Letting Go

Jennifer Bradshaw

I'm learning to let go.

Actually, this is a lesson that the Divine has been teaching me over and over during the past seven years or so. Just when I think I can't let go of anything or anyone else, the Divine brings me back to this lesson to review, and let go of a little more.

Less than 10 years ago, we had a 1200 square foot home, three bedrooms, two baths, a neat little yard with a big garden plot and lots of roses. My husband and I both had careers going (he was in the Army, and I worked for the VA in third party insurance collections) and we were making good money.

Let Go of What No Longer Serves You

My first recognized lesson in letting go came in early 2010 when, after months of high stress and family and work crises that almost cost me my second marriage, my health began to fail. I was exhausted all the time. I would have severe anxiety attacks over seemingly small things (my husband sneezing would set off an attack that would have me shutting down completely, unable to think or move for an hour or more), and each anxiety attack set off a migraine headache that was blinding and overwhelming in it's intensity. Within four months, I could barely function enough to get out of bed, let alone down the stairs and out the door for another day at my high-stress job (by this time, I'd changed employers and worked for the Army myself, and my husband was out of the Army and out of work).

Letting go became releasing myself from a job I loved, moving out of a home I adored, and facing long-term disability. It became the gateway to the spiritual journey that has given me some of my life, health and peace of mind back.

I still struggle with disability. Our debts, still lingering from my husband's out-of-work days and the months I had no income at all, are a very real fact of our lives. A series of moves has put us in a small, 700 square foot apartment near the Pacific Ocean, and what we lack in space, we make up for in the peace of small town life and having an ocean we can walk to any time we want (weather permitting, of course)

And I still find myself needing to release more things from my space and my life.

I am slowly letting go of more and more of my cherished book collection. Some titles, I might never part with, but many are making their way into Thrice Read's store inventory. An archive of older magazines, collected for various articles, is being thinned out a little at a time as I rediscover the articles I purchased the magazine for in the first place, and taking small scraps of headline and graphic work that speak to something deep inside me. 

I'm also discovering a huge weight of fear, anxiety, self-doubt and self-loathing that I've been carrying around for decades. These things, too, are slowly being released. Admittedly, of the possessions I am progressively letting go of, these emotional bonds are the hardest to set free. They have become part of the fiber of my being, and the time of their service to my life has long since past.

Each space created by what I release is filled with something else. I am, in essence, making room for other things in my life.

Instead of a huge collection of magazines, I have a small folder of ideas and images that become collages which inspire and inform my writing.

Instead of shelves full of dusty books, my husband and I have inventory for a bookstore we've dreamed of opening for years.

Instead of fear, I find freedom in my creations. 

Instead of self-doubt, I see, and can honor with gratitude, those who ask me to be a witness and a guide on their own spiritual journey.

Letting go is never easy; and what is meant to return to me, I know now, will return to me when the time is right. Nothing is ever truly gone, only changed, transformed, or traveling.

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