#Manifest20 · Reflections

A Lifetime of Letting Go

Today we’re going to time travel. This post is a 2-in-1 so please stay with me…

Are you good at letting go or do you find it difficult? I’m a goal focused person and take pleasure in achieving whatever I’ve set out to accomplish. Last January I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge at 25 books, having read 20 the year before when I restricted social media usage. I’ve only read 16 this year. It’s possible I could finish the 5 books I’m currently reading before the end of this month, but there’s no way I’ll complete 25 total.

Failing at anything, even a silly reading challenge, usually bothers me. But you know what? I’ve let this one go and don’t care anymore. I have limited spare time and have opted to write, knit, or watch Netflix with my family instead. How has my choice affected me? I’m becoming more flexible, less rigid. Overall I think that’s positive. Have you let go of anything big or small this year that has made a difference in your life?

***

Since my response to today’s prompt is short and not very emotive, I thought I’d also share a piece I wrote in 2011. My marriage of 12 and a half years had ended 18 months prior to writing it. I was in psychotherapy at the time, trying to deconstruct how I had ended up separated from my husband, a single mom in a foreign country, struggling to pay the mortgage and get by financially. I was going through what I now refer to as The Transition. It sucked, but I survived and now I’m beginning to thrive. No matter how tough life might be right now, there’s always hope for the future. Even the darkest, most painful periods of life will pass. If sharing my stories helps anyone, that makes telling them worthwhile.

I caught the tail end of #Reverb10. Last December my posts were heavy in nature, for the year had been defined by heartbreak and loss. I felt wronged in so many ways. The residue of betrayal carried into 2011.

I struggled with intense feelings of sadness, rage, and confusion. Looking back, I realize I was navigating the borders of my mental health. I suspect my inner fragility was only apparent to those closest to me, since I managed to carry on with daily life as normal. I’m grateful for the hand holding and support my girlfriends provided, as I waded through those dark places.

My mind swirled. A repetitive pattern evolved; I sang the same tired song to myself over and over, without any chance for repose. I wished for an off switch. Letting go seemed an impossible feat. Pain became my sore companion, following me everywhere like the scent of stale cigarette smoke, but was most noticeable when I crawled into bed alone at night.

There is a proverb I’ve come to love: “No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.”

I posted these words of encouragement where I could read them often. As the days grew brighter, so did my outlook. The wheel turned, bringing new life. In April I visited my friend- a quintessential Demeter and author of West Cork Astrology’s Blog- and was cheered the minute I walked into her country kitchen. Her husband sat at the table, bottle feeding a motherless lamb, while their three young sons watched. A creature so vulnerable, yet trusting, despite the unnatural circumstances. Our eyes met and the lamb’s gentleness moved me.

Slowly, I began to notice these moments of tenderness, and my heart gradually thawed. I marveled at my son’s creative offerings, my daughter’s frequent hugs. Their laughter, the light in their eyes, the way they love wholeheartedly and without fear inspired me. Rainbows, daffodils, river walks, Jasmine tea, ecstatic dance, soul music, meditation, massage, bubble baths, carrot cake, colorful frocks, and conversations worked miracles. Old wounds receded with the tides; each day the sea carried them further from me.

How has this affected me? Healing has made my body, mind, and spirit stronger, more resilient. I’m no longer trapped in a cycle of obsessive thoughts. My energy is free for other pursuits, such as writing. Learning to focus on my own needs has helped me rediscover joy. Pleasure, fun, and flirtation are priorities now. Is it a coincidence that as I began to radiate inner happiness, I attracted one of the sweetest men on the planet?

When I let go of bitter feelings, I opened myself up and chose to trust once more. I’ve fallen in love… with a man, but also with myself. There is still work to be done within my family, but relationships are improving. Perhaps 2012 will help us reach a better place.

xoxo Robin

Eight years have passed since then and it feels like a lifetime ago. Our situation improved from there, then tragedy struck, and eventually we began the process of healing all over again. But isn’t that life? Every day we let go… over and over and over. Living a full life requires bravery, facing into the unknown. Candace Bushnell said it very well:

You have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.

***

Photo Credit: Bruce Christianson on Unsplash

This post was in response to the prompt for #Manifest20 Day 14: What have you let go of this year and how has it affected you? Originally this prompt was written by Geeken’ Hard, whom I still follow on Twitter.

8 thoughts on “A Lifetime of Letting Go

  1. I do a pretty good job letting things go when they are self-imposed goals. Not so well with public failure though. Priorities change over the course of a year so if you reached goals (or exceeded them) in other areas there is no point dwelling.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I stopped setting goals……..does that make me a crazy……..like you, I struggle with being a perfectionist and it’s literally being shaken out of me
    Through a series of unfortunate events I have let go of the idea of being out of debt. I won’t go into the details of how I incurred the debt, divorce, eye surgeries, child’s college tuition etc…. but I have been working my ass off to pay it. My health has other plans so I’m living off my credit cards barely skating by. This is not what I had planned at all. Bankruptcy is a possibility.
    I have also let go of the idea that something outside of myself is going to “save” me. There’s no spiritual book, hobby, habit or practice that is going to magically fix my life. trust. Trust in the universe and the process. That’s all I have.
    Letting go is worth the growing pains 🙂
    This was another lovely post Robin. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow that is a lot of letting go, Mare! One of the reasons we moved to Ireland was for our kids’ educations. There is a good, free national standard here for primary and secondary school. We couldn’t afford college in the states. Grants are available here and student loans are nothing like what kids have to pay back in America. I honestly don’t know how people do it there! I have friends in Ohio (both teachers with masters degrees) still paying back their own college debt in their 40’s as their children are embarking on university. It’s crazy!! A couple of friends there have declared bankruptcy after health problems or unemployment. I feel your pain and hope you’ll be back on your feet soon… I think you’re right to focus on your health first. Hopefully 2020 will turn things around.🙏🏽

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Life definitely is a series of “letting go’s.” It makes are more flexible. We learn to bounce back quicker. While it’s never good to be hurt, there is a lot to learn from it.

    I’m glad to hear that you are doing better. Again.

    I don’t like setting precise goals. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Otherwise, why go through all the unnecessary stress and disappointment?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I agree… We learn a lot through the difficult stuff and process of letting go.

      That’s an interesting perspective regarding goal setting. We’re all so different. I get a lot of pleasure out of meeting precise goals. Maybe the trick is to allow them to unfold in their own time and avoid stressing about them like you said. Holding an intention with a relaxed attitude.😊

      Liked by 2 people

  4. To be able to read a lot, is immensely enjoyable. Unfortunately we cannot always read as much as we would like to.
    You did well, Robin, in writing eight years ago so much about your feelings. May your situation keep on improving. Wishing you all the best for 2020! 🙂

    Like

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