You might call me lazy, but I like to follow the wisdom of Chinese sage Lao Tsu when he says ‘By letting go, all things get done’.
Sounds easy doesn’t it. Just relax. Chill out. Like you don’t actually have to DO anything – just go with the flow (I bet you’re picturing yourself floating on a lie-low down some languid stream, tropical sun shining down, cocktail in hand…mmm).
But this mantra is not a lazy person’s guide to life nor an ancient version of the quintessential laidback Aussie refrain, delivered with a drawl, ‘she’ll be right mate’.
Not lazy and not easy, but worth it
Letting go means both surrendering control AND finding your flow. And they are two very important and often very difficult actions. Nothing lazy or easy about them.
The first one takes energy, but mostly courage. RELEASE. THE. GRIP.
The second one takes courage too, but I think you’ll discover all this newfound energy and power, when you stop wasting so much energy by holding on.
Here are some lessons I’ve learned in trying to let go and find my flow (I’m still learning!).
Math 101 – The energy of letting go is equal to the energy of going with the flow. By letting go you supercharge the flow of your life – think Life² or even Life³ – imagine that!
Maths + Geography – Think of all that energy that comes over the top of a waterfall – this is what letting go delivers into your life stream – imagine that!
Let me (with the help of Wikipedia) do the math.
Just imagine the power – More than 6 million cubic feet (168,000 m3) of water falls over the crest of Niagara Falls every minute in high flow, and almost 4 million cubic feet (110,000 m3) on average. That’s 10,080,000m³ every hour at high flow or 241,920,000m³ per day.
The world’s tallest waterfall, Angel Falls in Venezuala, plunges over 800 metres into the jungle below – just imagine the ride!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found myself in awe at the beauty and majesty of even much smaller waterfalls. Shannon Falls, the third highest in British Columbia Canada (335m or 1100ft) are spectacular, while Purlingbrook Falls, in the Springbrook National Park near where I live, still inspire at a (mere) 106m or 350ft high. Waterfalls make you feel small, powerless even, which can be a good thing.
Let go of fear, surrender control, find your power
Harnessing the power of the flow is about letting go of fear (and the grip of past pain, anger, guilt, shame) – but it’s much more than that. It’s about letting go of the very notion that we can control things (or at least everything). It’s about letting go of the idea that we should in fact control everything and that life will work out better if we do. After all, we know better than the universe, don’t we? Do you want fear or the universe in charge of your life? (Of course you still need to steer and row your own boat in the universal flow – although perhaps not actually over Niagara or Angel Falls!).
I think letting go is very different to surrendering to fate, because being fatalistic comes with the limitations of remaining a victim to circumstances. In many ways this view perpetuates holding on – to past pain, guilt, shame, to the idea that we can’t move beyond where we’ve come from, the victim we may have been, the place where we are now, when of course things change all the time.
To be fatalistic is to be stuck in a stagnant pool of life or cast adrift in the rapids heading for the falls. You’re going nowhere, or you’re headed for a wipe-out.
Letting go is the yang action, acceptance the yin reflection. We need to accept that we can’t always control things in order to let go. We need to let go in order to enjoy the now and to move on with acceptance so we can find our flow.
And we can get so many great things done by letting go of what we don’t need to do, by giving up on being who we don’t need to be.
To realise the wisdom and power of going with the flow is to do what nature does, naturally, powerfully, beautifully. And I think you’d agree that waterfalls are pretty beautiful.