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Letting Go of the Familiar

Letting Go of the Familiar

Courage is the strength/power to let go of the familiar. -Raymond Lindquist

My twelve-year-old daughter Emma gave me this quote in a frame for my birthday. I was a little shocked that she would find something like this and asked her how she chose it. She said, “Well, I know you are letting go of a lot right now.” Then she said, “So you know it’s courageous.” Then she turned on her heels, iPod in hand. I was touched to be seen so deeply by her and happy to have this reminder behind glass in a frame- that courage comes from letting go.

Actually Alexander Graham Bell, the guy who invented one of our most devoted mechanisms of communication said years ago: “When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” This is a bad habit that many of us carry on unknowingly, and yet one of the most powerful practices in learning to really let go.

For me there is an unreality about change that feels like it stays in me viscerally for a time. Even when I mentally get the shifts occurring around me, there is still this vestige of what it was inside me. Still this is the practice that life is demanding from all of us. It isn’t personal or unique to any of us that time is speeding up and change is more a constant of being present in life. Still there is this time of adaptation, where life changes find a space to live inside of us. I liken this to the time delay I experience between seasons. Clearly all outward signs are showing summer long gone, but I wait for one more day of Indian summer. It takes a few weeks of rain and multiple layers for me to get it.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be….” This ancient Eastern wisdom lies at the heart of letting go of the familiar. Making space for meeting your aspirations is a continuous leap away from what we know. Giving up our attachment to how we think it should be or what we expect it to look like is the open door that is usually waiting for us to see it.

The ironic thing is that the older we get, the less our inclination is to let go. The more invested you are in how things look and feel in your life, the less you are looking for another open door. It is easy to get too comfortable with the familiar. I am not sure if it is strength of heart or power of will that moves you beyond this comfort zone. Maybe a little of both. Like it or not, it is the only way into a life that evolves.

Read more: Inspiration, Love, Relationships, Spirit, Wendy's Positivity Quest,

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

47 comments

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11:21PM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

Thanks for the article.

2:17AM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

Interesting article

1:49AM PST on Dec 23, 2010

Well said. Thank you.

4:27AM PST on Dec 3, 2010

Luckily as I get older I find that I have less trouble letting go... both of mementos that are connected to my past and of ways to be and thoughts to think. It feels much better this way!

5:36PM PST on Nov 16, 2010

Thanx for article.

11:36AM PST on Nov 11, 2010

Letting go of material things is not hard for me. Like Jim Thompson, I have had water damage, ie flooding, of my home and lost furniture, books, mementoes, and though I regretted the losses, I adjusted. Letting go of our loved ones when they pass away is the hard thing for me. Our family has had too many losses in a very short time and it is hard to adapt to not having these people with us anymore.

10:03PM PST on Nov 10, 2010

so true, thanks for the article.

2:58PM PST on Nov 9, 2010

I think this may be just what I needed to hear! Thank you Wendy!

1:33PM PST on Nov 9, 2010

wonderful.. thanks!

1:13AM PST on Nov 9, 2010

thanks for the article.

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