A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Letting Go

Acceptance is letting go.  There are stages to go through before you get to it.  Your starting point is love, but something happens, some kind of conflict or hard life circumstance, and you move into shock.  The change causes you to feel a deep insecurity, which in turn leads to self-protective defensiveness, even anger.  There's a period of denial and some self-pity.  You wonder, how could this have happened to you.  You don't accept responsibility for the part you played; you run away for a time.  But you find yourself missing the goodness and the love that you started out with, but seemed to have lost.  This leads to sadness and regret and back to the beginning of the circle, to love.

In order to accept and let go, you need to reconnect with your heart.  Before this happens you can get stuck at the different stages:  in insecurity, anger, denial, self-pity or regret.  That is all very human and natural, but it's not pleasant and if it goes on too long, it can damage your spirit.  Hopefully you realize this before it gets to that point because it is much harder to let go when you take a vested interest in holding onto a fixed, negative position.  You have to realize that you are not fighting a war.  What's happened has happened, so take responsibility for your part, feel the sadness and the love, if you're able to, and open up your hand and let go.

Go with the flow of life, accept both your strengths and your weaknesses, love yourself, love others, and those you can't love, try hard to be tolerant of.  If you find that you can't be tolerant, then just move off.  Don't hurt yourself by holding onto resentment.  Let go, relax.

A sensitive and open heart and a clear mind is called bodhichitta in Buddhism.  To cultivate it in yourself, so you can connect and help others along the way, is the essence of being on a spiritual path.  It brings you close to an awakening -- to enlightenment.  It reminds you of what is most important in life and that is the heart/mind connection, compassion and wisdom in one, forever interconnected.  The heart provides the checks and balances for the mind and the mind does the same for the heart.  That's harmony.  That's the yin and yang in balance.

If you can awaken your heart and mind together, you can let go of the grasping that causes you to suffer.  When you do, all the problems, both real and imagined, start to fade away.  You take what you need and leave the rest.  You walk away, but with an open spirit.  By letting go in peace, you put an end to the conflict and return to freedom.  You leave the door open.  You remain with an unarmored heart and a clear mind.  You keep love as your foundation.

The freedom you encounter now is full of new, fresh moments.  Your heart and your mind are stronger for what you have gone through, if you can but see it.  That's one of the challenges of life, finding the constant within the vicissitudes.  All those ups and downs can make you lose sight of what matters in any given moment.  Change is a constant, but so is love if you cultivate it.  So go out there and plant some good seeds and grow your garden.  Don't look back except to remember where you've come from  and what and who it is that you've loved.  Never forget the love, even if it is long gone.  It will always enrich you.  (Good luck Colette!  Bon chance!)
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