My local small group is reading Grandmother Dreams. We just completed a discussion of the end of chapter two, where Mara reminds us that there are always two sides to any situation. She says, (page 63):
Gifts and danger are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have a coin with only one side. There is always something on the other side. Don’t always be expecting the gifts without receiving the risks as well. If all you see are the risks, without the gifts, well that is your own doing, and you will suffer the risks only because that it what you choose to look at.
Another thing to know is that there are not just two sides. There is also an edge. You can hold your coin by the edge, so that you have the both sides in one hand. The edge appears small, much smaller than either side, but that is not the truth. Adding up all of the edge is also a significant amount, especially because it is easier to hold the edge than the side. When you hold the edge, you can choose to let go, and let go you should. You should be spending your coin in this life, not hanging on to it, hoarding neither dangers nor gifts. The best gift is given, not received. Move your coin from your pocket to your hand, and then let go. If you must hold it, hold to the edge.
And what do you know of wealth? Wealth is not an external condition. You can’t earn it with a million gifts. But you can earn it with a million loves. Hold your coin by the edge and let go. Make room for Love.
Our group seemed to easily understand the two sides of the coin, and that holding onto the edge of it means that we accept both the positive and the negative together. It seemed harder to grasp the practical application of removing the coin from our pocket and letting it go.
I am reminded of another teaching from many years ago. I was told to empty my hands. I was told that I would not be in a good position to receive more gifts of the Universe if my hands were full. According to Mara, above, it does not matter if my hands are full of gifts or threats––if my hands are full then I am clinging to that which has already occurred. I am not open to anything new.
I don’t think that years of therapy are required to empty our hands. What is needed is a practice of letting go, of not being attached to gifts and threats in general. I chose a practice of taking my daily walks with my hands open––consciously holding my hands slightly upward and fully open, in a meditative position. I felt free while doing this, and it helped me to develop a physical sensation that I can associate with letting go.
How we get to a place of letting go is not as important as how we feel when we do let go. As Wendy Palmer has said, “Letting go is not a technique, letting go is a shift in attention.”