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Letting Go

The Day I Forgot to Let Go

Woman meditating on beach
We hear a lot today about the importance of letting go.

We hear a lot today about the importance of letting go.

When I was younger, I spent an afternoon at a large dam which had been converted into a public swimming spot. It had a small jetty. Further out was an anchored raft used as a diving board. A grassed area was ideal for picnics, and a visiting ice cream van added a cooling diversion.

But the most popular attraction was a heavy rope with a knot at the bottom, attached to a large old tree overhanging the dam. You grasped the rope firmly by hands and legs, and an old local with beefy arms gave you a couple of strong pushes, sending you far out over the water so you could safely let go. You plunged deep into the cool water, eventually surfaced, swam to shore and joined the end of the line for another turn.

The secret to having fun on this rope was to let go at the right time. Let go too soon and you’d miss out on the delightfully deep immersion. Let go too late and you’d almost break your legs in the shallows of the dam.

I almost broke both legs in the shallows.

I held on too long.

I held onto something I didn’t need any more.

Holding onto that rope wasn’t helpful. The rope had fulfilled its purpose in my life. It had taken me as far out as it could. It had outrun its usefulness. But I still held tight to it because I was too frightened to let go. I saw the rope as my lifeline instead of a tool to get me to my next experience, which was a cooling plunge. Because of my reluctance to let go, I spent the rest of the afternoon nursing a sprained ankle and swatting bush flies while my peers shrieked with delight as they perfected the art of letting go at the perfect moment.

Man letting go of a rope over a lake
Courage is the power to let go of the familiar. Raymond Lindquist (Presbyterian pastor)

Mindfulness Tip for the Week

How do you know when it’s time to let go of something or someone?

It’s always time to let go.

Let go of children. (They were never yours, anyway. They belong to themselves.)

Let go of beliefs. (Believing something doesn’t make it truer.)

Let go of things. (Odd socks. Leaky buckets. Unhealthy memories.)

Let go of concepts. (I’m shy. She’s superior. They’re wrong.)

Don’t let a day go by without letting go of something.

Why not?

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need. Tao Te Ching

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, collapsing on the couch or falling into moronic slumber.

Letting go means opening yourself up to life as it’s meant to be: as fresh, invigorating and enlightening as a plunge into a cold dam on a hot summer day.

In an article in Uplift, titled Thich Nhat Hanh: The Art of Letting Go, Christina Sarich wrote:

Letting go means diving in.

The Presbyterian pastor, Raymond Lindquist, said:

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.

If you find yourself holding onto something or someone, let go.

Just let go.

I dare you.

With love, Marlane

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