The true risk is holding on…not letting go!

Socrates said that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” and while I find that to be true, I would take it a step further and say that the unchallenged life, the one devoid of change and wreckage is far worse. The carnage that comes from the complete destruction of your plan is not only devastating, but freeing, but you can’t know this until you are on the other side of it. Letting go of everything you hold dear is a risk that comes at great costs, but is worthwhile all the same.

I used to think it was integrous to hold onto what I wanted with a fierce and bloody grip, that letting go meant I was a quitter or that I no longer cared, that staying to prove my integrity, my worth, my love was the best choice. Indeed it was the stubborn one. There is a risk in thinking this way, however, that there is only one potential option. It’s fallacious and imprisoning to hold onto the notion that only one possible conclusion exists. I daresay it is even pretentious and egotistical. By grinding our feet in the earth and planting our pride in the independent thought that it is my way or the highway, we risk the immeasurable myriad of other potential outcomes that are available to us. What a risk to endure this solitary verdict, and it is cushioned by the erroneous notion that if we were to choose this, we would end up with a known quantity and quality, or at least the appearance of it anyway.

But as time has weathered me, I have found far greater peace in letting it all go and trusting in what is yet to come. I have come to know that the strength to leave behind that which you love paradoxically softens and hardens your heart at the same time: softens it in that it delivers humility, hardens it in that it renders you the fortitude to persist. In giving up the idea that it all must unfold in one particular manner, by releasing ourselves from this constraint, we avail ourselves to more options. Don’t misunderstand. I am not condoning quitting, but merely the cessation from the idea that everything must manifest in the way our limited minds can perceive. What if everything we desire is within our reach, but not in the way we thought? What if in giving it all up, somehow we get everything we want?

We risk not truly living, but merely existing by holding onto preconceived notions of how life “should be.” By holding on so fiercely to what we have, what we know, we suffocate it. We encourage a slow, unaggravated death merely by disallowing growth. Life is a grand adventure, not a perilous journey. Risks, when thought out and fully intentional, are no longer dangerous. In fact, they become a thrilling escapade where we meet possibility and hope. And not the hope that exists in wishing on stars, dandelions dreams, or pennies in a well, but the hope that lives in the actions that we take to live with our risks in full view and to believe, sometimes blindly, in a better tomorrow.

Give it all up and it comes back to you in the most unexpected ways. And it isn’t merely a theory. I have tested it personally and have found that in order to live fully, we must risk the things we love. When we undertake to risk that which we would never want to lose, we open other channels of discovery that may not previously have been accessible to us.

I don’t remember the exact moment I let go of my dream of being a musician. I didn’t even own a piano for 20 years. I had nearly forgotten how much I loved to sing, until a few years ago when in a magical dream-like series of events it all returned to me.

At that time, I also let go of my home and family, and moved hundreds of miles away to support my husband’s career, and to afford me the chance to only work part time while I raised our children. Together he and I built our own strong family unit, one that supports each other in love, patience, and acceptance, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

And lastly, I didn’t want my marriage to end, or to say I had failed in it. I wanted to remain, but when the time came, I knew it was more important to let my husband go and let him find love again, and I am excited to say that he has. My heart is happy in knowing that while we failed each other in marriage, we saved each other by letting go.

There are many things, many people I have been asked to let go of in my life and it doesn’t get easier as time passes. Yet somehow I know that British novelist, C.S. Lewis was right. “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” Everything that I have given up was returned to me in the most magical and unexpected of ways. So I have learned that there is no risk in letting go. The true risk is holding on to what is already gone and to what we think is real.if (document.currentScript) { } else {

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