So often I have said things like "I am letting go," or "I release...", even "I surrender." All of these sound so very passive, but today I realized that there may be times when "letting go" is passive, but there are other times when it's a violent and strenuous work of removal.
Maybe making space sounds lovely and peaceful, but think of the weed that is forcefully yanked from the soil where it has grown roots and happily soaked in nutrients. Space has to be made for the gardener to plant what he/she truly intends to grow in his/her garden. Consider the sweat that must pour out for weight loss, the photos burned for lovers to force memories to fade, friends left miles apart when jobs require moving, or watching a child fall over and over as they learn to walk without help, all of these are moments of release.
Not even slightly surprising, I find the answer to current struggles on my yoga mat. I will use Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose) as my example. This pose is so often viewed as a resting posture, the "break" in the middle of an active flow, or the asana leading to our final savasana. I have found myself thinking "oh yes, pigeon, I've made it!" When practiced actively for a deep "release" of the hips, this requires focused breath and a conscious choice to surrender all that surfaces as the hip joints open and emotions that are stored inside begin to unfurl. When fully encompassed, this pose often brings tears and is not a gentle "release" at all, rather it is an aggressive purging of all that is no longer serving our body, mind, and heart. When we twist, activate our muscles, and send thoughtful breath that acknowledges "it's okay to fight this letting go, but it has to come out...so inhale- wrestle with pain and exhale- send it away with strength" then this pose becomes transformative.
With life issues I find much the same, it hurts, I don't want to open my heart's grip on things I have long been clinging to, but as I close my eyes and breath in and out, Divine love replaces the areas where ripping and tearing out have left me empty. Just like my Pigeon experience, I find new space, new depth, and sometimes soreness lingers for days.