Letting go is hard. I think all of us at one point or another have had the awful exercise of having to let go and/or being let go of. We all need it, to condition us to understand that nothing is ever "always"; forever. Everything in life is temporary.
A few years ago, I watched Eat Pray Love.. actually it was December 31st 2010. I watched the movie before getting ready to go out for New Years. It changed my life... since then I have watched it more than any other movie. Just last week I watched it twice on Tuesday. I only watch the middle; I only watch the good stuff.
Those who know me well in my life are aware of how I have learned in the last few years about letting go. How relationships have changed, and people have changed, how I have changed and the things around me. I have watched it affect those around me, some are able to glide over it with ease and acceptance. Other get stuck; struggling and learning how to process the whole situation until they discover for themselves what works for them.
Over the last year, I think back to one moment in Eat Pray Love about letting go. It fits. It's been advice I've given to people and it's been advice I've received, It's just written in a way that just fits for more than just me. Not just within relationships (both romantic and non-romantic), but also with situations and experiences. It can be our health, our jobs-- anything that surrenders us to grief and mourning.
The author is in an Ashram in India – a place where she went to meditate and find herself through Yoga, and is having a particularly difficult time that day. She has made a friend there, Richard from Texas, and right now they are at the dinner table together, talking.
(my *one* thought is in parenthesise)
Eat, Pray, Love (by Elizabeth Gilbert)“What’s got you all wadded up?” he drawls, toothpick in mouth, as usual.
“Don’t ask” I say, but then I start talking and tell him every bit of it, concluding with, “And worst of all, I can’t stop obsessing over David. I thought I was over him, but it’s all coming up again.”He says, “Give it another six months, you’ll feel better.”“I’ve already given it twelve months, Richard.”“Then give it six more. Just keep throwin’ six months at it till it goes away. Stuff like this takes time.”I exhale hotly though my nose, bull-like.“Groceries [he calls her Groceries, how AWESOME is that?!],” Richard says, “listen to me. Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing and you were in the best possible place in the world for it – in a beautiful place of worship, surrounded by grace. Take this time, every minute of it. Let things work themselves out here in India.”“But I really loved him.”“Big deal. So you fell in love with someone. Don’t you see what happened? This guy touched a place in your heart deeper than you thought you were capable of reaching. I mean you got zapped, kiddo. But that love you felt, that’s just the beginning. You just got a taste of love. That’s just limited little rinky-dink mortal love. Wait till you see how much more deeply you can love than that. Heck, Groceries – you have the capacity to someday love the whole world. It’s your destiny. Don’t laugh.”“I’m not laughing.” I was actually crying. “And please don’t laugh at me now, but I think the reason it’s so hard for me to get over this guy is because I seriously believed David was my soul mate.”“He probably was. Your problem is you don’t understand what that word means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it. Your problem is, you just can’t let this one go. It’s over, Groceries. David’s purpose was to shake you up, drive you out of your marriage that you needed to leave, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master and beat it. That was his job, and he did great, but now it’s over. Problem is, you can’t accept that his relationship had a real short shelf life. You’re like a dog at the dump, baby – you’re just lickin’ at the empty tin can, trying to get more nutrition out of it. And if you’re not careful, that can’s gonna get stuck on your snout forever and make your life miserable. So drop it.”“But I love him.”“So love him.”“But I miss him.”“So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, then drop it. You’re just afraid to let go of the last bits of David because then you’ll be really alone, and Liz Gilbert is scared to death of what will happen if she’s really alone. But here’s what you gotta understand, Groceries. If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum there, an open spot – a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with the doorway? It will rush in – God will rush in – and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed. So stop using David to block that door. Let it go.”“But I wish me and David could —“He cuts me off. “See, now that’s your problem. You’re wishin’ too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.”AMEN.
Nothing is real until you let go completly.
Related post from July 2011
Dolce far Niente