“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.”
Several years ago my mother-in-law was vacationing at the beach. While out for an early evening walk, she noticed a young boy swimming and splashing in a creek that ran along the beach. The creek was subject to the same currents and tides as the ocean and upon taking a closer look, she noticed that the boy wasn't actually splashing playfully but was struggling to keep his head above water. No one seemed to be supervising the boy and there was no one else around so she called out to the boy and asked him if he was ok. The boy shook his head "no", so my mother-in-law jumped in the creek, clothes and all and swam out to the child. It didn't take her long to realize that the boy was stuck in a rip current and that she was caught up in it as well.
Riptides, or "rip currents", are long, narrow bands of water that quickly pull any objects in them away from shore and out to sea. They are dangerous but are relatively easy to escape if you stay calm. There are about 100 riptide related deaths per year in the United States, but most of these deaths are not caused by the tides themselves. People often become exhausted struggling against the current and cannot make it back to shore. The key to escaping riptides is not to struggle against the current.
So, my mother-in-law grabbed the boy and tried to swim across the creek to safety to no avail. She was beginning to get tired. The boy was exhausted. Thankfully, a man passing by called out to her and told her not to swim against the current, but rather to swim out of it by swimming parallel to the shore. This is an exercise in trust. It can be scary to go with the flow of something so strong, but once my mother-in-law began to do this, she was released from the strong current and was able to get herself and the child back to safety.
So often in life it is our willingness to trust and let go of struggle that allows us to live more fully. This reminded me of a post from the "Daily Om" that I read last month:
Every moment is a chance to let go and feel peaceful.