There is a wonderful line from Rumi, the Sufi poet, which says, “Be like a tree, let the dead leaves drop…”
Like a lot of folks, Autumn is my favorite season of the year. And nothing brings me more joy, and a bit of sorrow, than to see the first leaves drop from the ‘Grandpa Tree’ (a very old maple) in our front yard.
I was thinking of the Rumi quote not only because of the seasons changing, but also because I’ve been learning to let go lately. The hard way. The painful way. The way that both hurts to hold on and hurts to let go. In truth, I have been letting go of the last bits of my connection with the Friend I’d Like to Fuck (or the FF) from my Sex Surge.
I’ve hung on to pieces of things – memories, ideas, hopes, fantasies – for more than four years (with no contact from him, I’ll add- it’s just leftover bits inside my head and heart). And while that sounds like I’m stupid (and maybe I am), it’s also an indicator of how much I cared for him and felt emotionally, even spiritually, connected to him. Letting go all the way takes its own time, I have learned. Sometimes it takes a long time.
Of course, as women at mid-life we have let go of many things. Marriages, for many of us. Children, in some cases (whether that is through death or leaving for school or simply the mid-week trade-off of divorce). Dreams of our work in the world. I would bet many of us have let go of toxic friends and family as well. And most certainly, we have let go of different versions of ourselves.
Today I simply want to acknowledge all that we have let go of- whether we wished to or not. In some situations, the letting go has been long and arduous, almost like cutting off a limb, bit by painful bit. In other situations, it is exactly like the leaf falling from the tree- natural and easy. But we have done it; kudos to your strength, brave one.
I found the following words of wisdom on Pinterest. If you know the proper author, please let me know. I think they show the way of letting go- the how and the why. I found the words and ideas comforting in these past weeks. I hope you find it useful, too.
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To Let Go Takes Love
To ‘let go’ does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.
To ‘let go’ is not to cut myself off,
it is the realization I can’t control another.
To ‘let go’ is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To ‘let go’ is not to admit powerlessness,
it means the outcome is not in my hands.
To ‘let go’ is not to try to change or blame another,
it is to make the most of 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 outcomes,
but to allow others to effect their own destinies.
To ‘let go’ is not to be protective,
but 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 to correct them.
To ‘let go’ is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take every day as it comes, and to cherish myself in it.
To ‘let go’ is not to criticize and regulate anybody,
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.