The Art of Letting Go

letting-go-balloons“Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us.” – Melody Beattie

My Buddhist teachers have taught me the art of letting go. I used to stubbornly cling to the way I wanted things to be. Even if I had no control over those things, I would stubbornly long for them. I would be miserable.

From Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hahn I learned that when we cling to the way we want things to be, we create suffering and unhappiness for ourselves. Letting go requires faith, maturity and wisdom.

This has been my biggest life lesson. To be very clear of what I do have control and what I do not. And to find a way to make peace with it.

I know for certain that I absolutely cannot control what other people think, say or how they behave. I cannot control the weather, the stock market, my heredity or natural disasters.

I do have control my thoughts, my behaviors and my actions. It is not always easy. It takes awareness on my part and perseverance. And practice.

I repeat to myself, “I surrender. I let go. I find peace in this situation.“ It helps to say that.

I am a work in progress. I am getting better and better at letting go. And when I do surrender it is pure joy. It feels like releasing hundreds of helium balloons into a pure blue sky. It is peace and love and wisdom and freedom all wrapped up in a beautiful, courageous package.

When I surrender I decide how I will be in this uncontrollable world. I very well may need to mourn it for a time. And I will. I can be of service to others. I can take a class in something I want to learn. I can write a poem. I can take up French cooking. I can model courage, tenacity, love.

Letting go frees up my energy to be present in the world: to be present to my family and friends and to myself.

Letting go of that which you cannot change requires learning to trust yourself and in a higher power, to focus on the positive, stay in the present moment, have no expectations that you cling to, accept what is and trust that everyone has their own journey and to love freely without judgment. This is true liberation.

Brenda Strausz is a holistic psychotherapist with a practice in the Metro Detroit area. She is an stress reduction expert and works with people at letting go of old baggage and living an authentic life. She can be reached at: or and Open to Joy.

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  1. Thanks! Good reminder

  2. Dearest Brenda—this hits me right between the eyes, and what a liberating feeling that brings.

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