The Power of Letting Go

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Hands of Chrystalee
Hands of Chrystalee (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

The more years I live on this earth, the more I understand there is power in letting go.

Letting go of what you want. Letting go of what you’re better off without. Letting go of the outcome.

When my daughter was younger, she was very attached to her toys (well, she still is). She never wanted to give anything away, whether to sell in a garage sale or to give to a charity. Again and again I would tell her that if she’s clinging to what she has, her hands aren’t free to receive new things, different things, better things. Sometimes she understood. Sometimes it was a battle.

All that time I was telling her this lesson, I was also talking to me.

Writing — more specifically, revising — is teaching me this lesson now. This idea of cutting away what your story is better off without so there’s room for something new, something better — even though you love what is already there.

It can be painful, the letting go. But what I’ve found time and again is it’s always better, after. What comes as a result of letting go is always surprising, and always greater than what I imagined it would be.

In my first rounds of edits with my editor, I had to rewrite the ending of my book so it fit the new two-book structure we’d created. This was very difficult for me. I loved-loved-loved my ending. But it wouldn’t have made sense in the story arc if I’d left it as is. So I cut the chapter and wrote a new ending. That new ending completely opens up the possibilities for the second book.

If you never let go, there’s never room for possibilities.

It comes down to ego, I think, or maybe security. We think we know best and we close ourselves off to the suggestions of others. Or we want to stay with what we know, what’s safe.

Letting go involves releasing what we think we know, releasing what we think we deserve, accepting that we’re not as in charge as we think we are.

When I think back through my life, I can count several situations where I let go of my expectations and the outcome, and it literally changed my life. (And I do mean literally, not the actually not-literal way some people use the word.)

So, ask yourself: is there something you have a death-grip on today? What would happen if you released that grip? What would happen (could happen) if you let go?

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2 thoughts on “The Power of Letting Go

    alohaleya said:
    May 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    i love this. i can relate to your experience with editing, and how it can hurt to let great words go. i never saw the parallel to life, though. but of course, it makes sense…we get attached to all kind of things, whether they’re lifelong patterns or temporary words on a page. thanks!

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