The Power of Letting Go

A few days ago I bumped into someone from my past that I hadn’t seen for awhile.  Our parting was painful but I felt I had accepted the separation and moved on.  And intellectually I had; I felt good about where I was.  But seeing her in person—the first time in over a year—brought back feelings of pain and loss that I thought I had successfully let go.  These feelings lingered for days and truthfully, made me angry.  Angry at myself, angry at what I felt was regression on my part. I didn’t want to feel those things.

For better or worse, I struggle with letting go of the past.  Friends, lovers, family, experiences—they are here for a period of time, and then they are gone, by choice or by circumstance.  Once I have them, I grip tightly.  Too tightly.  I don’t think I’m alone in this.

So what do we do?  How do we look at our present moment and understand we are exactly where we need to be? It’s very hard.  It’s a choice we must make.  And then make again.  And again.  And again.  We need to accept that with every gain comes a loss, every success a regret, every joy, a heartbreak.  Don’t run from the difficult thinking it will lead you to the good.  Go into the difficult.  Feel it, don’t fight it.  It’s who you are, too.  The light is waiting around the corner but we can’t set timetables for it, like I have too many times.  Be patient, open, and remind yourself, yes, I can let go.

Like with many things in life, this poem from spoken-word artist In-Q* showed up for me at just the right time, and I’d like to share a portion of it with you.


It’s hard for me to say yes

It’s easier for to say . . . next year.

When the weather’s fine.

When I have the money.  Or the time.

Or the relationship I want.

Or the career.

Watching life pass me by

Waiting for an invitation.


We’re animals aware of our future and our past

And this can be an obstacle to traveling our path.

Instead of just accepting where we’re at

We analyze our tracks for what we could’ve had.

Looking back, focused on the memories

Instead of on the facts.

And hence what we attract.


But it’s hard to factor in how fast

It really flashes past.

It’s an exponential graph;

Creation into ash.

Your view is worth the lows and highs

You go through on these coastal rides.

Control has got you holding on

When letting go could be more fun.


Feel the drop.

Eventually it all has to stop.

Love a lot and come back up til

You reach the very top

Because one day all your wheels fall off.

So take advantage of your shocks.

Do something you’ve never done.

Do someone you’ve never done.

Go someplace you’ve never gone.

Some place that could scare you some.


Be someone you’ve never been.

Feel all that adrenaline?

It’s medicine to jump start your skeleton

Then see everywhere you are

Is where you’re supposed to be.


So hopefully your hopelessly as lost as me

Because if you’re not, you ought to be.


*If you’d like to hear In-Q speak the poem, go to and listen to podcast #81.  Thanks, Rich, for putting that out there.