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  • Noelle Chorney

"Hold everything lightly"

If there is one lesson that I can take away from the past 18 months of 2020 and 2021, it is this.

Thistle flower
For the ephemeral bloom—and the prickles—hold lightly.

Real suffering happened over the past year and a half, particularly among those that are most vulnerable. Within my own very privileged community, I noticed that suffering often increased with holding on. I witnessed and experienced losses of freedom, identity, loved ones. And I witnessed the suffering that is caused when you hang on too tightly to anything — to ideas, beliefs, schedules, expectations of how things should be, to the third dimension, whatever it might be.


This last year and a half has felt like we've had our 'woke' selves put to the test. Do you really believe everything happens for your evolution? Can you hold that belief as you get slammed by one tragedy after another? I believe our souls chose to be on Earth to experience this time, even the hard parts — and I still believe that, even after last year. It actually helped me to cope. Living with uncertainty and trusting the process was already a practice for me. Last year made me feel like I had company as everyone else was thrust into uncertainty too.


When you are committed to trusting the process, and you lose the things you love, can you still trust the process? It's really hard not to hold on, but in my experience, holding on doesn't prevent the process; it just makes the process hurt more. This year has been an exercise in having a light touch. Even the things you want most — especially the things you want most — be willing to let them go.


This of course is easier said than done, and runs counter to our social conditioning. You fight for what you love...right? It felt wrong on a conditioned level to be willing to let go of the opportunities, experiences, even the people I loved that I lost in the last year. But my heart knew it was part of the process that we all need to go through.


Holding on suggests you know better. Holding lightly acknowledges that maybe there's more going on than meets the eye, and is an exercise in trusting the process. Alongside my very human discomfort and desire to escape the dystopian reality we were living in over the past several months was a very sure sense that there is way more going on beyond my immediate senses. It was a global version of going through, to get to. I have reflected a lot on how difficult these pandemic years would be on those who are really invested in the third dimension, only the material world. If that were all you thought existed, this would be a very difficult time.


But that also leads me to another practice of holding lightly — holding our truth. I used to think there was a capital 'T' truth that was the same for everyone, but that some people just resisted it for various reasons. I've recovered from that delusion now, and understand that everyone is moving along their own path and for every consciousness there is an individual reality, truth and process. For all that I am invested in the unseen, I still try to hold even those beliefs lightly, and no longer presume to impose them on anyone else, first because they may not apply to those people, and second, because they are subject to change at any notice.


As an example, we just received the back to school plan for our kids. Last year at this time was a painful process. My husband and I were at odds on our positions about whether our kids should attend school, and the decision-making was full of angst as we struggled with choosing between two equally awful choices. This year, we were far more relaxed about it, and my husband asked whether this year's plan involved masks. I confirmed that it did for elementary-aged children. He nodded and said, "That's good, I agree with that approach, since they can't be vaccinated." I laughed and said, "Remember how last year at this time, having kids wear masks in school was one of your deal-breakers? How things change."


I have always been the kind of person who reserves the right to change their mind. So perhaps holding lightly comes more easily for me than for others. I feel great compassion for the people who hold tightly to their beliefs and world views — when you hang on to things, people, or your world view too tightly, any changes to what you're holding on to can feel life-threatening. I am grateful to have the practice of holding the third dimension particularly lightly, but also curious whether there are things I hold on to tightly, which will undoubtedly come up to test me as my life continues to unfold.


The lesson of holding everything lightly is certainly not done with me. This summer several projects that speak to me on a soul level were suddenly postponed indefinitely. And a women's retreat that I was really looking forward to, and which had already been postponed a couple of times, was postponed once more as I was driving across the country to attend it. This left me untethered from the purpose of my trip, and gave me an opportunity to follow the impulse, serve as I felt called, and rest a little, too. I'm still a little bereft to not have been able to attend, but also sitting with the fact that maybe it's time for me to create space for rest and ceremony every day, rather than than leaving the organizing to others, and only setting aside a few days a year.


In the meantime, I'll do my best to leave room for magic and movement in the unseen and throughout multiple dimensions. A multi-dimensional world is much more saturated in possibility — and way more interesting. To allow the many dimensions, alternate realities and possible worlds to really settle into your psyche might mean never again considering anything to be impossible, nor thinking that the only truth is what is right in front of you.


Whatever your own process, I encourage you to hold it lightly. If that feels too hard, think about areas of your life that cause you to feel tension in your body, like clenched fists or gritted teeth. How would it feel to take a deep breath, let it out, and relax that tension a little? What are you holding on to? What could change if you relaxed your grip?


In my experience, the path to your purpose doesn't unfold in the way any of us imagine it would. Just because it doesn't look like it should, doesn't mean it isn't exactly right. Hold all the possibilities lightly, and stay curious about the unfolding.


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