I have come to appreciate a night where one lets one’s hair down. Ideally for me there are two parts to the evening. First, there is a sauna/steam or equivalent. As many know, I am a disciple of what nature can do to you through heat. There is something out of control, demanding, and yet invigorating when one combines hot and cold, natural at every step. In letting go of whatever is building up inside, taking care of the physical side very helpful but it is not required.
A recent experience leaves a reminder that there are three elements.
First, a willing heart is required. If you do not want to let go, then you will not. It does not matter how conducive the setting is, without a willing heart nothing is going to happen. Even if friends are encouraging you, questioning you, or pushing, the process is only unlocked if you find the key and take the step of deciding.
Second, it helps when the setting is favorable. Get away. Go somewhere comfortable. Relax and be at ease. This includes those around you. Safe friends will tend to make everything easier while others will ensure you never start. To be clear, ambiance does not unlock anything, however once the door is open, it helps.
Third, remember that even with willingness and the right setting, only you can let go. As I watch a good friend letting off steam, I could see his heart and soul reviving. His brutal candor was wonderfully refreshing! He seemed to have decided to echo the words of a writer who left his thoughts for all to read. “Don’t embarrass me by not showing up [God]; I’ve given you plenty of notice. Embarrass the wicked, stand them up, leave them stupidly shaking their heads as they drift down to hell.” (Psalm 31.17)
I realized later that night and again in the morning that I was refreshed and encouraged. From our conversation, I know his heart is in a good place. From feelings he left behind, his heart is a little lighter.