I was clicking around the Internet and came across this poem. I liked it very much because it explains that letting go doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve given up or thrown in the towel. Letting go can mean that you’re allowing a loved one to learn by reaping the consequences of their actions–or inactions. Letting go can mean that you realize it isn’t your place to always solve everyone else’s problems.
Here’s the poem to read for yourself:
Letting Go by Author Unknown
To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring; It means I can’t do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off… It’s the realization that I can’t control another…
To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try and change or blame another, I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective, It is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue, but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone, but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more.
I like this poem because it’s reminiscent of the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr. In this poem, Letting Go, as with Niebuhr’s poem, is filled with common sense wisdom that is deeply profound as it is simple.
Let me know what you think of this poem. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!
This post was published earlier this year on 1/27/17 and it continues to be an excellent reminder that it’s the journey and not the destination that that matters. It’s what we learn, who we meet, the new things we see, and the interesting things that we discover. And it’s how all of this enriches us and our life and how we then share this with others.
This poem also reminds us that riches and influence can be useful tools in crafting a soul-prospering life, but they aren’t what’s truly important. It’s the comforting silence as well as the laughter shared with dear friends and loved ones; playing with your kids; making a difference in someone’s life. These achievements are the true successes in life.
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
I’d Rather Be a Failure by Edgar A. Guest
I came across this poem and I thought you might like it, too.
I’d Rather Be a Failure by Edgar A. Guest
I’d rather be a failure than the man who’s never tried;
I’d rather seek the mountain-top than always stand aside.
Oh, let me hold some lofty dream and make my desperate fight,
And though I fail I still shall know I tried to serve the right.
The idlers line the ways of life and they are quick to sneer;
They note the failing strength of man and greet it with a jeer;
But there is something deep inside which scoffers fail to view—
They never see the glorious deed the failure tried to do.
Some men there are who never leave the city’s well-worn streets;
They never know the dangers grim the bold adventurer meets;
They never seek a better way nor serve a nobler plan;
They never risk with failure to advance the cause of man.
Oh, better ’tis to fail and fall in sorrow and despair,
Than stand where all is safe and sure and never face a care;
Yes, stamp me with the failure’s brand and let men sneer at me,
For though I’ve failed, the Lord shall know the man I tried to be.
I’m always on the lookout for good quotes. The best ones–the ones that resonate with us–contain not only wisdom for the particular situation in which we find ourselves, but also they have a little packet of energy that’s just the boost we need to take the next few steps.
In the comments section, let me know of these will help you take the next steps in crafting your soul-prospering life. Thanks!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
BABY STEPS: A FEW QUOTES TO ENCOURAGE YOU
What baby steps are you going to take this week toward your dreams? Here are a few quotes about baby steps to “prove” to you that they really do work.
Progress. Just make progress. It’s okay to have setbacks and the need for do-overs. It’s okay to draw a line in the sand and start over again – and again. Just make sure you’re moving the line forward. Move forward. Take baby steps… Then change will come. And it will be good. ~Lysa TerKeurst
You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.~Martin Luther King, Jr.
To make the quickest progress, you don’t have to take huge leaps. You just have to take baby steps-and keep on taking them. In Japan, they call this approach kaizen, which literally translates as ‘continual improvement.’ Using kaizen, great and lasting success is achieved through small, consistent steps. It turns out that slow and steady is the best way to overcome your resistance to change.~Marci Shimoff It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.~Confucius
Pause and remember – Everyone gets discouraged and feels lost at times. Don’t worry – life will get better. A new way is being made for you. Keep moving forward even if it’s just baby steps.~Jennifer Young
Babies learning to walk embody the deepest truth about deep practice: to get good, it’s helpful to be willing, or even enthusiastic, about being bad. Baby steps are the royal road to skill.~Daniel Coyle Little by little does the trick. ~Aesop Go gently and slowly. These are baby steps. Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves.~Julia Cameron You’re never too old to take baby steps. ~Capital STEEZ
Don’t look too far in the future, don’t worry about how you’re going to have enough time or enough money or enough smarts; the “how?” is up to God. Just put your whole focus on this moment, doing this baby step at this moment; and then once you finish that one, God and the angels will give you the next assignment and so on and so forth.~Doreen Virtue I knew it was unrealistic to think I could build an institution overnight. But if I took baby steps, eventually it would happen.~Russell Simmons Seeing a pattern doesn’t mean you know how to put it all together. Take baby steps: don’t focus on the folks whose skills are far beyond your own. When you’re new to something-or you haven’t tried it in a while-it can feel impossibly hard to get it right. Every misstep feels like a reason to quit. You envy everyone else who seems to know what they’re doing. What keeps you going? The belief that one day you’ll also be like that: Elegant. Capable. Confident. Experienced. And you can be. All you need is enthusiasm, a little bravery, a sense of humor, and to regularly take baby steps.~Kate Jacobs
In the comments below, let me know which of these quotes you like the best. Thanks!
I wrote this post on September 16, 2015, eleven months after my father passed away. I’ve had my share of very difficult times and Dad’s passing had to be the worst.
I still miss him very much and there are days when it feels like he just passed the day before: I’m bewildered, I can’t catch my breath, and I wonder how I’m going to put my life back together. I even wonder if it’s disrespectful on some level to live my life, pursue my dreams, and be happy because Dad isn’t here and he can’t do those things anymore and maybe me doing them is a form of bragging….
Oy how our minds love to twist us into pretzels!
There’s a simple technique I use that I’ll share with you at the end of the post. It helps me stagger forward when I feel that I really really can’t.
For now, though, here’s the original post:
WHEN LIFE AMBUSHES YOU HARD
Life is an expert at guerilla warfare. It loves to sneak up and ambush us with deadly precision in our most tender spots.
When it happens, we’re shocked–stunned. We can’t think; we can’t breathe. Panic sets in along with Terror, its BFF (Best Friend Forever).
We’re helplessly spinning, free-falling into the abyss, ripped from our moorings.
We’re absolutely convinced that we are being obliterated. If, by chance, there are any pieces of us left, we’re positive that they’ll be so infinitesimally small that we’ll never find them much less be able to put them back together.
We are convinced we are going to die.
Recovery is so far-fetched and outlandish of an idea that we don’t even consider it–it isn’t even the teensiest-tiniest blip on our radar screen.
But recovery ispossible. While you may never be able to get back the life that you had before the deadly ambush, you can go on and build a life that you are proud of, one that’s fulfilling and that gives you great satisfaction and peace.
Even though this seems impossible, it can be done. Not by quitting, giving up or giving in, and not by throwing in the towel. As yesterday’s quotes point out, Life’s Ambushes and the resulting panic and terror are conquered by taking action (click here to be taken to yesterday’s post).
Do not dismiss, sneer at, or look with contempt or derision at taking teeny tiny bits of steps. They add up over time! As long as you keep taking the tiny bits of steps–being relentless about it–you will crush it, guaranteed.
The reason why is precisely because Life is a guerilla fighter. It can’t last through the long haul. And Life can’t handle it when you charge at it by taking action.
If you keep at it–keep taking action by regularly taking little tidbits of steps, Life will quit first. It will blink first. It will be the first to slink away with its tail between its legs.
Your homework today is to take the next step. Break it down into little teeny tiny jots–specks small enough that you know for sure you can easily do them. Then do them!
You can do this, you are not alone. I am with you, cheering you on. I believe in you and I am convinced you can do it and that you will do it!
I am so proud of you for taking one jot of a step, then a speck of a step, then a crumb of a step…. You are AWESOME!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
The Simple Technique:
As I said in the post, taking action is going to save you every single time. While it’s ideal to take action on your dreams–take a little baby step that will move you closer to them–sometimes just taking action is good enough.
For instance, when I’m in a bad place and am feeling hopeless and helpless and I know trying to take a baby step in the direction of my dreams is out of the question because it’s way too much for me to handle. Instead, I’ll do something that’s very very simple, something that doesn’t require a lot of thought or time or energy.
Here are a few examples of actions I may take:
Straighten up: I’ll fold the laundry; I’ll tidy up the pile of books that I want to read that’s always beside my chair; I’ll wipe down the kitchen counter; I’ll throw in a load of laundry.
Give myself time off: I’ll read for fun (fiction); I’ll daydream; I’ll watch a favorite movie.
Take a nap: usually when I’m in a bad place I find I’m also exhausted. After my nap, I may not be the sunniest most positive person around but my mood is always just a little bit better than it was before the nap. This helps me swing the momentum toward optimism.
Go to YouTube and listen to uplifting music or messages: YouTube rocks! I find when I listen to music with a upbeat rhythm to it, it improves my mood. And, listening to inspiring and motivating messages helps me get my thoughts pointed in the right direction.
These are a few examples of actions I take that help me get back on track. What are some of the things you do?
You may be thinking that all these posts this week have been fine and dandy but what if you have no idea what your “talk” is so there’s no way you can do any walking of it and forget about doing the work!
Here are a few techniques to help you get going:
Sit in Silence – I know, I know. You’re rolling your eyes at this one because I ALWAYS recommend this technique. The benefits of regularly sitting in silence and checking in with yourself, including the Divine within, are soooo worth it that it’s my first go-to recommendation. If you aren’t regularly doing this, I urge you to set up a practice NOW, today. It doesn’t have to be long—starting out with 5 minutes each day is a great start. It’s the consistency of showing up for that 5 minutes every day that will give you the payoff.
Sitting in silence is a great place to start for hearing and understanding your “talk” and then thinking of the ways you can walk it. Not only does the silence help you get in touch with the Divine within and give you the quiet to hear the Still Small Voice within, but the silence gives you the breathing space and elbow room away from the pushing and pulling, poking and prodding of the world.
That in itself is worth it!
Playlists – music is a great way to inspire yourself and keep you motivated. Also, it’s helpful to listen to Audio books and Youtube speeches to encourage you and fortify yourself.
Because you’ve been regularly sitting in silence *ahem*…*wink*, you’ll know which emotions and feelings are your habit. For instance, perhaps you are easily frustrated or annoyed, or maybe you worry and fret. You may find that your go-to emotions are discouragement and thinking you can’t do it.
Devise playlists for each of these emotions and feelings. When you’re feeling any of these, you can play the songs, speeches, bits of wisdom and pull yourself out of these and into a more productive frame of mind. You can stop yourself from a full-on pity party or sinking into despair or getting stuck and wallowing in it.
Socialize with people who celebrate you – Blue Zones of Happiness by Dan Beuttner found that the happiest most well-adjusted people spend 3 – 6 hours a day socializing.
No, they aren’t at bars downing brews and jello shots, and no, this doesn’t give you permission to gossip or fritter away your time with useless activities.
Spending 3 – 6 hours daily socializing can take the form of working with your colleagues at work completing your assignments with excellence; it may mean working with others in volunteer and civic organizations on projects you’re passionate about. Daily socializing can include taking classes as well as sharing your interests, hobbies, and favorite activities with other like-minded people. And, it can also mean reaching out a helping hand to your neighbor.
Of course socializing also means sharing meals with friends and family, going to cultural activities with those you love, and enjoying an afternoon of golf with your buddies or kayaking with your girlfriends.
Get involved and stay involved with others. Even if you’re an introvert or very shy, you can find a level that’s comfortable for you.
It’s through socializing—spending time with others talking, laughing, exchanging ideas—that you can get a better handle on what’s important and meaningful to you. From this you can then determine your purpose and your passion.
Give these a try and let me know how they work out for you. Thanks!
I’m reading the book The Blue Zones of Happiness by Dan Buettner. He is the researcher credited with coining the term Blue Zones to denote towns, villages, cities, and countries where the people enjoy high levels of happiness and contentment. In the book I am reading, Buettner gives tips and techniques from the world’s happiest people.
As you’d imagine, people in the “happiness zones” had commonalities. They were active, not only physically active but also active within their family, social circle, and community; they ate moderately with fresh fruits and vegetables making up the bulk of their diet; they were devoted to work that was meaningful–whether or not the work was paid–and they took time for rest and recreation. In short, these people were thriving in their lives, not just surviving like a large percentage of people do.
But happiness and thriving means many different things to people. Buettner summed these up into three categories: pleasure, purpose, pride. He found that if you have high levels of pleasure, not hedonistic pleasure but rather that derived from enjoyed activities and warm and welcoming people; if you have work–whether or not it’s paid–that is meaningful to you and brings you pride that comes from giving it all you’ve got and doing your very best, and if you have many opportunities to socialize with people who like you and encourage you, then you, too, can craft a life where you thrive.
A life of thriving is the same as a soul-prospering life!
I’m reading the book The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau. I came across this book when we were talking a few weeks ago about making pilgrimages.
It contains a paraphrase of advice that was given to people in medieval times who were embarking on pilgrimages: Stranger, pass by that which you do not love.
I didn’t quite understand quote and didn’t know what to make of it. If you’re on a pilgrimage or if you’re visiting new place, it’s most helpful if you stay mindful and open to everything. You want to see the gifts that every moment has to give you as well as learn the lessons that some moments contain–in fact, often times the lesson is the gift.
When I read Stranger, pass by that which you do not love, it sounded counterintuitive. The quote sounded like it was advising us not to pay attention, that we should ignore something that has the potential to teach us a very profound lesson. And the quote seemed to say that we should overlook the little bits of beauty sprinkled throughout the day that give us the opportunity for wonder and awe at the magnificence of creation.
That advice didn’t seem right so I kept pondering that quote to see what else I could glean from it.
Soon it occurred to me that the quote isn’t saying that we shouldn’t learn a lesson that we shouldn’t be mindful. It isn’t saying that we should be shallow and stick with only the things we like or are comfortable with.
What the quote is telling us is exactly what it’s saying: stranger, pass by that which you do not love. The quote tell us to pass by: don’t stay with what we don’t love; don’t cling to what we don’t love; don’t wallow in what we don’t love.
I found this to be a very profound reminder that we will go through difficulties, because it’s guaranteed that we’re going to hit rough patches no matter how smart, how beautiful, how young, how old, how talented, how slim, how rich, we are going to hit difficulties. Some are going to be much more trying and more heartbreaking than others. And we aren’t going to love it at all–who would?! The point is to pass by, to go through it as best we can. Go through it–don’t stop, don’t wallow, don’t stagnate, don’t cling.
I wanted to share this revelation with you. I hope you find inspiration and encouragement in these ideas.