After 18 years of being a relationship coach, I can say with unqualified certainty that most problems between mates have to do with some kind of control on either person’s or both people’s part. The simple, but difficult answer to most problems in relationships is to LET GO. Easily said, I admit, however letting go is the answer to most, if not all of life’s problems.
Life gives us opportunities to let go on a daily basis. Let’s call it practice time, if you will. From letting go of obsessing over how your mate hangs the toilet paper roll, to having a death grip on changing your partner’s smoking habit, every day presents us with the chance to let go.
I had such a chance yesterday while my husband and I took a 6-hour kayak trip. The weather was perfect. I enjoyed the pleasant trip down the Grand River on Cleveland’s east side, until I headed into the 4th hour of kayaking. At that point, I hit a wall and suddenly wanted the trip to be over. My wrists hurt with every lift of the paddle and my back was screaming at me!
All I knew was that this trip needed to end soon, and I was going to take control. I gripped the paddle with a new-found ferocity and dug it into the water like I was digging for gold. But the faster I paddled, the slower I seemed to go. Five minutes of maniacal kayaking and I was exhausted. In that moment, one of my friends sailed by me and quietly said, “Kathy, you’re working too hard. Just ease up by only putting the tips of your paddle into the water.”
Ease up? Was he crazy? And how could putting the tips of the paddle get me off this river? I had nothing to lose, so I did what he said. I let go of my fierce grip on the paddle and gently lapped at the water with only the tip of the paddle. I couldn’t believe it! I was moving faster than I had the previous 4 hours. The last two hours were the most enjoyable of the trip. Why? Because I let go.