Listen up, people, because I’m about to introduce you to Big Wild Love (BWL) and how you can get it by practicing the act of Letting Go. And you want it, trust me; we all do. Whether you’re looking for long-term romantic love, to mend fences with a friend, kick-start your career, or to simply appreciate the tulips in your garden, BWL and Letting Go can show you the way.
Before I dive in, while there’s not going to be a quiz at the end, I am going to ask you for a favor: Think about how I can help you Let Go to bring BWL into your life. Then, I hope you’ll send me your questions. Because I’ve done it and it works! And I want to share with you what I’ve learned. More on that in a bit…
For now, I invite you to imagine a time when you felt really good. Peaceful. Happy. Productive. When you felt strong, like you could totally handle a tattoo on your #@$, Mercury in Retrograde, and even balance your checkbook. Maybe you:
Braved the world of online dating in the hopes of finding your soulmate.
Pushed yourself to do something scary, like taking Shaolin Kung Fu at some dusty little dojo—after you’d been a devoted couch potato—and where everybody looked like they belonged on the set of The Godfather. (Yep, I did that!)
Decided to forgive your brother, best friend, cousin, uncle, or co-worker for that thing they did.
Took on a project at work that both thrilled you and terrified you, keeping you up at night wondering if you could pull it off. And you killed it!
Stopped for a moment and think about the time your clothes lined up perfectly in your newly organized closet. You got to wear yoga pants to your corporate job. Or when your mother gave you a COMPLIMENT: “You could not be any better, we love you,” she wrote to me in a birthday card.
What did those moments feel like? Who were you with? What were you doing?
Going in for that first kiss? Reconnecting with your mantra? Reading the classics? Be still my Big Wild Beating Heart for East of Eden: “I guess a loving woman is indestructible.”
Whatever it is, THIS, my friends, is Big Wild Love.
BWL is not your grandmother’s version of love, which in my opinion, finds a nursing home in the Cambridge Dictionary, which defines love as pretty black and white: “Liking another adult very much and/or being romantically and sexually attracted to them.” Yeah, well, okay. If we’re being clinical. Sure. And big yawn, by the way.
BWL is more progressive than that. It’s bigger, broader, badder, and more accessible to the masses. It invites you to feel beauty. Gives you a rush of feeling happy or pleased, like taking a mental health day on the first day of Spring or taking time to just enjoy the stillness. BWL engrosses you so deeply that you forget time is passing, like right now, since it dawns on me that I’ve been writing for hours. Swoon.
Sure, Cambridge Dictionary Love plays a part, sort of, but only when layered in the grayness and drama that are love’s defining crowns. Because modern-day romantic love is not so simple. Not to the poets and playwrights, the people who really know things. They describe it as “…a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, refining the truths they can tell each other,” says Poet Adrienne Rich.
“The real him, the real her,” says Playwright Tom Stoppard, “the mask slipped from the face.”
And yet, BWL doesn’t just leave you grasping for ways to reveal your true self so the other person won’t drop you like hot lasagna. Or ask you to reserve your best googly-eyes for lovers only. Instead, it offers you options. Frees you to make googly eyes at your cat, your dinner, your stamp collection, your friends giving you a ride to the airport or a community rising up to meet you without your having to reach out first.
BWL is air. Breath. For me, It was standing in the red circle on the TEDx stage after months, no years, of hard prep, and sharing my most vulnerable truth: How letting go is the way out and the way back.
Big Wild Love is exactly THAT MOMENT—when you can’t believe, in the very best of ways, that this is where you’re at. It’s only when you’re standing in THAT MOMENT that you’re truly ripe for the most satisfying healthy relationships you’ll ever have—with lovers, friends, family members, better halves, and most importantly, with yourself.
Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.
See, I was bereft of romantic BWL, in particular, for a very long time. Oh sure, I had the basics—including a good job, good apartment, and good friends—but I lacked the long-term love and commitment I craved, despite my being in a relationship with a perfectly fine man for twelve years. The problem? I wanted marriage and he didn’t. It was a disconnect as old as time itself, that left me feeling deflated, like a punctured tire losing air with no gas station in sight.
Too busy shielding myself from sharp objects on the road, I couldn’t read anything of beauty or worth, even though it was all around me. Until, that is, I had an epiphany that would change everything. That’s when, “like a leaf falling from a tree,” to quote the Reverend Safire Rose in the poem She Let Go, I did just that.
“No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulation.
No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing.”
I let go of this man who didn’t want what I wanted. And it hurt. A lot. Like being poked in the chest with a crowbar, a thousand times. But where there is pain, there is also awakening. I came to see that, despite all I’d lost, love was still abundant. And that’s when BWL showed up in surround sound.
First came a peaceful reckoning with the end of romance, then the sadness, the tearful goodbyes, and the road trip and a new life. Soon thereafter, I happened upon the biggest, badass-iest BWL of them all: An affair with myself. Reclamation. Proof that I can survive the worst of love in the best of ways. You can hear how I found my biggest baddest love in my TEDx Wilmington Women Talk – The Unstoppable Power of Letting Go.
Has it been a while since you’ve had a BWL moment of any kind? Since you’ve stood in the big red circle of your own life, beaming? If so, it’s time for a revival. And that’s what this column is all about. I’m here to help you let go to find your way back. To let you know that, if you let it, BWL will light you up from the inside out—and open you up for the most radical realistically-ever-after you could imagine: The kind where happiness, contentment, compromise, perhaps an aberrant stepchild, laundry for two, and a garage full of man tools—or woman tools—are all joyfully within grasp.
Whatever you want. You’re calling the shots.
“In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.”
So talk to me. What’s in the way of your Big Wild Love? Together, let’s figure it out. I’m here, at email@example.com, when you’re ready (but hurry).
JILL SHERER MURRAY
Jill Sherer Murray is a TEDx speaker and an award-winning journalist and communications leader who can trace every success in her career (and love life) to letting go. In her current role, she leads a team of creatives in developing education and marketing campaigns for a national consulting firm. She currently writes a column called Big Wild Love: Let Go For It℠ for the award-winning digital magazine www.wildriverreview.com.
A writer, marketer, blogger, and speaker, Jill spent much of her career unleashing fresh new communications strategies to brands like Gatorade, Ikea, and Hewitt Associates. She spent a year studying improvisation comedy at the famous Second City Training Center in Chicago. And another five years writing a popular blog called Diary of a Writer in Mid-Life Crisis for www.wildriverreview.com. Jill also let go of just about everything to put her weight in Shape Magazine—12 times—as part of a year-long assignment to document her weight loss journey for six million readers.
Jill holds a Master of Science degree in Communications from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Temple University. She let go of city living to set down roots in the suburbs of Doylestown, PA, with her husband Dan, rescue dogs Winnie and Elvis, and way too many shoes. Her talk helps others realize what letting go really means—winning.