Sunday, August 16, 2015

Anyone Else Need Remedial Letting Go?

If you have followed my emotional tug-of-war this past year, you know my feelings have boomeranged from denial, fear and projection to fragile acceptance and hope.

Habits learned over years in a 12 Step program—one day at a time, letting go, acceptance, courage, first things first—became life lines, put to a new kind of test. Even after years of “12 step practice” there have been days I needed to repeat the Serenity Prayer so many times, I nearly wore it out.
So I was intrigued recently when I heard someone talk about letting go as if it’s a one-time event. Like, it’s an on/off switch or sports shoe slogan. Just do it. You let go and presto. Fear and projection and worry are done.
If only.
I’ve worked on letting go for most of my adult life. No doubt my over-developed sense of responsibility and amped-up impulse to control spur my Groundhog Day approach to letting go—put it down, pick it up, give it over, take it back.
I’ve been known to ceremonially let go by writing down my worry, stuffing the paper into a jar, and tightly sealing the top. Often that works. Sometimes, no lid is secure enough to guarantee I won’t take the worry back.
Life would be simpler if I could learn to let things go once and be able to move on. It’s just never been that way for me.
Does it work that way for you?
And, if it does, can you share your secrets to letting go?


  1. I have never been able to fully 'let it go.' I fool myself into thinking I have, often, only to have it revisit days, months or even years later. If something affects you deeply enough to return again and again it is what it is, part of you. I've learned to accept the reappearance of these things as I age. It is one tiny part of who I am today and if it jiggles and wiggles and giggles inside me I simply dance.

  2. "and if it jiggles and wiggles and giggles inside me I simply dance."
    absolutely love that

  3. "Letting go" can mean so many different things----little, daily goofs and comments that you wish you could erase; accepting your grown children as adults in their own right; realizing that you can't and shouldn't discipline your grandchildren; wanting to relive and change major events in your life; trying to forget the bad times......and the list goes on! Fourteen years ago being diagnosed with colon cancer was one of those major, life-changing events. Although I have always been a "glass half full" type, I find that now I'm more able to live in the present and not worry so much about the past or future. I ask myself things like "will this matter a year from now"; "can I change it"; or tell myself "this too will pass". It's not a perfect solution but it helps me appreciate the moment, let go of my regrets and worries, and laugh about something every day (usually myself!).

  4. Hi Mary Jane, " I ask myself things like "will this matter a year from now"; "can I change it"; or tell myself "this too will pass".
    these are all great reminders. And, love that you laugh everyday and can laugh at yourself. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I'm trying again to publish my reply. I am very familiar with the serenity prayer. My father was an alcoholic but very religious. He was finally sent to rehab by his employer. Years later the serenity prayer became my mantra when I gave birth to a seriously handicapped child. I then became a teacher in a Catholic school and said the prayer before every class. A Sandra Bullock movie came out where she was an alcoholic and the kids asked me if I was an alcoholic and I told them no my father was. Cat Cronin

  6. Hi Cat, thanks for persisting until your comment published and for sharing about your handicapped son. Can't imagine how hard that must have been.
    I remember that Sandra Bullock movie and it makes me smile that the kids in your class made that connection. thanks for reading and stopping by, carol

  7. I agree with Mappy and you that you never let go of some things. I guess that's the reason why we aspire to live in the moment, be present in the joy of a baby's smile, the serenity of a sunset over the sea, the pleasure of friendship. Those moments can help you let go for at least a little while.

    1. Chris, so grateful I'll get to let go and enjoy exactly those things with you this week