Day 30, Thursday: React to this term, ‘Letting Go’
D e e p a k C h o p r a
“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past,
but you will find yourself.“
|Self Portrait by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved
My fifteen year old self watched on the big screen as Rose let go of Jack’s hand. I was unable to fathom why she did not find a way to share the piece of wreckage that looked big enough for him to rest beside her. ‘Never let go‘ he told her. His last words were more of a metaphor then telling her to cling on to a now dead Jack from the frigid ocean water. I walked out of the cinema in Germany with my friend talking about how we would have never let Leonardo DiCaprio go. We would have found a way. I was taught to hold on frequently through life. As a little girl holding my parents’ hand, in the absence of my father during the war, and through moves to new countries and cities. You hold on.
Especially as a Third Culture Kid, a girl who spent a significant part of her childhood living in and out of different countries, I was holding on to all of my past. To all my past ‘homes’, all my friends, and all my memories. This ingrained in me the type of friend I would become as an adult, fighting for friendships that others would easily walk away from. I was forced to say goodbye to friends because of moving and so I would hold on quicker and tighter to friendships knowing what it meant to have that them at all. There was one friend who was kinda rough around the edges but I always stood by his side. I like to think that everyone has the best intentions and there is a heart attached to every soul. I would always seek him out and bring him back to our group of friends when he had not been seen from in a while. He was the closest I have come to having a brother and I honestly cared about him as much as I enjoyed his company. The last time I sought him out he revealed to me that in his mind I was the cause of his failed relationship with a mutual friend. To me it came way out of left field though it explained much in hindsight. It was at that moment after seven years of an off and on friendship, that I found the clarity to let go.
When my husband and I were going through rough times I was counselled to get out for a while. Not to leave forever, but to get away before things between us got worse. That leaving for a awhile would help shock things back on the path towards recovery for our marriage and our future together. So when I saw an opportunity arise for a trial separation we took it. I had been hanging on through the loss of my dad and realised that it was not making me stronger. It took more strength and courage to let go than try to survive. Letting go restored my soul as I allowed others to be responsible for themselves. Through that freedom of stress I found myself. I would not have thought there was strength in letting go. Not when people around me were telling me I was in the wrong for leaving. In the end my husband and I found our way back to each other and put our family back together. I find truth in the counsel I was given for it fixed what was broken in the first place.
As children we relearn simple lessons over and over until we finally comprehend the wisdom behind it to implement the right action into our life. As adults I believe it is no different. Though the hardships and stresses may differ, in retrospect I see the lesson in the end to be similar. I have had to let go in many facets of my life as a child and now as an adult. Even when we lose things or people in life we still have to let go of the lingering pain.
After fighting for a decade with my in laws and hoping that they would eventually ‘see me for me’ and love me unconditionally I was pushed to the breaking point of the relationship. Despite my own dislike for confrontations I brought out the problems in conversation, called it out and laid it on the table. I wanted to get it out, get over it and move on from the same fights that would arise. Growing up in Italy I saw how a family would have an loud boisterous fight at the table, get it all out, and then move on. Yet some people can never let go because they keep so much emotional baggage locked up, with fear of ever talking about it. Their thoughts, words, actions, and judgements I cannot control. I finally realised last Autumn I could not force anyone to like me and time nor distance would not necessarily make any difference. I found the strength through the storm to let go. In the end I found indifference. Which if I cannot have love, is better than harbouring the opposite.
The simple truth is if we had control over something we would not let it hurt us or strain our life. So by letting go of things and people of which we do not have control, we are essentially letting go of the toxic and negative aspects in our life. That is what we have control over. It is where we find our inner strength and through it our true selves.
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong,
but sometimes it is letting go.” – Herman Hesse