It’s been two months since my concussion, resulting in a painfully slow recovery. I still can’t be in crowds or drive too long a distance. Reading and writing come only in short spurts before my head begins to feel like a bowling ball. Despite everything, the concussion specialist keeps sending me off telling me I’m coming along and should just let things go.
This got me thinking about the whole concept of letting go. It’s a simple idea difficult to master. Sogyal Rinpoche, the world-renowned Buddhist teacher, says, “Learning to live is learning to let go.” This has been a tough for me. Everyday activities are still a challenge. I can’t go to the garden center and concentrate on decisions about flowers. I have to delegate it to a family member but even something as simple as this makes me anxious. I want to be the one to pick out flower colors but have to let it go. A friend made an offhanded remark about my recovery online and I keep thinking about it and feel compelled to respond but know it’d be a waste of my energy.
Life can be more difficult because we constantly want to control our desired outcomes over people, things and circumstances. I’ve learned this from personal experience. This persistent need to control our specific desires and timing stagnates us and ultimately causes anxiety and stress. I’m learning to take each day as it comes and try to be present in the moment. This is a task that won’t happen overnight but is a process of becoming, accepting of whatever it is life has in store for me.
Most people expend a lot of energy worrying about the future, and lamenting about the past. The ego likes to keep us in a state of turmoil, never quite content. If we stay at home, we feel as if we should get out more; if our loved one seems quiet we wonder why they aren’t talking, when they talk too much, we cut them off. At other times, we busy our minds with what may or may not happen. This keeps the wheels spinning in a never-ending cycle over which we have no control.
Letting go means surrendering and getting rid of the negativity that accompanies worries and fears. My recovery will take time. I need to be patient and allow my body and mind to come around and maybe I’ll learn a lesson or two. Letting go doesn’t mean I can’t be active in the unfolding. I still do my physical exercises; I still feed my body with brain food and can make sure I rest when needed. It’s also imperative to understand that everything will be all right, allowing and trusting the universe to take care of things for me.