Lessons from the wind

I’ve always thought of my Earth Sign stability as an essential counterpart to the recklessness and turbidity of those who allowed themselves to be tossed in the wind. But perhaps I have been overlooking the valuable lesson of the Air Element: Release attachment.

Let things blow away, scatter like leaves. To stay attached is to needlessly drain away energy. 

Trees in autumn pull the chlorophyll from their green leaves back into their woody bodies so that they may store it for new growth next spring. Once the leaves have completed their purpose as gatherers of sunshine, they are released to the wind. To greedily hold on to green leaves after the weather begins to cool puts the tree at risk of losing its precious chlorophyll to frost.  

One of Air’s purposes in nature is to disperse; seeds, smoke, scent. Its speed and direction are always changing. Like chasing a stack of papers dropped on a windy day or a hat blown into the water; the air will tease you (just like life), allowing you to get close enough to bend down and stretch out a hopeful arm, before lifting the object away and setting it just out of reach. 

The wind teaches us to detach and let things go… a challenging lesson for someone like me, so tied to gravity. I have built my identity upon solidly holding onto the kite strings of friends and family as they dip and tug and tumble.

Throughout my life I have struggled to hold on to thoughts and people and things as they fluttered about, caught up in the breezes of life. I am a Virgo, Taurus Rising, a grounded and steady soul. Even in the midst of my own darkness, I have found my solace among stones and soil, under the cave-like canopy of the forest.

But the earthbound consistency of the rock is an illusion. The truth is that, over time, even solid stone will be worn away by the invisible and tenacious force of moving air. 

Everything is impermanent, and the direction of life is unknown.

So here is my lesson received from Air: Release attachment to the outcome. 

Release attachment to my written words – who reads them, whether or not people like them, if they are good enough. Form them and make them solid, because their creation is what heals me. They are not perfect. They are no more or less important than anyone else’s words. I release them to the air and trust that they will settle where they are needed.

Release attachment to the ‘plan’ – following a schedule, what is next, where I am going. (This is a hard one for me.) What I expect to happen isn’t always what actually happens, and that’s okay. I don’t have control over what the next day (or even next hour) will bring, but that mystery is part of the beauty of life.

Release attachment to my children’s behavior – taking it personally, my fear of judgment. As a parent, my tendency is to take ownership of my kids’ words and actions and feel shame if they are not aligned with what I perceive to be the expectations of others. Yet I must remember that my children are having their own experiences and emotions, and their lives are a work in progress. Releasing myself from attachment to their behavior will allow me to react in a more objective and loving way. 

And as Buddha reminds us, release attachment even to those we love, for we are all impermanent. Relationships come and go, friendships grow stronger and dimmer, and life situations alter who resides in our inner circles and who finds their way to the fringe. Death and illness will eventually separate each of us in the corporeal plane.

These inevitabilities are part of the wild journey; without the capricious spirit of Air life would be far too predictable.  

The wind shifts; one path dissolves while elsewhere another re-forms.

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