My GOD, am I the only one who has this hard of a time letting go when it counts?
It’s funny… I have certainly improved my ability to let to and surrender results exponentially over the years since my younger days when I tried to control everything.
(Quite a learning journey, as when I was younger I was actually pretty skilled at creating what I wanted from intention and effort – which gave me the illusion of control).
Since then, it’s been a journey to more and more personal peace to take the actions on “my side of the street” toward the intention I’m holding, but to release the idea that it has to happen the way I think it should.
But what about when it really, really counts? When the outside result seems critical?
The current day story I’m living with this has to do with my 14 year old daughter, Kelsey. Kelsey has documented learning disabilities and special needs when it comes to school, and we have been in a bit of a battle with the school to meet those needs.
Her father and I have believed she needs an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) based on our own assessment as well as the opinion of experts in the field who have assessed her.
But the schools are incentivized not to grant IEPs because it costs them time and money… she’ll have special accommodations and tutoring, and there will be regular team meetings about her progress, etc.
So the school did their own evaluation of her which was woefully incomplete (1 single assessment!) and ended up concluding that while she was below grade level, she was doing reasonably “well enough” – and I was furious.
Here was my child, struggling with school every day, having panic attacks and crying spells, literally failing all of her tests and quizzes (but averaging out to a “passing grade” because Tim and I would help her with all homework), and to me they were sweeping her under the rug and not wanting to deal with her.
THIS is where the dance between taking action and simultaneously letting go of results became unbearable for me!
As a mama bear, I was desperate to get Kelsey the help she needs. I was the one (along with Tim) watching her despair every day, her lower and lower self-esteem, and her overwhelm.
So Tim and I then brought in an outside expert who shared that the minimal testing the school did wasn’t even legal – there’s a statute he showed us that requires multiple assessments to evaluate a child comprehensively. And we went to the school and very directly expressed that we felt additional testing was warranted and that we formally disagreed with their conclusion.
Guys, I was not in a good place around this. I was angry. I was looking into what legal action we could take if we ended up in a stalemate. I was stomping around escalating the upset the more and more I played it over in my mind.
And this was the BREAKDOWN that ended up in a BREAKTHROUGH.
There was no way for me to “not know” that I was causing my own suffering. I’m a coach for Pete’s sake and I could see what I was doing.
But grrrrr! There was a part of me that just didn’t want to let go of the upset! Of the indignation around the way my daughter was being screwed over!
However… what was this getting me? And what was this getting her?
This required some super-duper spiritual practice on my part.
You see, I do believe that everything is an opportunity for love. I know I believe that. (It’s hard to apply sometimes, but I know deep in my heart that this is true).
So I began by looking at the helplessness and the fear that was going on inside me about my daughter being OK (being served). The place that felt panic and worry and the need to control. And I applied love and compassion to those places inside me that were hurting.
And then – it was hard — but I asked myself what love or compassion I could feel for the members of the school that were seeming like my opponents. I imagined how much work those people have, how little funding, and how many students. I thought of their daily load, and how the truth is that they just needed to be educated more about Kelsey. They didn’t know here well enough to understand what her needs were.
And then… the final and most important piece to this particular learning for me was turning to God / Spirit.
I prayed to be released of my attachment to outcome. I asked for the strength to let go (yes, surrender takes strength!) and trust. I asked for Spirit’s help in staying in the moment, in not getting ahead of myself, and in realizing that I can’t possibly know for sure what is in Kelsey’s best interest.
Yes, I actually had to remind myself that I am not omnipotent and don’t for sure know what’s best for Kelsey! That I will take the steps I see in front of me for sure, to the best of my knowledge… but that I don’t have to get wound into knots that I must control it all.
Surrendering was and is not easy. But I have a friend who says “let go or be dragged” which I love. It’s quite an image.
Slowly I moved into a better and better place as the school finally agreed to do more testing. I was still Kelsey’s advocate to be sure, but my energy had shifted.
When I walked into our next big meeting, I didn’t have my dukes up as it were. I wasn’t holding the energy of opposition, I went in fully imagining us all to be on the same team.
Tim and I took quite a bit of time to explain more to the group about Kelsey. And at this point they had also done additional assessments too. By the end of the meeting the school could no longer deny that she required the IEP.
Letting go doesn’t always mean we’ll get the outcome we want or think is best. Sometimes we will, and sometimes another result will occur, and at that point it’s our prerogative to decide to see benefit and opportunity in the outcome, or to take further additional action. There’s no rule.
Except, that surrendering brought ME peace. And it brought peace to everyone I interacted with that I wasn’t a raving, out of control upset b*tch.
I seek to continue my journey of letting go. More and more these past couple of years I have been saying “I don’t know” and “we’ll see,” but without the terror that that used to evoke.
So I still take the actions (you bet I do!) but I release my grip on outcome, and I’m finding that there have been more miracles and unexpected surprises the more I have surrendered.
Where are you at with your journey of letting go? Where do you get stuck? What helps you?