The Joy Of Letting Go

Have you ever laid in bed, late at night, listening to a faucet drip? Remember that moment in between each drop? You hope it stops. You fear it won’t and then… the next drip sounds and you wait again.

One part of your mind says, ‘get up and do something about that drip’.

The other part, it wants to believe it will just happen naturally. The drop will stop dripping all on its own.

And so, you lay there wavering between the hope it will stop, and the fear it won’t.

Like the child learning to feed the wolf of kindness and grace, or the nasty harbinger of grief and misery, we go through each day making decisions between drips and drops of time passing. Between choosing hope over despair. Possibility over holding on. Love over fear. The known over the unknown.

In our quest to hold on to what we know, we are blinded by our fear of losing what we already have. Trapped in the fear we will lose it all if we let go, we cannot see that letting go is the initiation rite of passage we must pass through to discover the joy of flying.

Yesterday, on a bi-weekly call with two beautiful women friends, I shared how I fear letting go of ‘this space’ to create a new, exciting platform from which to launch my ‘next phase’.

I know. I know. Who says I need a next phase anyway? Heck! I’ve paid my dues. Done my service to humanity. After almost 20 years working in the homeless serving sector, I ‘deserve’ to ‘go quietly into the sunset’ or some such trite apothegm.

Fact is, I say I need, no wait, want a next phase. I want my life to have meaning that is purposeful and of service to humanity. Not because it feeds my ego. It’s not my ego that yearns for sustenance. It is my soul, my heart, my ‘person’.

I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward to explore a different terrain than the not for profit world I embraced so whole-heartedly in the past. A world that gave me great joy and fulfillment.

And see, there’s the thing, right there. It ‘gave me’. Past tense. It is not of the present.

What brings me joy today?

The peace and tranquility of my life is lovely. But as I told my friends yesterday, I miss the feeling of being busy. Of juggling many things. Of making purposeful decisions about big ideas.

Ahhh yes. I miss big ideas and big thinking. I miss feeling like I am part of making change happen.

I don’t want to go back and I cannot go forward without letting go of this space between the drip and the drop.

The end of this month will mark my one year anniversary of freedom from the 9 to 5, which as my daughters remind me was more my 24/7.

It has been a year of challenges. Of gut-twisting growth and heart-wrenching breakthroughs. Of soul-defying deep dives and fear-inspired pushing back.

I am ready.

And that’s the exciting part. “I don’t know” is a beautiful place to start my exploration.

I crave depth. Substance. Meaning.

Always have.

I crave growth. Creative expression. Connection. Belonging.

The question is: Am I willing to let go of holding on to what is, to fall into the unknown that is calling out for me to soar and discover all that is possible beyond what I already know? Am I courageous enough to live the questions with grace?

As Rilke so beautifully said,

Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Rainier Maria Rilke

The question is: Am I courageous enough to live the questions knowing the answers can only be lived through letting go of holding on to what I know?

Am I willing to let go of holding on to what is, to fall into the unknown that is calling out for me to soar and discover all that is possible beyond the edges of all I know?

Ooohhhh…. What heady, exciting, life giving questions to live everything now!

 

21 thoughts on “The Joy Of Letting Go”

  1. Congratulations are in order, I suppose, for your 1st anniversary away from 9-5 … but I’ll hold my applause.

    I read your writing nearly every day – so much of it is hopeful, and a bit sappy (like having to watch the chick-flick) every Saturday night, I want to both cheer you, and berate you. Berate you? Yes, because I read you regularly/often writing as you do today, lamenting that you want to do something. It’s a bit ‘broken-record’ playing again, and again. Nothing wrong with repeating the message …

    But sitting at home, sorta-retired, sorta locked-down by COVID-19, is neither a restriction for ‘not doing’ or valid excuse for ‘prevented from doing’. And I’m looking in my own mirror as I write this …

    The post-COVID-19 and post leaving 9-5 behind era is here; we are in it and having a year go by without accomplishing much is something we should not want to be saying/writing now, or at any anniversaries of anything in the future.

    Maybe I’m reflective in this because I’ve lost 3 friends recently, none to COVID-19; they were 60, 72, and 73. I know what they would give for another year, or more, of life – everything.

    I would love to have back some of the time I’ve wasted/lost in the last year, in the last several years, and while I’ve been locked-down, I’ve become more determined than ever to not be shut-down.

    We can do anything for anywhere, anytime we want,

    Sorry for the long rant. I’ll shut up now.

    Happy sort-of-anniversary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks Mark! LOL — I don’t mind what you write, particularly as you are, as you say, also looking in the mirror.

      for me, I do see all I’ve accomplished in the last year — and all I haven’t.

      I neither berate nor congratulate = I am more looking at where I’m at and realizing that in many ways, I have come out of a ‘long sleep’ where I dreamt of happily ever after but needed a prince to come and kiss me awake.

      Awakened through my willingness to be vulnerable and real, I am stepping fearlessly off the edge of the known to fly with abandon into the unknown — it’s exciting, terrifying and humbling.

      I know the fear that keeps me holding on. I’m willing to meet the joy of letting go wild at heart.

      Thanks for sharing your light! It isn’t as dark when others are lighting the night.

      Like

    2. I didn’t want to read this post, just in case it inspired me to look in the mirror. I definitely did not want to read your reply 🙂 Thankfully it actually wasn’t very long at all. The post made me feel like I was not alone, your reply also made me feel like I was not alone but it is high time to put up or shut up! (I know those aren’t your words but that is the message I choose to take) thanks for the straight forward push!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so grateful Susan that you read and commented and in doing so, also cast light on the path. I know what you mean about ‘alone’ – and that feeling that comes when you recognize you’re actually not. That ultimately, you are just very human. ❤

        Like

  2. What I know is not exactly what you know which does not necessarily coincide with what someone else purports to know! If we really knew what awaits us around the corner, life would be boring. And then we may see something one way, whereas someone else views it differently and then what? The fun is gone, the sense of adventure tainted.
    The starting place of ” I do not know” opens up so many avenues to explore and I think you have taken a few already with some interesting outcomes. Your first year anniversary of entering the “era of rejuvenation” gives you pause to reflect of what next, what have I accomplished. I am looking forward to the coming year!
    BTW – that dripping faucet – has to go! Torture in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Louise, I would be happy to talk to your often and would probably both laugh and cry , as I, like you are filled with both facets.
    ” deserve’ to ‘go quietly into the sunset’ or some such trite apothegm.”

    I was so glad that you called that trite, if not I would have asked what are you doing.
    As it is, you want to feel fulfilled. I know the feeling and as I sat her looking out I wondered. Does it have to be big all the time. Important decisions are big – even the seemingly small ones.
    Tomorrow morning could be a good day for just saying to yourself.
    This is what I want, am I scared?

    I know you will do what is right for your u, you are honest.

    Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wouldn’t that be amazing Miriam? To sit and drink tea and chat and go for long winding walks and explore life and creativity. Love and god and humanity? And to shed tears and laugh together? Oh how divine that would be!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. About a year ago you wrote about trying to find your new place in an unknown world, and I tried to grasp what that must be like. I think I know now, after this lock down! I actually think I learned a lot of things that I did not want to know during my isolation!

    There is a part of me that really wants to LIVE! Oh I want to be that annoying drip that causes hope and fear! But I found this new part that doesn’t, that is too comfortable tucked away in my solitary, numb, nothingness.

    Painting every day for my own need to create beauty. Good grief it is piling up every where!!

    And some days I am motivated to find life, but it is tamed too easily by the comfort of staying put and not risking anything.

    I just keep reminding myself that when the sun comes out and the doors open, life will come to me because even if I am afraid, I am ready.
    My sense of adventure and need to risk all will return, it is hibernating because it has to. It is repairing, building strength.

    I think I will be that drip that when you finally do get up to fix it, discover it is a cracked tap, that has also been leaking quietly into the basement wall, leading to discovery of broken weeping tiles that line the basement concrete, requiring the entire yard to be dug up

    I think you will probably also find that one day you will make one choice and that will open up the world ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh WOW! What a fabulous comment Susan! I am so inspired and moved and touched by your words, I am almost speechless — or is that writeless… or maybe witless? 🙂

      Powerful, moving words my friend. I like how you end with digging up the entire yard.

      And yes, one choice will lead to another and that will open up…. ahhh… the limitless possibilities! ❤

      Like

  5. Oh my goodness, I can’t believe it has been almost a year since you “changed jobs” 🙂 I remember reading way back then when things were so different……..and your writing has changed with it……..so much peace and joy………i can tell this new job suits you very, very well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow… between reading your fabulous text and the comment from your wonderful followers, I am left stuck with not knowing what to say.
    Four years ago, a little over a year after my husband died, I did a complete switch. After over 30 years doing office sh*t as an admin of some sort I became a waitress in a private golf club. I found out I was really good at it. But my feet thought I was an idiot. This past January, I decided to try a regular restaurant to see if it was the huge territory that had to be covered at the club that was killing my feet or what. I worked for one month and then COVID happened. Well. Here I am 56 years old and I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I know this. Fabulous as I am 😉 I don’t want to go back to that. Now what? Thankfully our government has stepped in so I can breathe as I try to redirect my life for the next, what? 10-15 years… I’m that drip that doesn’t want to let go and doesn’t want to splat in the bottom of the sink.

    You do make me think, Louise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And another WOW! Thank you for sharing Dale, and for also being a light — with all this light shining, none of us can get lost in the dark — and that’s a good thing because the world needs all of us to shine bright and fierce.

      So… I’m thinking we could kind of create a ‘tribe’ or perhaps it’s a ‘diviners circle’ of women seeking whatever life has to offer when we cast off the spell of ‘normal’ to discover the rare, purified air of extraordinary is just as free to breathe!

      Hmmm…. I’m thinking you are sparking my thinkin’ and it ain’t stinkin’ — I know. I know. not as funny as I think but hey, it’s late and I had a good day and now to sleep…

      Thank you for being you and for your presence Dale — it’s really fun getting to know you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey! I share that which is worthy 🙂 And wow, thank you for calling me a light! That’s the best thing ever.

        Ooohhh… Now that’s an idea – a really good one.

        Made me smile so I’m thinkin’ you’re far from stinkin’!

        Thank you for such a great comment! It is truly fun getting to know each other!

        Liked by 1 person

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