Repost: Liberating Love–Letting Go

Reposted from January 22, 2024

I find a lot of meaning in seeing patterns, symbols, shapes and repeating dynamics. Anytime. Anywhere. With any set of relationships. When I see a pattern or repeating dynamic or a symbol of a thing that is important to me, I am drawn to it; I feel that this thing makes sense, and for that moment, things are right in my world.

Raising children is almost an exercise in the reverse of that. When they are newborn, we are constantly learning how to do new things that are all about the basic survival–feeding, clothing, diaper changing (so very much diaper changing) and a million different ways to tend them when they aren’t sleeping. 

Just about the time we begin to feel confident with those patterns, they change. Soon, they can basically feed themselves, so it’s more about food selection, food preparation and making sure they eat enough of the right things (which they often don’t seem to like). Soon, we also now have to help them learn how to be in public places and around strangers and what it means to travel in unknown spaces and how to respect other human beings in those spaces. 

Just as we get fairly good with those patterns of things, they demonstrate a will of their own which does not often match the will of those of us trying to raise them. In fact, this rising up of their own wills comes in phases, and the phase at age 2 does not help us much for the phases at age 8 or 15 or 25.

The patterns required of childcare givers (and let’s go ahead and say it–the patterns required of all human caregiving) is the constant requirement of letting go of what we think we know how to do and to open ourselves to a new set of patterns. If we become observant, we begin to notice that the latest set of patterns and expectations will also have to be let go.  Why?

Because we love these other human beings, and that does include all of the frustrations, confusion, fear, anger and dismay that comes with raising and caring for them. The pattern of liberating love can often mean letting go: letting go of control; letting go of expectations; letting go of comfort. This is not easy. To let go, in love, is to set ourselves and the ones we love free. That creates a wide open space where we wait to see what evolves next. 

~Bob Patrick

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