My thoughts about “letting go” start with a little time travel. With a trip to my childhood.
I remember the time quite well, the colourful time of balloons. They decorated lovely birthday parties. Often filled my kid’s mind with joy during boring visits to trade fairs or electronics retailers.
And best of all, they could even … fly (not to mention the funny voices possible after breathing in their “air”)!
These balloons were tied gently to my wrist when I was a little girl, so I could not – childishly clumsy – let go by mistake and burst onto tragic tears. But the few times that this did happen, held something magical. The balloon, so plump and lightweight, full of air and the unknown; I watched as it climbed up to heaven. I saw the balloon win the fight. Yes, win. And eventually disappear to where it had been drawn to: the vast sky.
I watched it for a long time. Dreamily. Until it disappeared from sight. What does the balloon see during its journey? A question that gave my child-self, a treasure trove of colourful pictures. These pictures ranged from, “My pet rabbit Lisa now holds him in her paw” through, “There is a cloud that shelters all the lost balloons” to “The balloon is flying around the whole world …”.
And I wanted to prevent that trip with a string and a knot.
Prevent the balloon from following its own path. Preferring to keep it with me, not to let it go where it dreamed, so desperately wanted to fly to.
My own field trial (I admit, its a few years ago) lead to the following conclusions: There are two possibilities in a balloon’s life.
- At first I seem to win. I take the balloon to my children’s room, where it sticks to the ceiling for a few days. Watching the playing child. Silently. Completely silent. Heaven seems inaccessible. The window stays closed. Then it dies, slowly, loses its air, loses its grip. It falls to the ground. The colourful balloon ends as rubbish. A new balloon will come soon! So plump and lightweight, full of air and the unknown.
- It wins the battle, frees itself from the child’s hand and flies away. Flying high!
The balloon stands – in the following – for something that does not feel good in our lives. For something that does not seem to be in the right place. For something that we are holding on to, and we are not sure if it is really good for us. For something that is crying out for a different direction.
Is there such a balloon in your life?
The balloon image can stand, for example, for the following (and much much more …):
May I again remind you of the two possibilities in a balloon’s life?
- First, you seem to win. So you hold it tight, your balloon, which is calling for change. One day it sticks to the ceiling, watching you, maybe it even bothers you there. But it stays. Eventually it loses its air. You start losing your air as well. Noisily or silently. The window stays closed. The balloon loses its grip. You lose yours as well. It falls to the ground. Where are you?
- The balloon convinces you to let it go. It flies away. And you fly your way. Flying high!
To make it clear: Letting go of a balloon does not mean giving up! Giving up is rooted in fear. Releasing is rooted in trust. Trust that the future it brings suits us better than what we are letting go. Letting go makes room for something new. Giving up, creates a place inhabited by fear. So there is no room for something new.
Have you let go something lately? How did you feel afterwards?