Losing Your Life…

19 02 2011

It calls to me like a stranger. Yet, somewhere…somewhere deep down, it sounds like a voice calling me home – “let go”. It’s a scary, risky offer. If I choose this path, for real transformation to occur, I know it’s not a one-time decision. It’s not like getting an immunization shot – once and your good for life. This will be a process…a journey…a pilgrimage. I will struggle…I will get frustrated…I will fail…I will feel I am on my own – alone. But, there will be times of pure, unspeakable joy; times of deep freedom that no dictator could suppress; times when I will feel at home in my own skin – peace; times when I will know, without a doubt, that I am loved to the core, with an authentic love that continually pursues me. All through life, these times of shadows and these times of light will mingle – creating a rhythm…a dance.

As of late, this invitation to let go has been persistent, presenting itself in many forms, in a variety of places and spaces – often surprising me. Its echoes pursue me from familiar text heard as a child:

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16:25 (NIV)

It seeps into the ordinary routines of life like checking my email (a daily quote, Daily Faith, I receive from Well for the Journey):

“To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are, without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them…. It’s akin to letting your palm open to unhand something you have been holding onto.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life


“[I]t is essential to learn ways to free ourselves from the artificial and unnecessary limits we impose …This liberation involves recognizing and letting go of old structures and boundaries …”-Thomas Plante and Carl E. Thoresen, Spirit, Science and Health

The invitation saturates the air as musical lyrics and notes play in songs like Get Up Early by Maggie Sansone (Dance Upon the Shorewww.maggiesansone.com) and Let it Go and Vista by David Wilcox (Vistawww.davidwilcox.com)

It interrupts my thoughts as I walk through the day – a mixture of Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day, with the whispers of the Spirit within me: “Greg, let go the reins of your wild wonderful life.” It haunts me as I watch loved ones slowly and unwillingly let go of themselves…loose themselves, to dementia and Alzheimer’s – where the present moment is the most important moment.  And I experience this invitation as a fire deep in my gut – a desire to…a movement toward…a welling up of – letting go. “Lose yourself Greg…loosen your grip…hold things lightly.”

My response more often than not?: ”What? Lose myself? But I’ve worked so hard to find my self…all that therapy…all that confrontation…all that struggle…I’m just finding myself – now I’m being asked to loose myself?”

But I’m learning…slowly…through daily struggles and by loosening my grip (one finger at a time) – letting go of all I think I want or need. And, I am learning that this kind of loosing myself is not the same as before…when I had no sense of self. With this losing, there is a gaining…there is a discovery of my true God-created self. I’m finding my life…abundant life. It’s like giving myself away only to receive myself back again…a little closer to wholeness.

So this is my struggle – do I accept this invitation…today?  Do I want to find – save – my life by losing it? Are the stakes that high? (I’ve lost myself before…to the point I wasn’t sure I existed). Some days I’m just not sure it’s worth it…other days I want nothing more…I want to take deep gulps of the freedom this path brings. It’s like hitting that one, sweet golf shot among all the bad ones…that one shot that keeps you coming back. It’s like among all those botched recipe trials, creating that one perfect dish that drives you to get your hands messy again.

Today, I hit a good shot…the recipe was a success. Tomorrow another invitation will be waiting for me when I awake. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

What invitation is waiting for you?





2 responses

21 02 2011

Greg, I am reminded of the School Prayer at St. Catherine’s School for Girls in Richmond, in which children are steeped from kindergarten through their senior year – Teach us, O Lord, that what we keep, we lose; and only what we give remains our own. I guess we are trying to understand that and learning to live it for the whole of our “good lives long”. Thanks for your writings…

21 02 2011

Thanks for the quote Evelyn…another hearing to sit with!

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