethroned antagonist. There is no letting. There is no other to do it for you. There is no truth in pretending. There is no use in ignoring. Time does not heal. We heal. We do the work. We find the way. No one gets hurt and though the situation or person still exists, the reaction to them is over so they really don’t exist. The waters are calm.
When it comes to a physical yoga practice I may be more into water than fire but it takes a little fire to get the water moving on the mat and in life. Freezing out thoughts preserves them in the basement freezer. You can’t just ‘let it go’. We may be mostly made of water but we are human and too complicated to dismiss with empty phrases. Being the water for us requires the use of the hydro-electric damn. Water in its purest form is natural and will do its thing without distraction. We are not water. We need to think to stay the course.
To my friend on the staircase I change my advice. Go ahead and be the water, but make sure that water is full of fire or it may just be a stagnant pond.