Aerial Silks’ Lessons on Living: Holding On and Letting Go

Knowing when to hold on and when to let go is a long standing challenge in (my) life. In some situations, if you hold on for a little bit longer, things will get better. In others, letting go is the best release. Of course, situation by situation dictates how the outcome will either be easier or not. You just can’t know.

There’s not one easy rule. Always let go, and life will be easy. Always hold on and your dream will succeed.

How many times have you let something go and realized that maybe it wasn’t time to let go? Or maybe you held on to a dream so tightly that instead of expanding and growing, it died in sweaty palm?

I never get this right. I either hold on for too long, too faithfully…or I’m just over it and have already moved on and let it go. If only, I could figure out the secret to the balance between holding on and letting go.

To me, aerial silks is the living and breathing example of the power of both holding on and letting go.

Aerial Silks' Lessons on Living: Holding On and Letting GoThis apparatus requires the balance of the two. If you release too soon, you could fall out of the silks or get hopelessly entangled. To hold on too long might cause your forearms to freeze up and the silk around your upper thigh to sleepify your whole leg.

To set for any drop or dive trick, you must hold tight as you climb breathlessly high. You circle silk to foot, waist to silk, and silk to hip. And you must grip. For this is not the time to release.

The teacher demonstrates the movements while talking us through each part. She’ll say, “Make sure to catch the silk tightly behind your knee.” or “Squeeze your legs tight here so you don’t slip.” Although at some moments, we might be instructed to let go with our hands, it’s likely that we’re holding on with our feet, legs, or armpits.

Aerial Silks' Lessons on Living: Holding On and Letting Go

Angel Dive

And sometimes, you don’t hold on. Not with your hands. Nor with your feet. But, the silk is swaddles you for the trick, and though you don’t hold on, silk holds to you.

The first time I wrapped for an Angel Dive, I hung with my back arched and my hands gripping the silks above my head. My entire body was swathed in wraps of silk—like a seat belt or diaper. I held tight to the fabric. Did I trust myself? Did I trust the silks? Did I trust my instructor? If I let go, would I be okay? (IG video here)

I tried to let go with both hands at the same time, but one hand released a second later (probably reflecting that subconscious uncertainty). And I wobbled through the dive. But I did it. It was terrifying to let go, but it was worth it.

Aerial Silks' Lessons on Living: Holding On and Letting GoAnd I’m lucky. I don’t have to figure out these moves on my own, but the pioneers of aerial silks did. I have teachers to help show me when to hold on tightly and when to dive, drop, and spin. Isn’t it funny how we fear letting go, only to discover how exhilarating it can be?

Humans have been on this earth for generations upon generations. So while we aren’t perfect, we’ve got plenty of other people to learn from. The trick is choosing the right people to guide and mold your perspective of yourself, the world, and human life.

I believe there’s a time for everything. Holding on. Letting go. Diving forward.

Letting go and holding on is hard, but it’s worth it.

(Psst. If you want to watch me play on aerial silks, I post my fails and favorites to Instagram!)

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