If “holding on” was a class one could take, I’d get an A+ without having to study. Being a world-class practitioner of the tightly gripped past I have both benefited and been hurt by my stubbornness. It’s takes strength and wisdom to look into the murk of what was and clearly know what to let go and what to hold on to. Sometimes it’s impossible.
There is a danger in hanging on to what is unhealthy. Gerald D. Jampolsky was focusing on the potential peril when he wrote, When we think we have been hurt by someone in the past, we build up defenses to protect ourselves from being hurt in the future. So the fearful past causes a fearful future and the past and future become one. We cannot love when we feel fear… When we release the fearful past and forgive everyone, we will experience total love and oneness with all. The key thought in all that is “forgiveness”. When I have truly forgiven my the pain becomes exorcised, but love remains untarnished.
Like most of us, often a past chapter of my life was a combination of joy and love mixed with heartache and pain. More than I care to admit I have swirled the two together and killed the good memories burying them with the bad ones. Doing that strips my recall of not only sorrow, but happiness as well. What works much better is to find some sort of equilibrium between the two where the focus can be the reminiscent joy and love. But the sadness is not forgotten for in many ways it is the pain that makes the good all the more meaningful, like night gives meaning to daytime. This only works if my forgiveness is genuine and complete. Grief, pain and sorrow are important landmarks for my life and to completely try to make any of them vanish is to deny myself wisdom earned the hard way.
Such thinking is nowhere more important than on the subject of romantic love. In “Never Let Me Go” Kazuo Ishiguro said I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. Often there is a story after the story where the same river brings the two who drifted apart back together at a later time . What once was can not be recreated, but with letting go new possibility is created.
A second chance is not feasible until the contents of the initial possibility are cleansed by releasing it. That does not mean to deny any part of what once was, but instead to hold memories with reverence in a past tense. Sometimes in your life you have to leave some precious things not because you don’t deserve it but because you deserve something better than that and it’s just like creating space for some bigger and much better things waiting for you in your life ahead is how Shubbanshu Tiwari explained clearing the path for new possibility. Precisely, what might be bigger and better can not come to be until what was has been let go.
I am grateful for what Ray Bradbury said: Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it. It’s like boats. You keep your motor on so you can steer with the current. And when you hear the sound of the waterfall coming nearer and nearer, tidy up the boat, put on your best tie and hat, and smoke a cigar right up till the moment you go over. That’s a triumph.
Well written Mr. Bradbury! I am grateful that your words are exactly what I needed to read this morning. My past is at peace (at least much more so than ever). I gratefully have hope for the future that the best of my life lies in front of me. Full power ahead.
…Love is easy, falling in love is even easier,
but letting that love go, is the most difficult thing
you’ll ever have to do. Some of us never let it go
and sometimes it takes a while to realize what you want.
But your heart will always have the right answer in the end.
You just have to figure out what it’s telling you.