In our yoga practice, we are always talking about letting things go.
With each exhale we release things that don’t serve us, things that don’t align with our live’s intentions. We try to let go of anger and let go of fear. We let go of judgment. We let go of shame. We begin to let go of ego and the idea that we are separate—all in an effort to move to that ultimate place of peace and contentment with what is. Acceptance of what is.
All the talk of letting go allows us to shed light on the things, people and ideas to which we so desperately cling.
Some of these things seem bigger and more important than others—our ideologies, opinions, allegiances. We cling to them and defend them. And some of them seem minor—our preferences, our daily choices. We hold these smaller things, perhaps more loosely.
But no matter how big or small they seem, they can all be released. And in the releasing, we will learn something new and move closer to ease.
Over the past few years I have released so many things—ideas, beliefs, relationships, habits, addictions. I continue to release things on a daily basis and with each breath. The most recent thing is my dark brown hair. All of my life I have been a brown haired girl, certainly not a gray haired one! But apparently that is no longer true—not without a box of Nice ‘n’ Easy every five to six weeks.
I’ve been clinging to my denial long enough and I’ve decided to let it go.
Currently there is a very obvious patch of silver on the top of my head. When I tie it back for a yoga class, it becomes even more pronounced. When I look in the mirror now I can see a future glimpse of what I will look like with a full head of salt and pepper.
I’m not scared. I can do this.
I’ve already tackled wrinkles and reading glasses. It’s actually much easier to let go than to hang on for dear life although, for some reason, I find myself working it into conversations.
I will say something like, “I think I’m letting my hair go gray,” so that people will know that this is a conscious decision on my part and so they won’t think that I’m just letting myself go.
Several times I found myself saying things like, “I don’t want to use those chemicals anymore” and “I’m not letting myself go, I’m actually taking better care of myself and practicing self acceptance.”
I’ve tried to convince people (without their provocation) that I’ve made a decision to gracefully go with the flow of age.
Which is exactly what I had decided to do. I let go of the dark haired girl that I was holding onto and I prepared myself for the natural evolution of things.
Why then did I feel the need to justify my decision?
Why did I feel the need to explain myself to people? Is it important for me to have their approval? Am I afraid of the imaginary conversations happening behind my back?
”Have you seen Kim? First, she’s walking around town in her yoga clothes with no makeup on her face and now this? With the gray hair? Wow, she’s really letting herself go!”
No, I’m not letting myself go. I am letting go of my “self.”
I’m letting go of the attachment that I have to my self as a brown haired person.
I’m letting go of the need to justify my choices to other people.
I’m letting go of whatever society, my mother, my daughters might think about gray haired women and the definition of beauty.
I’m letting go of my concern for how people will judge me as I move through this life.
I’m letting go of my past insecurities and my fear of the future.
I’m letting go of the ego that gets in the way of ease and peace.
Maybe it’s not such a small thing after all. Maybe it’s not just the hair. Every day, with every glance in the mirror and with every breath, I release a little bit more of my false sense of self.
And as I let my self go, I move closer to the real Self.
Author: Kim Stevens-Redstone
Assistant Editor: Hilda Carroll/Editor: Renee Jahnke
Photo: Beatrice Murch/Flickr