When you come to St Marten, like a number of tropical islands, you see many stray animals. They wander the streets, dogs and cats, kitten and puppies, depending on the kindness of strangers to give them food and water. They can be crafty and find scraps and of course, cats can capture live animals for food, but for the most of them, it’s a meager existence. For an animal lover, it’s almost too much to bear. Many people that live in St Marten grow their household by adopting animals that they befriend because they landed on their doorstep or porch, or adopted their driveway or yard as a place to sleep. The responsible resident will ever go so far as to bring the animal to the vet for free spaying, to further ensure that the population of unclaimed animals is decreased.
The challenge with adopting one of these animals is that they’re used to being free. They were born in the wild and even though they depend on others for food, and love the companionship, they also have the urge to roam and when they chose to leave the house to visit the beach or search thru the tropical foliage, no one can stop them. Many of the homes are open to the outside when the doors and shutters are open so these “pets” can come and go as they please. If you’ve ever lived in the city, like me, you don’t have that kind of relationship with your pet; you always either are with them, or they’re safely in your home. You never worry that they’ll come home, because, well, they’re always home. I can remember growing up in a residential area and we had cats. Our first set of cats were what my mom called “indoor/outdoor” but I’m convinced they never went further than our backyard. When your backyard is the beaches of St Marten and your neighborhood includes the gardens of homes throughout a tropical island, it’s a lot more amazing when you return to your home, in one piece, safe and sound.
So what does this have to do with letting go? And what does letting go have to do with health and wellness and my writings on the pillars of health and wellness? A lot. One of the biggest ways to get healthy is to realize that the more you try to hold onto things, the harder it is, and really, it’s impossible. Whether it’s a loved one, a pet, your age, your money, your future plans, they all can be part of your life, but as soon as you depend on them, as soon as you “need” them to live, and try to hold onto them, for fear that without them, you can’t survive, well, then the freedom that’s essential for these things to flourish (even wealth) is gone. Its almost like in order to “have”, you have to let go. And then, in one of the true paradoxes of life, you will “have” and almost can have more than if you tried to “get” and “hold on” to what you love. For the time I have spent in St. Marten and have seen pets I love come and go, every time they return throughout the day, I love them even more and marvel at the gift of letting go.
Your health and wellness depends on your ability to let go of that to which you’re attached. Take time to examine what that is: be it a person or a material thing, your golf game or your wrinkle-free visage. Take time to examine your attachments and what’s behind them. Challenge yourself to let go, even just a little and see what happens. Maybe you’ll be surprised that through letting go, your find what you were looking for all along was right there.