Everybody is familiar with them. The tiny delightful creatures, domed and polka-dotted. However, I am not sure that I had ever been aware of their role as a garden’s keeper. I learned that they feed off of aphids and other pests that wreak havoc on plants—a noble job.
One morning, stumbling across an opportunity to bring home some ladybugs for the garden, the girls and I had an adventure. Shortly after all the “ohhs” and “ahhs” were exchanged, I became aware that loss was around the corner. It was inevitable, for this is the experience we live constantly. Isn’t life a loop of new beginnings and endings? Sure enough, my announcement that we would take them home and release them into the garden, as joyous as it sounded to me, brought tears from the little one. “But I want to keep them,” she cried. “They are going to be so happy in their new home,” I assured her. I could see the pain on her face. This would be just one more early experience of letting go and working through loss as life takes us through transitions and joy juxtaposed with grief.
The concept of attachment is a challenging one to work through even for adults, perhaps even more so. The constant flow of life is ever-changing. We see this in the natural order of things, such as in the shifting of the seasons as autumn releases into winter, winter opens into spring, spring relaxes into summer, and summer transforms back to autumn. Life’s perpetual flux is easy to see in the changing of the plants around us. Even our own growth and development holds inherent losses as we reach new milestones. From the young to the old, I have heard people lament the passing of the years.
Thus, if change is inevitable and naturally holds some good-bye’s as we enter new stages, how can we ease the transitions? Well, what I have observed clinically, as well as personally, is that the more fully present we can be in the current moment, the more enriching our experiences will be. Though we might wonder if being more present will make it harder to let go, the opposite holds true. For when we are present with each experience, one moment turns into the next…which turns into the next…which turns into the next. Before we know it, we are riding the wave of beginnings and closings. Such intentional presence won’t mean that we won’t feel the losses, but we will be less likely to get stuck in them. In effect, we will become better equipped to keep moving along the ever-changing path of life. So the next time you have trouble letting go, perhaps a gentle hum of “ladybug, ladybug, fly away home” will act as a tender reminder that this release is a necessary, and even beautiful, part of the process.
Readers who are interested in learning more about the science behind applying mindfulness and self-awareness for habit change are invited to check out Dr. Klich’s website MyMindfulwayoflife.com