We all deal with issues in our lives where we want to hold on to someone or something. Sometimes we want to hold on to the past because of what it represents, especially idyllic memories of childhood. Then of course there are things in the past that were hurtful or harmful to us, yet we still hold on to those memories as well, rather than moving on. We hold on to the stories we’ve told ourselves about who we are and our place in this world. We hold on to grudges and refuse to relinquish them without a fight. We seem to feel we are entitled to hold onto things, no matter what they are or whether they are good for us or not.
How many times have we prayed for something to come true for us? How many times have we claimed we need a certain thing to happen before we can be happy? In western culture we cling to our material possessions as if our very lives depend it. They don’t. We work ourselves to the exclusion of all else in an attempt to gain more stuff, more recognition, more power over others, yet continue to feel empty and lost.
But what would happen if we simply let go? What if we let go of our determination to own the future, own more things, insist on forcing our point of view on others? This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to strive to better ourselves as human beings. Far from it. It doesn’t mean we should simply accept the subjugation of our will to others, or let others determine our path in life. Far from it.
It means letting go of expectations for the future. It means letting go of expectations from other people. It means letting go of the intense desire to control everything around us. When we expect something, we become disillusioned and disheartened when things don’t turn out as we want them to. We give our expectations such importance that it can affect our relationships with others, and our relationship with ourselves. How sad. What a waste of time and effort.
As a writer, I’ve begun to learn more about letting go of things and expectations than I ever dreamed. I know I can do my best, but at some point, I have to let go and allow things to unfold as they will. I cannot make others understand why I write. I cannot make readers want to read my stories. At some point, I have to let go and allow the universe to unfold as it will. In the meantime, I continue to do my best. I continue to write, to query, to connect with others on various levels. I continue to believe in myself and what I am attempting to accomplish; which is to connect with others via any medium open to me. Writing is just another form of communication for me, and I love it. I love hearing that people have enjoyed what I’ve written. I enjoy hearing from people from all over the world on social media, through this blog, family and friends who take the time to tell me they’ve liked my work. I’ve loved teaching the creative writing workshop classes I held at a local art centre this summer, and look forward to doing more in the coming months. I find great pleasure in talking to groups of people at book readings, public speaking engagements, and so on.
But at some level, I always have to accept that each of these endeavours leads to a point where I have to rest my expectations and step back. The work I’ve done will have to stand on its own. The talk I’ve given will either be well received, or not. I can continue to learn and grow as a writer, a speaker, and as a human being, but I cannot own the outcome. No one can. That’s a hard lesson to learn, because we are hard-wired to try to control as much of our environment as we can.
Writing has taught me many things, including the necessity for letting go. I want so many things for my life, and I’ll do my best to ensure the best shot possible at my dreams. I can only control me, my reaction to situations, my relationship with others, and my own determination to continue walking this path. I control nothing else. As my mother has often said, “Let go, and let God”. Its one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received, because it allows me to relax and trust that things will work out exactly as they are supposed to, and that whatever happens, I’ll be just fine.
If we allow it, letting go and believing in the great, unknown possibilities is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves.
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