We human beings like to pretend we are in control. We imagine we live in a fair and predictable universe. Part of what makes illness difficult is that we realize the opposite is true. No matter how carefully we assemble the building blocks of health, disease happens, body parts wear out, and even the most advanced physiatry leaves as helpless and in pain.

We can rail and roar against our fate (and sometimes a little venting is helpful) or we can get on with whatever is next. Hermann Hesse wrote “Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”

We can let go of the illusion of control. We can let go of old images of strength, health, and power. We can release ambition, grasping and “stretch goals” and sink into the miracle of the present moment.

This is not an easy process, but it is a simple one. Each time I notice that I am quarreling with reality or “shoulding” on the moment, I envision a hand dropping a pebble and think “let go.” It is what it is.

Every time I notice I’m holding on, I remind myself to let go. It’s a practice, not a one-time accomplishment.

There is a great freedom in letting go. All the energy I’ve been using in an effort to make things go my way is released. The next unpredictable moment can bring whatever gifts I am willing to find in it.

When I have surrendered and surrendered and surrendered so I find that my hands are empty, then I have reached acceptance. Nothing to do. No place to go. No one to try to impress. Just the open field of this moment.