Some Of Us Think Holding On Makes Us Strong: But Sometimes It is Letting Go

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A few weeks ago, I took my children to school in the morning and I thought this will be a quiet day and I can write and really get a lot done. At about 8:50 the nurse from school called . I was in a meeting so I missed the call. I called her back within the hour and it turned out my younger daughter had a stomachache, but she had gone back to class. As the morning moved on and I didn’t hear again from the nurse, I thought maybe everything is okay. I breathed into the moment and thought now I can have some peace today. Then at 11:00am I started getting texts from my older daughter that her head hurt and she was nauseated and dizzy. The texts continued until I met her at school and gave her some food and headache medication. By 1:30 that afternoon I was back home again. My younger daughter had an after-school activity but I needed to check on her because she was not well earlier. Sure enough, when I picked her up her stomach hurt too much to go to the after-school activity. At 4:00pm my older daughter arrived home with more symptoms. That day I had worked less than I had in a really long time.

Years ago I would have agonized so much because of how that day, for which I had so much hope, turned out. I would have told myself the story that “this should not be happening” or whined that “my day was ruined.” I would have continuously tried to get back to the day I had planned. Then one day I read the following quote.

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I took a deep breath in and asked myself, what was I achieving by hanging on to plans that had gone awry? It caused me so much pain to resist what was happening. It was like punching a brick wall;  I could never break the brick but I would sure injure myself. Likewise, I cannot change reality by insisting it should be different.

So these days I just try to let go when the unexpected happens. Sometimes I even say to myself “of course, this was always the plan” and smile. I use whatever mantra works in the moment to help me let go of what might have been so I have room to embrace whatever I am experiencing. Sometimes I even say out loud, “my heart is open to this moment.”  It doesn’t change the fact that I am unhappy when my children are suffering, but when I’m not resisting I am not in so much pain. I find I’m also more present for my children and others around me. I accept that there is nowhere else to be but where I am and nothing else to do but care for the ones in front of me. Everything else will have to wait until circumstances are ripe to move forward. I even realize that MAYBE this is what I was meant to do that day. And I feel strong and focused with my realization that being in this moment is my best contribution to the world and to others around me.

So the next time your plans go awry at work or with your children, try the mantra, “of course, this was always the plan” to let go of attachment and expectations with a smile or use the mantra “my heart is open to this moment.” See if letting go gives you strength and direction when you need it most.

And don’t forget the moment always will pass and MAYBE before you know it you’ll have time and space again to get back to your plans!  Just Maybe!


6 Comments on “Some Of Us Think Holding On Makes Us Strong: But Sometimes It is Letting Go”

  1. Debbie says:

    This is a really interesting and conflicting post for me. I have a young adult daughter with significant cognitive, medica/behavioral and orthopedic impairments requiring 24/7 care. I came to the similar conclusion during the past 22 years that I had to let things go, that what I had planned always took a back seat to the needs of the moment. I also had 2 other children who often got less of me than they wanted, needed or deserved. Unfortunately my needs were often unmet too. Sometimes the moments do not pass, they continue on as long as there is life… we do learn resilience, to ask for help and hope and pray for understanding. I am now a single Mom, heartbreaking but very common when dealing with significant disabilities both medical and behavioral. I was never able to recoup those moments of my life and now in middle age it has become a place of loneliness and isolation that only those living it alongside their loved ones understand. It is considered a life choice to keep at home vs institutionalize a loved one but either option is filled with loss. My hope in sharing is for your readers to appreciate their many blessings, and ability to let go but reclaim again. Would be interested in comments

    • Dear Debbie,

      Thank you so much for sharing your interest and conflict with my post. I am not taking care of a disabled child and I do not claim to know what it feels like to walk in your shoes. I do know, however, that sometimes we don’t get back to our plans (that is why I write Maybe) and other plans need to be made with the circumstances that we face. But Life always has Maybe, all of the possibilities that we are offered in each moment. There is love to feel and always hope for each moment — Life does bring change. It may not be what we expect, but there are new things to create and new experiences to have. I know you feel that so much cannot be recouped, but I hope you can have the faith to embrace Maybe and open to new things entering into your life (even though it might now seem possible in the moment). That is what Maybe is all about. I wish you all the blessings that life can offer.

  2. I love the idea of letting go and even more I love the freedom that comes from letting go. BTW: The memories you gave your daughters by being there for them, putting them first? Priceless.

    Here’s an anonymous poem:

    Letting Go
    “To let go does not mean to stop caring,
    it means I can’t do it for someone else.
    To let go is not to cut myself off,
    it’s the realization I can’t control another.
    To let go is not to enable,
    but allow learning from natural consequences.
    To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means
    the outcome is not in my hands.
    To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
    it’s to make the most of myself.
    To let go is not to care for,
    but to care about.
    To let go is not to fix,
    but to be supportive.
    To let go is not to judge,
    but to allow another to be a human being.
    To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
    but to allow others to affect their destinies.
    To let go is not to be protective,
    it’s to permit another to face reality.
    To let go is not to deny,
    but to accept.
    To let go is not to nag, scold or argue,
    but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
    To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
    but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
    To let go is not to criticize or regulate anybody,
    but to try to become what I dream I can be.
    To let go is not to regret the past,
    but to grow and live for the future.”

  3. Dave says:

    I continue to learn, and understand each precious moment must be observed as the entry to the future.

    The past cannot be undone but, in this moment as I turn to the left or, right, just maybe I could……

    ……And a bright new picture with a future I hadn’t planned on.

    Maybe there just is a new maybe…..


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