Let Go and Let the Gods

My old church had a saying: “Let go, and let God.” Even though I was pagan while attending said church, I always loved that saying, and tried to apply it in my daily life.

It’s difficult. Letting go and letting the gods. Putting faith in anything except yourself. When you spend [what feels like] your whole life being let down by people, or having things be out of your control, you turn into a control freak even if you never had that in you.

My friends used to joke that I was Monica, from Friends. They were right. (Except, you know, I’m still fat, and that’s okay.) I was a total control freak. I didn’t like anyone taking over anything in my life. Ever. My need for absolute control over all aspects of my life extended to the point where if someone complimented my current hair color, I’d bleach it and dye it something different. I needed to be counter to what everyone wanted for me, because that was the only way I could control my own life.

This sort of attitude actively strangles spiritual life. 

Because the need to be in so much control takes away your ability to trust. To trust yourself or your gods. If you can’t trust yourself, if you can’t trust your gods, if you can’t trust the people you’re doing ritual with if you do, indeed, do ritual with other people, then you can’t connect.

Being in control means being closed down. Spirituality requires openness. You can’t be open to how spirituality can impact your life if you need to be in control of everything, all the time.

There’s a reason tales of spiritual enlightenment, or awakening, are accompanied with chaos. Chaos brings clarity in these stories; it disrupts the order around the main character’s life, and when that control is disrupted, true spiritual change comes about.

Order is all well and good, but when it becomes control and order for their own sakes, it stagnates. Are you in control because these are things you need to be in control of, or are you in control because you can’t let yourself let go of anything? Do your fingers have a death grip on life going the way you want it to go?

Let go, and let the gods. 

When I finished Spring Mysteries Fest, I waited for my mom to pick me up so we could continue our adventure south, to San Francisco (to check out grad schools). I waited for six hours for mom to pick me up. (There’s no bitterness here, and my mom’s not a bad person. I’m just telling the story.) She missed a ferry, I think, and possibly got lost.

I was facing the prospect of sleeping there another night, after everyone had gone (I thought). I didn’t worry about this. I just figured I’d go back into the barracks and curl up on what had been my bunk, and mom would find me in the morning. I worried more about what had happened to mom — she had no cell phone, and I had been out of contact with her since the previous Thursday.

Turned out the cast for the weekend — ie, the people who had “played” the gods at shrine time and other activities — were still there, in another cabin off to the side. They saw me waiting outside the barracks, came over and got me, and told me that I could stay with them that night, eat their food, etc if I needed to and the next day, if my mom still hadn’t arrived, some of them were driving back up to Vancouver and they’d take me with them.

The gods provided for me. Quite literally, in this case.

The more you let go, and let the gods, the easier it becomes to deal with life’s changes. Because life will kick you in the ass with unexpected fuckery. You can’t prepare for this, but you can make it easier to deal with.

So let go. For ten minutes a day, let go of something. Let your expectations fade away. Let something go the way it’s going to go. Relinquish your control.

(I realize this can be incredibly frightening, to the point of inducing panic attacks. I’m not advocating dangerous behaviour. I’m saying, find a place where you can let go, in the safety and comfort of people who love you, and give it a spin. It will be frightening if you are not used to letting go. That’s unavoidable. But there’s a line between ‘scary in a liberating way’ and ‘panic-attack inducing’. You know that line for yourself better than I do.)

It’s not easy work, but it’s necessary. And never-ending. As more things happen in our lives that make us feel out of control, we exert more and more control over everything we can, and if gone unchecked, we shut down our spirituality. This may be a source of spiritually fallow times. I know it probably is for me.

As for myself…. Today is my twenty-sixth birthday. I’m going to practice letting go [of my issues with not having accomplished as much as I wanted to by now; of my panic over moving; of my worries about the coming year and my new adventure in university; of speculation regarding what storms I’ll need to weather in the near future, as I’ve been told I will by an oracle; etc, etc, etc].

9 Comments


  1. Happy birthday, Morag. I loved this post and I love you. Have a wonderful day!

    Reply

  2. I really relate to this. I struggle to let go all the time to the point where it’s the biggest thing standing in my way with my Patron. I suck at relinquishing control and just being.

    Thank you for writing this. It’s given me a lot to think about. I don’t know that I know how to let go of things [got any tips on that?] but I can try.

    Reply

    1. Start with the small stuff. For me, it can be as simple as wearing a color of nail polish that I’d normally never touch (pink, for example) and going with it all day. Wearing it in public. Sitting with the discomfort it brings me, and eventually becoming comfortable with it, to the point where I’ll wear it because I like to — or not, but I won’t freak out about wearing pink nail polish. It’ll be an option for me.

      Wear a piece of clothing you’re not sure about. Chances are, it looks great on you and people will let you know.

      Try a new drink at Starbucks, or coffee place of choice.

      Read a book in a different genre from your usual.

      These are all tiny, mundane things, but they’re baby steps. They can help. Once you’re used to letting go of the small stuff — regular drinks, habits, routine — then you can start to focus on the big stuff.

      Like making plans on the spur of the moment and just…doing them. This, of course, can be largely dependent on financial situation, and I’m not advocating spending your life savings on a trip to Vegas because you felt like it. ;) But sometimes those feelings…those impulses to leap without looking — sometimes they come from the gods Themselves. So sometimes they need to be listened to.

      (Example: when I was sixteen I decided to get a tattoo. I had a tattoo artist staying with me, and she agreed to tattoo me for a reduced cost, because she and her husband had fallen on hard times and we’d given them a place to stay and work fixing up the house. I designed the tattoo about five minutes before I got it inked (which took all night, but that’s another story). I was a leap-without-looking, doing things for shock value kind of teenager, but this wasn’t that — it was literally me sitting down, saying to myself “I have no idea what I want, but I know I want something spiritual, because it’s a sacrifice and important,” and then my hand just drawing it like a thing possessed. I looked at it and said, “Yes. That’s it. That’s my first tattoo.” Recently, Brighid tells me “Oh, by the way, I’ve claimed your back as mine with regards to inking, so you can get your Tara tattoo elsewhere.” I say “What about the tattoo that’s already on my lower back?” and She replies “What makes you think that’s not mine as well?” In the ten years since my first tattoo, I’ve never regretted it.)

      Basically, letting go is the same as learning to push the boundaries of your comfort zone — dealing with the fear and discomfort that brings. Once you get comfortable with doing it in the mundane world, it becomes easier in the spiritual. (I’m not giving you specific spiritual ways of doing this because I don’t know your path, and what’s good for me may not be good for you.)

      And by “getting comfortable with it” I mean getting used to the fear that this sort of change inevitably brings. Well. Fear or excitement; six of one, half a dozen of the other, really.

      That was a huge ramble and I really hope it helped. :)

      Reply

  3. Happy birthday! I hope you had a good one.

    I like the letting go. I think it takes practice and repractice. It is as if every media outlet pushes a body to sieze the day but they really mean sieze their product and whatever insidious self doubt it takes to do that. And it is almost anathema not to engage in that frenzy. I have to take steps to make it easier to step out and let go so I don’t get caught up in it.

    Thanks for the reminder to do this. It can make the most daunting of tasks manageable thinking this way.

    Reply

    1. Happy birthday! I hope you had a good one.

      Thank you! I really did.

      I like the letting go. I think it takes practice and repractice. It is as if every media outlet pushes a body to sieze the day but they really mean sieze their product and whatever insidious self doubt it takes to do that.

      Oh, yes. That is definitely a Thing. Advertising is so insidious. We’d all like to think we’re immune to it, but we’re really not.

      Thanks for the reminder to do this. It can make the most daunting of tasks manageable thinking this way.

      You’re welcome. :) I’m personally using it as a bit of a mantra while packing up my house for the BIG MOVE this month.

      Reply

  4. As always, an inspiring post. I had my measure of letting go to do lately, so I understand, apprecciate yourtips and wish you a belted merry birthday!

    Reply

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