What Does It Mean To Be A People of Letting Go?
When cast into the depths, to survive, we must first let go of things that will not save us. Then we must reach out for the things that can. — Rev. Forrest Church
We cling. You name it, we’ve wrapped our grasping fingers and anxious hearts around it: success, safety, society’s standards of beauty, personal desires to be accepted, perfectionism, being right, duty, fear, grudges, hurts, hopes, stuff, shame and privilege. Whether the object of our grasping is good or bad is not truly the issue. It’s the grasping itself. That’s the real problem. Holding on too long and too tightly is never good for the soul. So our faith pleads with us, “Let it go!”
But here’s the twist: Our faith follows that up quickly with “Let it in!” This spiritual dance takes a two-step. As Forrest Church puts it, letting go must be followed up by reaching out. Or maybe it’s better to say opening up. Indeed, the tragedy of grasping so tightly is not simply that we anchor ourselves to that which burdens us, but that we end up shutting out that which is trying to save and feed us. Letting go is ultimately about letting in. It’s about making room. Unitarian Universalism claims this is what “salvation” is all about. Salvation is a journey of remaining open. When we cling, there is no room for openness or wholeness.
All of which means that letting go is really an act of faith. Yes, it takes strength, resolve, discipline and courage. But mostly it requires we believe that, once we release our grips, life will not leave us empty-handed.
Do you trust that making room will be worth it? Do you have faith that letting go will be met with a life-giving coming in? This month, let’s find out.
Our UU Role Model: The Iowa Sisterhood
One challenge for Unitarian Universalists is to let go of knowing and instead embrace learning. The women of the Iowa Sisterhood did that. They let go of the traditional Unitarian ways of doing ministry, pleasing the powers that be, and the need to know. They led with the heart, not just the head. The risks they took were criticized by the men in Boston, but they dared greatly and helped spread Unitarianism in the west.
Our Spiritual Practice: Mindfulness
Videos & Online
The Parable of the Trapeze
by Danaan Parry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWvV5N4hOGc
RadioLab with Oliver Sacks: “Memory and Forgetting”
We let go of Oliver Sacks as he died this summer, but his wisdom about letting go lives on.
SLIP | @PhillipChbeeb & Renee Kester https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk00gbDwGqM
What happens when the most beautiful memories from our past end up doing the most damage to our future?
“Letting Go of God” by Julia Sweeney
The Parable of Mussa and Nagib
Letting Go of the Pressure to Produce & Letting in a Little Useless Play
Try one of these sites:
http://weavesilk.com/ — create interactive generative art
http://thisissand.com/ — make virtual sand sculptures
http://myshards.com/ — design sharp textures and patterns
“Weightless” by The Becca Stevens Band
Throw It Away” by “Abbey Lincoln
Letting Go – Steffany Gretzinger
A beautiful theist expression of surrender and letting go
A Frozen Father (A bit of fun)
Letting go of shame to embrace joy: an article engaging Brene Brown’s wonderful book, The Gifts of Imperfection.
Letting go of who one used to be
Letting go of fears
Fall as a season of letting go
Are we letting go of capitalism?
White Privilege Weariness
A documentary about the leader of a palliative care team who has been at the deathbed of hundreds of people.
A drama about forgiveness and faith after the 2006 shooting at an Amish schoolhouse.
Based on the book by Cheryl Strayed.
A man lives in self-imposed isolation from the people who love him in order to seek out his own individualistic adventures. An accident and the loss of a piece of himself allows him to embrace connection.
Toy Story 3
Growing up, letting go and holding on to the blessings of our childhoods.
Life Lines: Holding On (And Letting Go)
by Forrest Church
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
by Marie Kondo
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
After the Sucker Punch: a Novel
by Lorraine Devon Wilke
Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss
by Pat Schwiebert & Chuck DeKlyen (written for children, but helpful for all ages)
A listing of books for children and families about letting go: https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2TTP2FRYCZNKA/ref=cm_wl_sortbar_v_page_2?ie=UTF8&page=2