“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” –Joseph Campbell
Let Go or Get Dragged
by Lama Surya Das
A friend of mine named Eva, who manages a Buddhist retreat center in the mountains of Switzerland, has a yellow sticky hanging above her mouse pad as a reminder. It says: “Let go or get dragged.” That about sums it up for me.
I have been thinking a lot lately about acceptance, and how it actually changes things. For example: have you ever noticed how hard it is to change your mate, while a little more acceptance goes a long way towards transforming your relationship? Ultimately, I can change myself; that is about as far as it goes, although the ripple effect definitely filters further outwards. In a deeper sense, transforming myself transforms the world. Read More…
Letting Go and Living Well
by Father Paul Keenan
Wherever I go, people are concerned about something they refer to as “letting go.” Sometimes they are contemplating the letting go of a marriage. At other times, they are struggling to rid themselves of an addiction or a bad habit. Often the “letting go” is emotional — a grudge, a painful set of memories or a neurosis that needs to be weeded from the garden of the spirit. Still others are experiencing the “empty nest” — children growing up and going away to make their mark in the world. In an odd twist of fate, many older parents are wishing they could let go, as their adult children return to live at home again. Those who are at a crossroads in their lives almost inevitably experience some well-intentioned soul blithely telling them to “let go and let God.”
There is a lot of talk about letting go, and a great deal of confusion as to what it means. It sounds so easy when you say it, but it quickly becomes complicated. “Letting go” is so much a part of our jargon today that it is important that we penetrate the mist and develop some clarity about it. Above all, we need to discover where “letting go” fits into the overall picture of living well. Read More…
by Sandra Schubert
People stay in dead end jobs, loveless marriages never leaving the boundaries of their hometowns. Why is it so hard to let go of things that no longer work? The devil you know is better then the one you don’t know. People are willing to live a mediocre life for the safety it provides. But what if you were guaranteed a positive outcome how would you live your life differently? What kind of choices would you make knowing each one would turn out OK? If you can imagine this different life then envision another a life where you are still free to make choices but are unsure of the outcome. Except now you accept the consequences of your choices knowing they could be either bad or good. In this life you feel fear but take chances anyway. Every day we make a choice. Read More…
Clearing Out and Letting Go of All that Does Not Serve
by Donna Henes
On my birthday last week, a friend presented me with a gorgeous amber necklace that she had gotten in Russia twenty years ago before she emigrated to the United States. Though she felt that it did not suit her, she held onto it for two decades for sentimental reasons. When she gave it to me, she apologized for it not being a new store-bought thing, but I was thrilled. Not only does it suit me perfectly, but I was extremely touched by her sharing of this nostalgic gem.
And I completely understood her motivation for giving it away. It is common for women in midlife to display an overwhelming urge to purge, to clean out, throw out, refuse, release, discard, to distill and streamline all of our attachments. We refine our needs and tastes and now want to be surrounded by only those people, places, and things that add something positive to our lives. Read More…
The Logic of Letting Go
by Bret S. Beall
When we are children, and someone tells us to “let go,” it is usually in reference to something material, and when we let go, we can either feel empty, as if we are being deprived of something, or we can feel full, knowing that we have allowed someone to have that something, and s/he must really need it.
As adults, “letting go” can still leave us feeling empty or full. Both feelings may occur simultaneously. Ultimately, letting go will allow us to feel free, unburdened, healed, happy, even joyous. I intend to address how we can reach these ultimate feelings. Read More…
The Gift of Letting Go In Midlife
by Daina Puodziunas
There is a very big gift waiting on the other end of learning how to let go when we reach middle age. The gift is an abundance of energy. In midlife, we begin to see how precious energy is and how without it, nothing else really matters. After all, who cares if you are able to amass a large sum of money if you don’t have the energy to enjoy it? Who cares if you are blessed with beautiful grandchildren if you don’t have the energy to get down on your hands and knees and play with them? Who cares if you live to be a hundred if your life is dull and boring?
I believe that everything is made of energy….everything. At its most primal level, everything IS energy. Even money is energy! In fact, my concept of God/ess, great mystery, spirit is Energy. I’ve said for a long time that God is a verb and not a noun. As human beings we are made of life force energy and are constantly being infused with it. What we do with that energy is completely up to us. We are totally in charge of it and becoming aware of it is key. Read More…
Experiencing Loss As Gain
by KD Farris, PhD
When I was a young child and began to lose my baby teeth, my new teeth always grew in before the baby ones had fallen out. In thinking about letting go this month, I have not been able to shake this image. It reminds me that I have always experienced loss with some kind of gain. And when my teeth had finally let go and fallen out–or as was often the case, when I was sent to the dentist and had them pulled–I would take the precious tooth, place it under my pillow and wait for the Tooth Fairy to take it away. The Tooth Fairy would always leave a gift in its place, and the cycle of newness sprouting (my new teeth coming through), the old falling away (the baby teeth finally coming out), and a transformation taking place (the tooth turning into a gift), was born.
In the early nineteen eighties, I drafted a book entitled Losing Weight, Gaining Health. The cover art showed the words “Losing Weight” in block lettering crossed out, and “Gaining Health” written over them in a cursive style. Here again, the idea of bringing something in of a higher vibration helps to allow what is old and unwanted to fall away. The transformation that follows, as I discuss it in the book, is the wellness of released energy, the freedom of an agile body, and the surprises that follow when we take responsibility for our own well-being. Read More…
Letting Go and Moving Forward: Writing as a Map of Progress
by Nessa McCasey
Anyone and everyone can have trouble with letting go. I consider Letting Go to be a subcategory of Transition (well maybe almost everything falls under the big heading of Transition). To me, transition means not being where you used to be and not yet where you are going to next. And of course, it’s even more complicated than that! Being with someone and then not being with someone means that you have to let go of not only that person, but all of your dreams and expectations for your relationship with him/her. Losing a job means that you lose all of your dreams and expectations of the benefits to you, as well as the changes you could have made upon the company (or industry, etc.) Whether loss involves losing someone to an illness or a tragic accident or changing jobs or moving to a new location, it will involve letting go of tangible rewards as well as the possibilities of what might have been.
We each have unique losses and varied considerations in letting go of our individual experiences. This is where writing comes in. You can write the questions (and answers) about letting go. How have you experienced the process of letting go in order to move on to another stage of your life? What is your story about letting go? Read More…
by Laura V. Grace
Letting go is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges we face. Our egos easily and all too eagerly attach to things, people, and outcome. Letting go of these attachments can be painful, particularly when we can’t see what’s ahead. Throughout the years, many clients have shared how they have a “back-up person” waiting in the wings just in case their current relationship ends. The fear of the unknown (and being alone), for some, creates feelings that are intolerable. Having “plan B” in place may mitigate some of the fear, but it doesn’t address the real fear: letting go.
I have always found the metaphor of a closed fist and open hand helpful; a closed fist represents our resistance to letting go, while an open hand symbolizes our willingness to embrace the present and future. Moving from a closed fist to an open hand is a process. It requires patience and the willingness to release what no longer serves us. The choice to let go allows us to follow the pathway to our soul. Read More…