I Got To Thinking: Is Learning To Let Go What Life’s All About?


I am currently sitting in bed, it’s 11.45 in the morning and we have allowed ourselves a morning lie in. It’s a busy time.

We have a very atmospheric sky today, and the pictures above are what I can see from my vantage point as I write this.

I am surrounded by sleeping Welshies and RD snoring away, and after our scare last weekend I have again been reminded to only ever live in the here and now.

This will be our second move in six years. In fact in our twenty- two, almost twenty- three years of being together we have moved four times, this will be our fifth move.

Over the week as well as frantically taking as many photos of the fabulous sunsets we are blessed with, I have been packing up our belongings and I was making decisions about what to keep and what to let go. As part of this I was boxing up the shoes that we had, supposedly, decided we were taking with us, after letting so many pairs go; and as I did so I found myself putting additional pairs in the clothing bag for charity. In fact it was as if I was having an epiphany: you HAVE to let go of the old to make room for the new.

The shoes weren’t the only things that led to this. I have my son’s cot in the barn, he is thirty-one years old, why the hell did I ship it to France? I know why, we were moving to another country and for the first time I would not have my son near to me, that first Christmas without him being there was a hard lesson. But now it’s what it is, he has his life, and I want him to live it, and I have learned to let go of the idea that we always have to be together.

Then there is a blue top that belonged to my mum, it was her favourite top, she wore it often. After she died I kept it, and dutifully moved it three times. I thought when we came here I had let it go, but no, when I sorted our cupboard at the top of the stairs there it was again, buried in amongst all the clothes we have never worn in five years. I let it go this time, with all the other clothes. Only this time was different: this time I held it up and said to RD ‘This is not my mum, this is a top. My mum is in my memories.’

After that I was then on a roll: the fridge magnets we bought in Disney twenty- seven years ago (when I was married to my first husband ffs!) off they went to the great dechetterie (dump in French) in the sky. Sentimental mugs, faux flowers, old earrings, and watches and bracelets, tarnished, were in the bin before they knew it.

All of this got me thinking is life really just one big on-going lesson about learning to let go? Is life really just a lesson in learning about why we hold on to things which then enables us to let them go?

I understand why I bought so many things from our old house with me. I loved that house, I found it hard leave it, and so I bought the things I could from it, because it was too hard to let it all go at once. But as the years passed here I realised I didn’t want to re-create my past, that I need to make something new. My old house had gone, and I was then ready to let the things associated with it go too. There are some things I love that I will take with me because I love the item itself, or the memory it conjures up.

As I packed away my thoughts developed further and I found myself asking does that apply to everything in life? Including the loved ones we have lost? Someone once said to me ‘every time you cry about your mum, you pull her back, and you never let her spirit free.’ I found it difficult to understand at first, but after reading and learning and listening and reflecting it becomes clearer every day.

When my mum was dying she promised she would come back for each and every one of us, so when my beloved Westie dog died I thought I would feel my mum’s presence, and my heartbreak was even more compounded when I didn’t.

I understand now that it was never going to be, because we are all spirits learning what we need to learn in each lifetime, and we then move on to the next stage of our enlightenment. Perhaps those who love us stay near for a time, but eventually they have to let us go, to enable us to grow.

Then there are the friendships that come and go, and sometimes come back again after we have all learned and evolved. I believe the right people migrate back to you, as I have written about often. But more importantly how often does life show us that we need to let the relationships go? Show us, as we evolve, that they weren’t what we thought they were at all? That the people were not what we thought? Or, thinking even more deeply, perhaps they were, and it is us who have changed.

I think that is one of the hardest lessons of all, we don’t want to see negatives in those we have spent so much of our life with. But if we are able to objectively, it can enable us to decide whether to still have the person in our life or not, without rancour or pain. It’s just what it is.

Letting go of pain, letting go of hurt, just letting go without bitterness, is probably one of the hardest things to do. When RD left me I learned from writing my journal that if I allowed myself to be consumed in bitterness I would be destroyed. That was nearly fourteen years ago, now I use what I learned to help some others who find themselves where I was, but now I also know it applies to so many things in life. But I can only help ‘some’ because the others do not want to ‘let go.’ And so they continue to suffer in pain. That experience has taught me to let go of the hope that I could help everyone. I can’t, people can only ever help themselves.

I have learned over the past five years that we cannot have the sunny side of life all the time. The Tao has taught me that where there is good there is bad, where there is love there is heartache, where there is life there is death. I had to remind myself of that last week when Harley was ill, I had to say it as a mantra, and despite the pain I felt, it gave me comfort and strength and it has made me live every day this week cherishing every small moment.

It’s amazing isn’t it, what you learn as you unpack and pack your life up again? And the time will come, in the near future, when we let this house go, and this adventure go, and we ‘let go,of the rice.’ (Mark Nepo, The Book Of Awakening

Have a good Sunday folks.

Rosie

5 comments

  1. Life is full of lessons, some are beautiful! Our sweet Golden Retriever, Lily, turned 12 in June. That’s the full average lifespan of a golden. A month after her birthday she was diagnosed with leukemia. We thought it would be time to say goodbye, but her type of leukemia is treatable with chemo, so she has been receiving chemo pills every two weeks for a couple months. We’re hoping the pill we gave her a week ago will be her last. There are side effects, but she is such a trooper. If she appeared to be in pain, I would let her go, but her blood cell count is back to normal and she still loves her walks and begging for treats saying hi to the neighbors from my bedroom window. When she leaves us, she will only leave the sweetest memories! 🤗

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  2. Some profound but very accessible thoughts here. You seem to be tapping into a Buddhist frame of mind. Beautiful inspiration for our fragile lives in these unusual times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Ellen, it’s been a big part of the adventure, really reading and understanding the philosophical side of life as well as spiritual. A few people have responded to this post, saying how it resonated with them, there can be no greater encouragement than to know what you write inspires people. Thank you. ❤️

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