I woke up today thinking about the Beatles song “Let it be”. I’ve heard it many times, but this morning, the lyrics rang loud and true. I’m crafting an intention for the New Year and thinking a lot about ‘letting go’ of things I can’t change. Like many people, I have suffered difficult losses in life and the idea of ‘Letting Go’ is stressful for me. I tend to equate it with abandonment or not caring.
In the course of Mindfulness teacher training, we discussed the concept of ‘letting be’ as a starting point or replacement for ‘Letting go’. We didn’t talk about it in the context of the Beatles song, but the lyrics served as a solid link between the two concepts.
I’ve been putting a lot of energy into self-exploration this past year, and made much progress on the rough draft of a memoir. However this came at the expense of some current family relationships. As I dug deep into the past, I dissolved into a fog of unresolved childhood grief. I learned the meaning of terms like ‘anticipatory grief’ and ‘complicated grief’. Although it is 40 years after the fact, I finally gave myself permission to grieve the loss of my older sister Mary, and all of the memories that could have been. I don’t accept the loss and I’m certainly never letting go, but through patience and compassion, I have taught myself how to let it be.
Life is a balance of Yin and Yang however, so as I drew closer to my connection with the past, current relationships seemed to fall away. I focused so much on the loss of my older sister Mary; I neglected my current responsibility in that role. I am not a perfect older sister. I am a flawed human with much to learn about how to live in the present. The toughest part of this education for me is to recognize that there is much I cannot change, understand, or repair, no matter how strong and sustained my effort. So, for situations when effort is fruitless yet letting go is impossible, perhaps I can recall the timeless message in the Beatles song and find the wisdom to let it be.
This is my intention for 2017 – to be kind and compassionate, to do my best, and then -- to let it be.