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Lessons in letting go: Part IV

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 by Marianne Elliott

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Leaving I, originally uploaded by frida world.

Okay, I accept I am a slow learner. For the past eight months I've been learning, a little bit at a time, about letting go.

Let go of your sense of responsibility for changing the world.
Let go of your expectations of yourself and all the people around you.
Let go of your desire to be in control of the situation you are in.
Let go of guilt about not being able to protect those people in Shindand.
Let go of the safe and familiar and embrace the unknown, the chaotic.

I've been supposedly learning to let go and yet I haven't applied this lesson at all in my relationship. Instead of letting go I've been clinging on, I've been grasping at my boyfriend and believing that I needed him.

Yesterday I read these words: "Most of the pain of change comes from our resistance to it."


Something literally clicked in my mind and in my heart and I suddenly felt willing to let go.

I was feeling sad because I felt I was losing something, but I know that everything is temporary, everything changes, nothing stays the same. So why not let go? Why not embrace the new, the unknown, the possible, the exciting future?

I feel so much lighter and happier – it is amazing. Really amazing. Last night my yoga buddy could see the dramatic change in me, and although she was obviously happy for me she cautioned me to remember that "these things go in waves".

Maybe she is right, perhaps in a few days I'll be hit by a different wave of sadness. But honestly, I don't think I will. I really gave myself all the space I needed to sit with the sadness. For five and a half days I let myself feel every ripple of loss. I sat down with my pain and had a good look at it. I started to be able to name the different parts of it.

Five and a half days of crying gave the time and space for a lot of pain to come out – and it was not all to do with the end of my relationship. There was left-over pain from the trauma of October, from the dark, scary, lonely months of this winter, and from the recent months of learning to let go little by little.

I cried me a river. More than I have ever cried before. It was all the things people tell you it will be – it was cathartic, it was tiring, it was a release and quite frankly it was a huge relief. I stopped trying to control and reshape my pain into something else and just let it be. I sat with my own sadness and little by little as I let it all go I started to see myself more clearly.

I recalled my own strength, my own optimism, the worldwide network of loving friends and family that I have built and nutured throughout my life. I saw my experiences, my skills, my wisdom and all my potential again. I felt my own smile come back – and I felt for the first time in eight months free of the squeeze of sadness in my chest.

This morning I feel a little bit sorry that it took this for me to get here. That it took my lovely, patient boyfriend getting to the point of no return for me to reach the point of letting go. I feel a little bit sorry about that because I can see now that my unwillingness to let go was a huge part of what was making our relationship unbearable. But in any case, right now I feel liberated. I feel liberated and happy.

Is that weird?


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12 Responses to "Lessons in letting go: Part IV"

  1. Paris Parfait says:

    No, it’s not weird. It’s part of the process of grieving and moving forward. Change, however welcome, is always painful and hard. Letting go – even when the situation or person no longer suits us – is especially difficult. The fact that you’ve confronted your situation, walked through the pain and are thinking positively about the future is HUGELY comforting and life-affirming. That being said, your friend is right about the grief and sadness tending to come in waves, as it isn’t easy to shake off something that has played an important role in your life. In my own experience, I thought I was finally over the loss and two years later, found myself weeping and rehashing what went wrong – even though by that time I was in a much better place and knew without a doubt that it had been right to leave.
    As you said, everything changes, nothing stays the same – no matter how much we might wish it would. Life rarely is what it could be or should be – accepting what is, is the hard part. I don’t take even a moment for granted, as I’ve seen how things can change in an instant. And because of your work, you know that too, better than most people.
    I wish you lots of love and light in your next chapter, dear Frida. xo

  2. Alex says:

    I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better! And I’m glad you’re finding your center, growing and learning how to live with uncertainty… Because we all need to… Most days I’m also afraid that my patient boyfriend will get tired of my constant searching, dreaming, expecting more of life and of myself. So for what is worth, I think you’re not weird! Absolutely not! You’re a poem, sweet girl. You have emotion pouring out of every pore. I’m sure it feels good now, because despite the constant changes and who is passing through your life, you are each day more in tune with your real nature, including your flaws and your beauty. As long as you never leave yourself, the house will always be full! xo
    (and I better go to bed now!!)

  3. Alex says:

    Oops! Forgot to say I tagged you. Now that you’re feeling better you have no excuse 😀 Kidding… Only if you’re inclined to play. x

  4. Big Sis says:

    Don’t know why you think it took you so long to learn to let go, I for one haven’t learnt much of that yet, and I suspect most would feel the same. Holding on is all we can do sometimes, letting go is much harder.

  5. homeinkabul says:

    You are weird if weird means beautiful, vibrant, strong and courageous. I am basking in your happiness and hoping it will unfold into more and more beauty and vibrance every day.

  6. I loved your post, I love how you have made these discoveries about yourself, I love how it was such an “a ha!” moment for you… I just love everything about you. Now, it looks like you can start doing that, too!

  7. tiny noises says:

    Yay!! This is awesome! And what a lesson for us all–to be strong in our own right, for us first then the world.

  8. Mardougrrl says:

    This is a wise, beautiful, strong, powerful post. I can feel the shift in you, and its positively inspiring.
    I need to read this one again.
    xoxo, M

  9. [a} says:

    Wow Frida, it’s amazing to me that you’re getting over it so soon. It takes me ages to get over the smallest thing. I know what you mean, about the letting-go thing. I hear it, everything’s temporary, I agree with the words, but somehow I haven’t yet grasped the meaning. Slow learner & all that. This was a really awesome post to read, btw.

  10. mehdi says:

    Dear Frida,
    This is quite a teaching you share with us. Old Heraclus use to say: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.” This is so true, and in the same time so difficult to accept that situations are changing always, that we are changing always. Maybe we need all our life to make this teaching ours.
    I send you all my love and support,
    An old friend from times of peace and war

  11. susanna says:

    Oh, Frida, I’m so sorry you’ve have a rough time of late. I don’t think it is at all wierd to go to the point-of-no-return to see and search for a change in one’s self. Actually, I think it’s quite normal, especially when you live and work somewhere where so much is completely out of control and chaotic, to want to cling onto something or someone who appears to be a solid pillar of strength and steadiness. I’m glad that you are seeing the beauty and strength within YOU. I’m in awe of what YOU do and who YOU are.

  12. Margaret says:

    Thanks for this post. I’m a little sad myself as a relationship that I was really psyched about isn’t working out. This gives me hope. It also reminds me that what makes letting go so hard is the fear of the unknown.

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