What needs to be released, more specifically, are all desires for things to be different right now at this moment. That is what’s necessary to accept life as it is right now.
We usually think of desires as being future-oriented. But their negative impact, their becoming cravings, comes from desiring things to be different now, at the moment. Being frustrated, dissatisfied, angry with the way our lives are now is what causes cravings.
Once you truly accept your life as it is right now, you can have dreams or skillful desires about the future without them turning into cravings because you are happy and content in the present; you accept the present as being that way it is. You will be able to say, “If it happens, great. If it doesn’t happen, that’s ok too.” Buddhism does not require a static life.
But as always, you still will need to be vigilant about those dreams or desires for the future to make sure you continue to approach them with equanimity. Without question, your ego-mind will try to turn your dreams into dissatisfaction with the present and into cravings.
It would make our lives much easier if we were just able to say, “I release all desires,” period. For all time. But it is the nature of the human heart to want to experience more beauty and love, to increase our nourishing human contacts, to cultivate one’s mind. These are all things the heart yearns for. These are all thus Right desires and fully compatible with walking the path, so long as we accept our life as being exactly the way it is right now with no desire for anything to be different.