Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Learning When To Let Go

Sometimes, even when we make a choice that is good for us, good for our life, perhaps even good for others, there can still be loss and grief.

Recently, I let go of someone, quietly stepped away from a friendship. I told the truth, told them I simply did not have the energy for what was happening between us, or would have to happen- need to be talked about, sorted out, resolved, agreed to- for the friendship to continue in a real and authentic way,

It was the right choice. I really don't have the energy to bridge the chasm that had opened up around behaviour that was, to me, inexplicable. I don't think the behaviour was intended to be hurtful. It was an expression of something that was probably true for the other on some level. Although it was directed at me, I don't think it was really about me at all.

And I could be wrong about all of that. Maybe the behaviour made perfect sense, and maybe it was about me, I can't really know for sure. But I did know that the distance it created would need to be bridged for continued connection.

One of the gifts of having had a chronic illness for many years is that I know how much energy things take and whether or not that energy is available to me in the present. It took me longer than I'd like to admit to heed this knowing, to accept when I cannot do something without consequences for my health and to the detriment of other areas of my life that feed my heart and soul.

But knowing when I can't do something, knowing when I need to step away, doesn't mean I don't feel the loss. I do.

When I was younger, to remove myself I had to make the other wrong, had to churn up anger and muddy my memories with reminders of real and imagined slights and hurts. Of course, the downside of not needing to do this, of simply knowing when it is time to step away even as I appreciate the places where we've touched each other, shared laughter, offered support in the past.. . . . is that the loss is felt fully- an ache I meet with prayers for the other, hopes for their happiness and well-being.

Learning to let go when the time is right. Knowing what we really can and can't do and accepting this. Being willing to take responsibility for our choices. Telling the truth. Not needing to make the other wrong. Feeling the loss, letting the sadness that arises keep the heart soft when the other comes to mind. Being willing to feel it all. Knowing that the future is unpredictable.

I am so grateful for the connection that was, and I feel blessed to have let go when the time was right.

Not easy. Not excruciating. Just life as a human being.

~Oriah House (c) 2014


  1. Replies
    1. Does it matter? The description I gave is all I want to share- in part because more would muddy the issue/topic which is not about what behaviour is acceptable and what is not, but about what we do when we simply do not have the energy to re-establish close contact. Thanks for the question- it clarifies in my mind what this is about. Oriah

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Deleted simply because it was a repeat of question above.

  3. Dear Oriah,

    Thank you for this magic post. I don't know how you do it but you speak to my heart.

    This has been a hard time for me, since my husband died suddenly 10 months ago.

    One friend in particular, the story became so confused and painful, and I didn't understand until I read your words.

    'I simply did not have the energy for what was happening between us, or would have to happen- need to be talked about, sorted out, resolved, agreed to- for the friendship to continue in a real and authentic way,

    This is what I was feeling and this is why I let go.

    This grief is like a chronic illness, but it has also taught me what belongs to me and what doesn't.

    And where the energy wants to go, and where it has died.

    Your words touch such beauty and truth and also bring an equanimity to me.

    Thank you for helping me walk with my head up a big higher, my heart a bit lighter and give dignity to us all.

    1. Alice, I am so sorry for your loss- and yes, you are right, in many ways grief is like a chronic illness in that it takes up energy and forces us to make choices about where we do and do not have enough energy for something. I am so glad you are practicing good self-care in this difficult time. Blessings, Oriah

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  5. Thank you Oriah! As always, the interconnectedness of all of us in the universe has spoken to me through you. I recently ended a relationship with a man, and I too knew it was the right time to end it. I am sad at the loss of him and what I thought it was, BUT I know I made the right decision. I too pray for him that he may find his happiness and I know that I will find my happiness when I am ready. I admire you for doing what is right for you, makes it all worthwhile even if there is pain that comes with it.

  6. To me it is still a great revelation that 'to be sad' is not the same as 'to be wrong'. That it is not always my fault that my life is not succesful; that all I can do is be truthful and accepting. I'm trying to find dignity in a flawed life.

    1. "finding dignity in a flawed life:- well said!