I'm going to the store later today to buy a helium balloon. I don't care if it's one that wishes someone a happy birthday or declares the giver's love for the receiver. What's on the balloon really isn't the point for me. I just want to take it out in the back yard, maybe down to the river, and let it go. Buying a balloon just to let it go is my plan.
I've been spending a lot of time lately imagining how I want my life to look and feel. I've written descriptions of four areas of my life that are evocative pictures of what I want when I'm moving effortlessly through life, experiencing it the way I think it should be lived, full of the joy and passion and satisfaction that I think I'm meant to have, not because I'm anyone special or particularly worthy of the privilege of such abundance. I'm just now, at 43, getting around to actually believing that what I've long thought was meant for everyone else in the world is also actually meant for me too. There's no need to pity me for this. It's not a bad thing to discover this at age 43. I think I have some wisdom and clarity and focus that makes it all the sweeter to enjoy these things now that likely would have been lacking from my experience much earlier in my life. I'm just happy to be awake to it now.
But back to balloons and why I plan to release one today. I am finding that the abundance I seek exists somewhere in the tension of working on those things over which I have control and practicing an awareness that control is merely an illusion. I have it, and taking responsibility for that which I can influence requires far less energy and provides much greater satisfaction than hanging my hopes on the actions and desires of others. But if that sense of control isn't held in tension with a good healthy practice of detachment, I'm going to be gravely disappointed somewhere along the way. That's why I'm releasing a balloon today.
I need to let go of my attachment to a particular hope for my life. It's the next step in a long journey of detachment. This hope has taken on a sense of ultimacy that's far too confining for me. Letting go of it, allowing for the possibility that it may not be my path, frees me to see the ways in which God is seeking to offer me that which I thought only this one hopeful outcome could offer.
I've held on to that hope because I thought I was as entitled to it as anyone else. I've clung to it because I was convinced its absence from my life meant I was living in deprivation. I know now that's not true. If it never comes to me, I will be just fine. I will not be in the least deprived, as long as I keep my focus on what's provided in the moment and not get too attached to it to provide what I need or long for.
So I'm going to buy a balloon and let go and watch it float up into the sky and out of my sight. I'm going to marvel in the sense of freedom that comes in seeing the balloon carry away my attachment. And I'm going to delight with gratitude in the abundance that exists in my life today.
Anyone want to join me? Wouldn't it be great to walk outside and see someone else's balloon in the sky and know that today her/his life is a little lighter too?