Getting there

Getting there

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love, Light, and Letting Go

I've always known I have a problem with letting go. This goes for possessions, like shoes and clothing, and, well, people, too. I get deeply attached to something, or someone, and when the time comes to let go I struggle with it terribly.

As I've gotten older I've recognized that our life flows like a river, and people come in to and out of it as their own river takes it's course. Sometimes they are taken from us, and sometimes they choose to leave us. Either way accepting the loss and moving on has always been very difficult for me. I tend to hang on with all my might, as if I can fight the flow of that river. As we all know, though, rivers go where they will and trying to control them is futile. So too it is with the people in our lives who choose to move on or away from us.

I suppose what I have tried to learn to do is to be grateful for what these individuals have brought to my life. Perhaps it was some support I needed, or an occasional good laugh. Perhaps their presence in my life taught me something about myself. Perhaps them being there awakened something in me that had been asleep. That gratitude should exist whether these people are taken from me or have chosen to leave. I try to ensure that I explore those feelings of thankfulness, even if I do not share them directly with those people.

Losing people is painful. If they are taken from you by death then there is some sense that at least it was not their choice to walk away. If they leave you by choice then you feel that perhaps there is something wrong with you, or that you have forced them to depart. In some situations this may be true - but in some it may just be that their river has now diverged from yours, and that you now follow separate paths. This can be tough to accept - I know how tough it is because I do not accept it well at all. I struggle with feelings of hurt and rejection, frustration and anger. There are times, though, when we have no choice but to accept - and move on.

A few months ago I saw the movie "Eat, Pray, Love". Generally speaking I thought it was pretty awful - full of the typical cliches and very touchy-feely, just too sappy for me. One thing I remembered from it, though, is the concept of thinking of those in our life with whom we have struggled - those we have hurt, or those who have hurt us, those we have left, or those who have left us - with these three things : Love, Light, and Letting Go. This doesn't seem a bad practice at all, really, and perhaps one I need to embrace when I find myself struggling. Instead of thinking bitter thoughts of regret or hurt, anger or resentment, I mentally send those who have touched my life these things : love and light, and, if they wish it and have chosen it, I let them go. I still struggle, dear friends, but I am slowing learning that when you let go with love and light it can, sometimes, free you, too.

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