Rent, Grace, and a Method for Letting Go (for those of us who… don’t)

A good idea

As you know, we coaches are big on releasing attachment.  “Let go,” we exhort ourselves (and others! in a well-meaning way!)* when we detect grasping.

A difficult-to-access idea

Whether we’re talking about holding on to something already in hand or desperately wanting something elusive, when you stop grasping, it does work crazy magic plus you feel exhilarated and calm at the same time. But I can’t always DO it.

I understand that release is likely an opening up — unclenching my mind, fist, or heart — and trusting that if things don’t go the way I want, then the new way or new result will be something wonderful. Something better, even. But sometimes I just can’t get how.

In fact, gulp: when stuck in desire, I don’t even WANT to stop wanting.

I decided to un-pack the idea in search of some fundamental “how-to”

Re-leasere(again) + laxare (Latin: loosen, relax)

Re-.” SO maybe once upon a time we were relaxed and loose, AND we can get that way again. Nice. BUT…

Lease?” That’s just weird because:

Lease: “A contract by which one party (landlord or lessor) gives to another (tenant or lessee) the use and possession of lands, buildings, and/or property for a specified time and for fixed payments.”

What the heck does renting have to do with relaxing and loosening?

Hmm. Maybe I should stick with “letting” go. But… brace yourself:

Let: First definition (archaic, based on the root word lei): “leave behind or abandon”

Second definition: “give the use of (a house, room, etc.) to a tenant in return for rent.”

How did we get immediately from “abandon” to “rent” in the same word?

For that matter…

How do we get release from lease?

Based on our own language, we might deduce that in order to re-lease, we had to have leased in the first place. It would seem that:

In order to relax our grip, we must start with a contractual agreement.

What if we do need to be proper landlords of our property — and presumably that includes our own selves? As proper “lett-ers,” we would need to spell out the following:

~ We allow particular use and possession of our property

~ by contract

~ over a finite, clear period

~ for an agreed-upon return (rent/payment/compensation).

So, for example, if I can “re-lease” a particular object of my desire, then it means that I first entered into a mutual and clear agreement with the desire-ee saying ‘you get to use and possess my desire for ___ amount of time and in return you give me ___.’

Are you freaking out in the reading of this as much as I did in the writing of it?

Yeah, you might say, because what about unconditional love?

But then you realize…

What’s unconditional love got to do with it?

You realize… letting go does not conflict with love, conditional or otherwise, because grasping is not love.

Even in the midst of the grasping, we know that it’s different than love.

Love is adoring and enjoying something (a person, place, object, activity, sensation, emotion, idea, etc.) and wanting the best for that something — actually reveling in whatever’s best for it.

Grasping is when we want the something for our consumption. For ourselves. We want to adore and enjoy that something in a specific way — in person, maybe. Or exclusively. Or immediately. Or for a certain amount of time.

Here’s the tricky surprise bit: We can love and grasp at the same time.

We can combine love with attachment

We can mutually agree upon a very specific way in which we will adore and enjoy something in return for… whatever we decide upon.

Maybe in return for reciprocal enjoyment and adoration. Maybe security of some kind. Maybe money or a barter or a favor to be redeemed in the future.

And then, within this framework, we can loosen and relax.

Contractual agreement + love:

It’s kind of cool. It’s marriage. It’s a job contract. It’s every pillar of society, and indeed it is civilization — the whole “social contract.” I think that’s a cool thing: love is in all of it.

Best part is…

When it’s over, you know what you are leaving behind: that specified mutual exchange. You’re abandoning the right to use and possess one another.

Don’t mourn unconditional love

Because the love is still there. It’s here now.

The love is not abandoned, just the lease.

Knowing that, you automatically release: re-loosen and re-re-lax.

It’s all rather glorious…

… Unless you never had a lease to begin with.

This is my personal specialty.

I now think that when I cannot let go of something, it’s because:

Some kind of use and possession happened but wasn’t clarified.

Maybe there was a reciprocal deal going on that wasn’t spelled out. Or maybe I only thought there was a reciprocal deal. Maybe it is an unrequited, unfulfilled yearning with only one way in and very definitely not clarified, even within myself.

Before we spin any further down that rabbit hole of self-loathing, don’t panic.

There is a solution!!!

Write a lease after the fact. 

Think about it:

You can post-date the lease!

~ Initial next to that old date with the real date so you’re not lying to yourself.

You absolutely do not need another person to do this!

~ Most of our agreements are with ourselves anyway. All the really big ones, for sure.

~ Or you can sign the other person’s name. (In front of that fake signature, write your initials, the word “assuming intent for,” and the current date — just to be above board with yourself.)

~ If the other party wants to be in on it, fine. But be careful here. Be very clear about what you want to write. Put yourself first in this part of the process.

Agreed? Agreed. Let’s do it:


“I ____ [lessor] agree to allow ____ [lessee] use and possession of my ______ [e.g., soul, body, mind, emotions, imagination, desire, labor, resources, house, dog, shoes, or whatever] for ____ days/weeks/years/lifetimes in return for _______ [e.g., the same from them, fun, a sense of safety, full-on worship, mild affection, any kind of engagement at all, chocolate, the family gumbo recipe, or whatever you want]. This agreement can be renewed if both parties agree, and it can be revoked by either party at any time without cause.”


________ [Lessor]    _______ [Date]

________ [Lesse]      _______ [Date]


Renewed/Revoked [cross out whichever is not applicable]:

________ [Lessor]    _______ [Date]

________ [Lesse]      _______ [Date]

After you complete the revocation of this lease, you can file it, rip it up, or burn it.

Note: you can add a witness if you want, which is especially fun if you want to have to have a Lease Burning Party with your best friend. With cake.

It doesn’t matter what you do with the final rental agreement because that exchange is done and over with.

All that’s left is love — your wishing well for the other party.

There may be a mutual regard — fine. That’d be frosting. Not necessary for you to enjoy the cake though.

The binding part is gone. You’re cleansed and loose and relaxed. Free.

You may be grieving a loss — and that’s okay. You can mourn.

But you are not aggrieved. Because:

You have a NEW lease…

On life.


We should have KNOWN that a “lease” brings freedom because think of all that we feel when we say someone has a new lease on life.

Let’s write out that one!

A NEW LEASE (on life)

“I ____ [lesse] agree that The Universe/God/The Way of the World [lessor] does allow me use and possession of unlimited love and my life  for the rest of my days on earth in return for nothing [because that’s how it works with the ineffable… that’s the definition of grace]. Amen.”


________ [Lessor] _______ [Date]

________ [Lesse] _______ [Date]

This lease is always renewed and not revokable.

Thanks be.

* The very best don’t do this, of course.

This entry was posted in letting go. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s