To Hang On or Let Go: Reflections on Separation

Separation is an important process in life. We separate the wheat from the chaff in order to make flour, and the cream from the milk to make butter. We separate the metal from the rock to gather gold, and the truth from the lies and illusions in order to see reality. We separate things because they are more valuable or useful by themselves than mixed.

In your personal life you may feel that in order to grow, or live a more valuable life, you must separate from your family or your spouse, your job or your home, etc. You may decide to leave your family, or stop communicating with them. You divorce your spouse. You quit your job, or sell your house and buy another. Depending upon the situation, any one of these actions might be appropriate. But sometimes they are not. Often, we try to solve our problems by altering the world around us rather than the world within us.

For example, is it your outer marriage that needs to end, or your inner marriage to certain beliefs and goals that conceal and constrict your true self? Do you need to distance yourself from your parents or from the way you nurture and parent yourself? Do you need a new job or a deepened and more enlivened sense of your life’s work? Do you need a new house, or do you need to change the values and attitudes that house your soul?

Separation is a necessary and recurring part of life. But, like the surgeon’s scalpel, it must be applied to the right tissue at the right time if it is to bring healing and wholeness.

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