Oh My, What’s This??
Last week I finished a manuscript I have been working on for what feels like all of my life. I don’t say that in an ominous or overly dramatic way, but in a matter-of-fact sort of way — that’s just the way it feels. I have lived, breathed, and dreamed within the words of this manuscript, for what feels like ages.
I sometimes wonder if I was born with this book already inside me. I kinda think I was. Like back in May of 1970, when Dr. Whitton delivered me, he turned to my parents and exclaimed, “It’s a girl!” then added, ”Oh my, what’s this? What are these papers??”
The writing process is one that’s all consuming, at least for this particular girl. It’s a slow-high, brain-churning exercise, filled with more delete-backspacing than forward keystrokes at times. But it fills me up. From tip to toe.
I’ve found that writing is a process of letting go. With each word I type, delete, re-type, massage into sentence structures — ultimately, I must let go. Let go of my attachment to the words, to their message, to whether or not they will be embraced, rejected, cherished, ignored, rebuffed…. After all, that’s what trust is all about — letting go.
To trust is to let go of your anger, worries, fears, demons — whatever is gripping you. However, like some things in life, trust and letting go can easily fall into the category of “easier said than done” — until you learn how, that is.
Once you learn how to trust and let go, then they become a matter of daily practice.
As I sat reflecting on the last word of my manuscript (not “The End,” but “Amen”), I began the process of letting go in earnest as a beloved essay came to mind. It is from my bedside favorite, The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo and is called, “Let Go of the Rice.”
I’d like to share an excerpt with you:
“Let Go of the Rice”
~by Mark Nepo
In a world that lives like a fist
mercy [trust] is no more than waking
with your hands open.
So much more can happen with our hands open. In fact, closing and stubbornly maintaining our grip is often what keeps us stuck, though we want to blame everything and everyone else, especially what we’re holding on to.
There is an ancient story from China that makes all this very clear. It stems from the way traps were set for monkeys. A coconut was hollowed out through an opening that was cut to the size of a monkey’s open hand. Rice was then placed in the carved-out fruit which was left in the path of the monkeys. Sooner or later, a hungry monkey would smell the rice and reach its hand in. But once fisting the rice, its hand could no longer fit back out through the opening. The monkeys that were caught were those who would not let go of the rice.
As long as the monkey maintained its grip on the rice, it was a prisoner of its own making. The trap worked because the monkey’s hunger was the master of its reach. The lesson for us is profound. We need to always ask ourselves, What is our rice and what is keeping us from opening our grip and letting it go?….”
Bringing It Home
In the essay, Nepo goes on to parallel the food the monkey longs for, to the love and approval he had always sought from his mother… until he realized that receiving her love and approval had been his rice.
Do I seek love and approval within the words I write? Is that my rice? Hmm…. In case it is, I embrace a daily practice of letting go. I let go of any attachment I have to the outcome of my words. To any outcome period.
What is your rice? What is it you’re holding on to so tightly in your fist, your heart, or your mind that you have fashioned your own personal prison? Is there anything you’re holding on to that makes you feel stuck?
By letting go, you’re opening your stubborn-monkey grip, thus — SETTING YOURSELF FREE.
Thank you for visiting Trust Life Today as I shared about trust and letting go, with the help of Mark Nepo. If you enjoyed today’s post, please subscribe. That way, you’ll never miss a trust-love post! Love, Leslie