letting go

I read a dozen mothers say they aren't ready for their babies to go off to school. But every child must, and so of course they will, never mind the mother's instinct to not let her small child go from the shelter of her arms, the gentle peace of a free childhood ...

I didn't let my child go. There was one week when I seriously considered it, when we lived next to a school and I heard all the laughter at lunch time, and it felt like the roar of all society saying you should, every child must. So I enrolled her there, and cried all weekend. I felt as if I'd been fighting a great war for years and now was surrendering for no good reason at all. At the end of the weekend, I cancelled her enrollment and held her close, that she could stay free.

Why must we always let go? Let go of love, of pain? What about holding on for all it's worth? I don't understand the pursuit of detachment. What a lonely way to live. And I don't understand why we listen to other people who make a profit from our broken instincts.

I will hold on to dark memories. They are my memories. I will not dwell in them, but why would I vivisect my soul to be rid of them?

I will hold on to my love. I won't let it be unhooked from me, stored away from me, appropriated by others, screened remotely.

I will hold on to fear, for it illuminates my love. I will hold on to the loam and forest and western skies where I belong, no matter where I end up.

I will not believe that every single writer needs an editor to make their words worthwhile. I will hold on to my creative voice. I will keep myself.

I will keep copyright on my words and pictures. I will not let go of what I know to be right, even if the rest of the world is merrily going in the opposite direction.

I will not relinquish my heart. I will not give it up to you - but I will share it with you, all of it, and all my bones and sorrows and dreams too.

The only thing I will set loose is the idea that I should anything just because someone else says so. I will hold on to a deeper truth.


  1. Sometimes holding on can be be a release, a form of closure. Other times it can be the only thing holding us back from having room for change.
    All in all, we should all hold on to our beliefs and what we are passionate about. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with you in part, but I think we can create change within the space where we stand. Going deep, rather than moving on. Of course, I'm not talking about specifics - for example, if you're in an abusive relationship, moving on is important and good. But then keep what happened to you, and nourish it, and help it to grow into something good and beautiful and healthy.

  3. I loved these thoughts of yours! But, to my mind each one of your points illustrates a strong detachment from the exterior noise of the world.

    As a spiritual practice, detachment is simply emptying oneself of all that is not God, so that God can fill us with Himself. St. John of the Cross said, "Whether it be a strong cable or a delicate thread that holds the bird, it matters not if it really detains it; for until the cord be broken, the bird cannot fly. So also the soul, held by bonds of human attachments, however slight they may be, cannot while they last, fly upward to God.” Attachment to the Spirit's movement and whisper in our hearts is the essence of detachment to the world's clamor.

  4. "And I don't understand why we listen to other people who make a profit from our broken instincts".
    Yes - absolutely. There's a lot of guilt and shaming too around not letting go quickly, (even immediately following a wounding). I see it as part of a wider dilemma that is essentially a fear of the dark, (one's own especially). An airbrushed life lived only in the light and on the surface.
    Yet sometimes what we create may be born from holding hard and deeply.
    Bit of a tangent. Anyway, I love this. x

    1. "There's a lot of guilt and shaming too around not letting go quickly, (even immediately following a wounding)....An airbrushed life lived only in the light and on the surface.
      Yet sometimes what we create may be born from holding hard and deeply."

      I'm going to copy these words into my notebook tonight. ♥

    2. Hell yeah. And that's all I have to say about that. x

  5. When I read your words I noticed that they made me a little unhappy, because I disagree. Then I realised I could let go of needing everyone to agree with the way I see the world. 'Letting go' has been a helpful concept in my life and brought great changes - for the better - and peace - which was much needed. But a concept or idea is all it is, and I am sure can be used for good or ill, depending on the circumstance.

    Non-attachment, for me, is not the same as detachment. I feel deeply but then I let go of the pain, so that I can move on, grow from it, use my intelligence to put it to some use in the world rather than let it eat me alive... as it used to do. Suffering, in my opinion, is useful only in its ability to inspire change, but is not to be romanticised as a way of life. I think we need to be able to let go of old ideas if new better ones come along, and to be able to see other people's point of view, try them on and let go of our own if the new one is better.

    Indeed, there are ways we must hold on to our children, but there are also ways we must let them go. I don't think it is an either/or situation but rather a flow of small decisions this way and that.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. x

    1. I'm glad you have a concept which works for you. Truthfully, much of how we perceive and deal with the world is in semantics. I agree with most of what you wrote and yet would write all your thoughts from the perspective of holding on, of being here now, and transforming energy rather than letting it go. :-)

      My post came after realising how often our culture tells us to let go of people, of relationships and obligations - send kids to school at the age of 3, divorce the husband who annoys you, leave the job you are bored with, give up the religion when it challenges you - and yes sometimes leaving is the right thing. Mindfully detaching.... ah, but I find myself getting into semantics again, and that's unhelpful. :-)

      I don't think I said anywhere in my post that we should hold on to pain and suffering. But I firmly believe that letting it go is not helpful. Owning it, and embracing it like a mother embraces a crying child, allowing love and care to transform the pain into courage, comprehension, so that the energy of it doesn't dissipate, but becomes strong, beautiful, healing. And mainly not "putting the past behind us" and pretending it didn't happen, but learning to live with all our trials as well as our joys, knowing that they shaped us.

      Anyway, I could discuss this all day but as I said I do believe we're on the same page with most of it, we just use different words, different lenses to look into the heart of it. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me, and doing so with grace. I really appreciate it.

    2. It is heartwarming to read the words of someone who puts so much thought and care into the way they live. Thank you for the reply. :)

  6. Thank you for writing this. I know I will read it again when I need to remember your words and their wisdom. When we are told we should or must do something, we should question first before complying, especially today with so many hidden agendas. I felt especially moved by your admission to holding on to your dark memories. I have been told to often to let them go, but if we are also told that everything happens for a reason, why would we feel that that the memories aren't worth keeping? This is a beautiful and powerful post.

  7. Good for you! I believe there are times to hold on and times to let go... but it's not always easy.

  8. Thank you everyone for your comments and for putting up with one of my more inscrutable posts :-)

  9. Such beautiful writing, Sarah. I love how honest and true your posts are... it's refreshing and admirable.