The Power Of Letting Go

Rashmi Malhotra

As an adult, I have always felt one lesson which I really need to help my child learn is to let go and move on. I am the only child and as a result in my childhood days, my parents were my only friends, especially in my locality. I still remember the time when I was 6 years old and I had a fight with my best friend in school. For a 6 year old, believe me, its like the whole world had crumpled. After coming back from school, I kept crying the whole day and moving around the house with a long, sullen face. When my dad came from office and showed me some sympathy, I rattled out the whole story expecting him to support me and understand how vicious my best friend was. After listening to the whole story patiently, the only thing he could tell me was, its ok, forget it, rashmi. move on. Believe me, the first thought that came to my mind was to tell my dad to get lost for he was unable to understand the severity of the loss I had undergone. Losing a friend in childhood is like the end of the world in childhood. I was fine after a few days and had moved on. I made new friends and was again talking to my friend. There are times when I think what if my friend would have not spoken to me again. How my life would have changed? Probably, I would have learnt an important lesson that relationships do change and its ok to accept that. Now, when I look back my childhood days, those sad and happy moments, I feel my parents were always there for me and would always tell me to let go and move on. There was an important, subtle message there to not get stuck in small moments and look at the vastness of life. Live it and enjoy it. Be in that moment and then move on.

As a teacher teaching senior classes, I have seen teenagers getting anxious about everything in life. It is a stage where you can fret as much about the spot on your party dress as much you may about the important issues in the world. Thus, teenagers in order to be popular land up making a mark on their personality- they would do that either by degrading themselves or by paying attention to comments others would make about them, their physical appearance, or any other aspect of your personality. (oh have you seen yourself in the mirror, you are so fat or don’t ask her, she doesn’t know anything)

In the process they stop enjoying life, for they are busy judging themselves or others around them. They are busy seeing how better they are than others or how others are selfish and are so self- centered while I am not. As a result they would come complaining lot of times and we would have lot of discussions about it. The last thing I would tell them after talking to them would be to move on and to let go, to look at the relevance the incident would have on their life in next 10 years.

I had read in a book by the mother for bringing up children, “something for the children precisely because they are children, it would be best to instill in them the will to conquer the future, the will to always look ahead and to want to move on as swiftly as they can… what will be but they should not drag with them the burden of the past, the millstone of the whole oppressive weight of the past.”The mother talks about how important it is to remind the child to live in the present, even though we keep telling our children to look towards their future, it is also important to teach them to live in their present and enjoy it.

I was touched by one of the stories from more teaching stories, for I thought no one could better explain this message than that story. A person former inmate of Nazi concentration camp was visiting a friend who had shared the ordeal with him. He asked his friend “have you forgiven the nazis?” He says yes. His friend says well he hasn’t and he can’t for what they did to him. He still feels the hatred.  His friend gently tells him well in that case they still have you in prison. This story clearly tells us how if we don’t let go, we are stuck in our past. The easiest task for our mind is to keep reliving the agony we undergo and as we do that it becomes a habit- a painful habit. As a psychologist, I have seen how people keep living in their own world and fail to see the different worlds that coexist leading to misunderstandings in relationships. Such as the way one of my colleagues got stuck with the bad time period she had with her sister-in-law and it was still defining her relationship with her even though she accepted that her sister in law had changed. Some great person once said there is no reality only perception. As a result we keep reliving our agony again and again without realizing the world has changed, though our perception may have not.

It is interesting how we not only get stuck with bad times but also good times that we have lived. It is for we have enjoyed it so much that we want to keep reliving it again and again. It might be a relationship such as I might have had a beautiful relationship with my father and I would expect something similar from my husband. I might fail to understand that life has changed and therefore each relationship has its own beauty. Another beautiful reason for why we fail to understand the beauty of relationships and live them in the present is because of our expectations. Since I have done something good for you, you might as well do something good for me. Look around you will find some people cribbing about how as parents  they did so much for their kids and now their kids have no time for them.

Some of us are beautifully living in our future where we feel that when I will buy my own bigger house or a better car, my life will be so much better. It might be different and even better but there are no guarantees that there will be no challenges and no issues. In either of the cases we forget to enjoy the present. We are stuck in the times we are not living in.

But, why do we need to live in present? For only when we live in present can we enjoy each moment, give it our best shot, understand and appreciate the ever changing world. Enjoy each relationship with a newness and freshness it deserves. Think about how much will you enjoy the morning sun rays every day, if you were just there without thinking about anything else. We are so conditioned to use our thinking faculties at every step that now I feel they are being overused. As a result, our other faculties such as intuition and feelings have also become dependent on it. The moment you see the sunrise, your mind starts thinking wow, its so beautiful and that’s the end of it. You haven’t lived it. It is difficult to every experience into words and one must not even try it for it reduces the life of that experience, just as a bird in a cage. You can simply enjoy your present and live it to the fullest, for then it will be easy to move on. One of wise person once told me life is like a video camera, it keeps taking everything in, Just make sure you know when to press the red button. Enjoy the view and move on.
When I tried to think of a way to let go, I wondered it would be so nice if all the thoughts are in manifested form so that we can pick up and throw out whatever we don’t need. But, dreams are fulfilled only when we work on them. I know it is easier said than done, for a husband who has just lost his loving wife or a person who has just been asked to leave his job. If you closely look at the ways to deal with it, moving on may be the only way. Only when you let go and move on, you will be able to give your best shot to the present, you will be able to do wonders with it and be happy with what you have done and enjoy the journey. One of the ways to do this is to remind yourself consciously to be in the moment. Whenever your mind starts thinking about, what others said or what has happened or what will happen. You can start focusing on your breath. Focusing on breath turns it into prana giving it life force and eventually making it more effective for our mind, body and soul. You can also politely remind your mind to lovingly let go, for what is not needed for your journey will leave you either ways… So, let it go.