By Andrew McNally
I sit in my apartment tired and drained.
I want to be strong. I talk to myself and push the thought, “Go to the gym and work out.” It comes, and so does the guilt. There is a realization: I am not the strong man anymore—I am never going to be the world’s strongest man.
With the thought comes some relief, and with the relief the idea that maybe, just maybe, I never was supposed to be “the strong man.” There are so many men around me who are “strong”, who work long hours and lift heavy things. It’s who I have wanted to be my entire life. Strong like my guy friends. Strong like my father, like my grandfathers.
How I used to struggle to lift more than I thought I could, just to be like them. Just to taste the glory.
I once had a visiting professor ask the class, “What do you do when you’re depressed?” There were many answers and the professor kept asking questions so we could narrow in on the answer. What do you do when you are so depressed you can’t even move? The answer was: let go. So much of my character has been about being strong. Not letting go, but fighting on and on, thinking, If only I fight a little more then I will be where I want to be, and feeling the relief that comes with it. Only to find, after struggling again and again, every time I reached a “plateau” it was really just the next step in an ever-rising set of stairs.
How do I let go? How do I let go of an idea, an ideal that has been woven into the fabric of my genes? Even as I say this to myself, I can feel my body relax at the words, “let go.” It knows what my egoic mind cannot hear because it is so driven to succeed. My ego keeps pushing slogans and images ahead of itself. Images of glory, happiness and joy; a carrot dangled in front of the mule pulling a plow, ever reaching, but never attaining.
We struggle hard. Hoping the right people will like us, maybe even love us. Pushing, pulling, tackling life in grandiose fashion so that people can see “I am not weak.”
It’s strange how not being weak means we have to succumb to the demands of the crowd. We have to listen and adhere to a voice that is not our own, and may not even be resonating with the Divine Mother’s. How do we let go when for so long we have striven to be better, anticipating that one day somewhere the woman who embodies the qualities of the Great Mother herself will look at us and choose us over any other? How do we let go when for so long we fought to prove we are not weak? Hoping one day for one moment the world would see us and be impressed.
Letting go opens a space around those images used as carrots to keep us pulling the plow. And as the space permeates what was held so high in esteem, the realization sets in: their voice is not my own.
Sitting in my apartment, breathing, coming back to center, coming back to stability. The peace my ego promised sitting deep within my heart and resonating with my being was never attainable through more or doing; it can not earned by being physically stronger. It is the peace of realizing who I am and what this life is. Peace that is there for any of us who are wise and strong enough to “let go.”
If we listen we may hear Her voice, “You do not have to be the strongest for me to love you. My love is free. If I were ever to take form I would surely love you as I do now, without limits. You are one with me and we are one in this world. You have looked and looked outside yourself to find me. Yet here I am, where I have always been.”
Her words through my soul.
Andrew McNally is currently striving to attain a master’s degree in counseling from a University in Maine. He enjoys hiking, biking, and swimming, as well as working on wood crafting projects in his spare time. With a belief that the divine lies in each and every human, as well as anything else that exists in the universe, Andrew strives to connect to Life and its divinity in anyway possible including, meditation, walks in the woods, and taking trips in his colorful and vivid imagination.
Editor: Alicia Wozniak