Letting Go: The Hardest Lesson

by Judith F Kennedy, PhD

Letting go of our stories, blame, and grief is a hard lesson, but it will serve you all of your life. Letting go is the ultimate lesson.

I remember a sunny but cold day in Plymouth, Massachusetts. I was living with my ex-husband in a condo overlooking a golf course in the Pinehills. I took my little dog, a small Chihuahua, Bella, to the market with me. She was a sweet dog, the Velcro kind, loving and affectionate. She couldn’t walk very far because of two knee surgeries and a weakened heart. She trusted me completely. We finished our shopping and went back to the condo. I picked up a big bag of groceries, some bottled water, and Bella from the car.

Balancing it all, I walked up the ramp and through the first door into the building. At the second interior door, I hesitated. Perhaps I should set things down and then walk through? No, I just pushed on through, bending over to find the handle of the door, balancing groceries, dog, and all. Then it happened. I dropped Bella. She landed on her stomach on the concrete floor, legs splayed. I dropped to my knees. She couldn’t get her breath. I could see her struggling, her little weakened heart racing. She was frightened and panting. We sat there for a long while, me and Bella, with the groceries on the cold concrete floor. Finally she recovered her breath and I was able to pick her up and hold her. She licked my face. I felt such horror at what I had done. I thought I could push through the door, taking all everything with me. I was stubborn and aggressive—even stressing my beloved little dog. I did not want to waste time, slow down, or let the rules of life apply to me.

It’s simple really. My ego blocked me from the reality of my situation. I was given the opportunity to put down my burden, my ego, open the door, cross gently, and pick up what I needed. Time and time again, we are offered the chance to truly learn this: We cannot hold on to things and move forward. You must let go of the things that do not serve you, and life itself. In order to enter your new life, you must let go. Let go of your blame, ego, righteousness, hurt, and all the things that diminish you.

To cross the threshold to a new life, take what is necessary and let go of the rest.