On Letting Go

Posted on January 26th, by mb in gratitude. 25 comments

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I lost my right wedge sandal on my first night of college after three too many Solo cups full of cheap beer.
I lost the phone number of my dreadlocked, heart-full-of-gold roommate almost immediately after our summer in London and have never found him again.
I lost my contacts in the Caribbean Sea.
I lost my grandmother, her hats, her books of rocks and birds and the smell of Carmex.
I lost my wedding ring but then I found it.

I let go of hundreds of coulda, woulda, shouldas.
I let go of the idea that there are things I must do. No need to stand awkwardly at a party when you’d rather go home and read.
I let go of relationships & friendships that always feel like swimming upstream. Exhausting.
I let go of the idea that my body is anything but perfect. After years and years of fighting it’s shape and curves, I shed some tears, ate a grilled cheese and never ever looked back.
I let go, and continue to, of the people who vex my spirit and make me feel tired.
I let go of doubt. I embrace trusting, laughing and drinking wine with people who feel right.
I let go of “I’ll be happy when ____”.
I let go of the idea that I’m going to be a runner. Or a surfer. It’s simply not happening, as much as I try.
I let go of feeling bad because I’m just not letting go enough.

I once tried to build a two-story lemonade stand on wheels and another time I attempted to knit a circus net that would catch me after I flew around the house several times impressing the neighbor kids. I was seven and convinced that I held as much magic as the world around me, skinned knees and all. I knew I could fly. I ended up on crutches most of that summer, unable to participate in games of tag and hide and seek. I sat on the porch swing, the very swing I launched myself from convinced I’d be lifted right into the bright blue sky, and called the neighbor kids names. That was the summer I first became aware that I could lose, and that there was a lot of “letting go” in life, that didn’t include leaping from the swing.

We lose and it hurts and we want it to stop. We learn to let go a little slower, with more grace. We stop building two-story lemonade stands, but if we’re lucky, a couple decades later we might pick it up again. We hold hands tightly, we sometimes hear last breaths, we sometimes dance til midnight.

We lose.
We let go.
We become lighter.
We learn to unfurl our wings, at first a bit matted and clumsy.
We keep moving toward the light til’ we do what we are born to.

“Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go.”
– Anais Nin

“But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly 
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.”
- Billy Collins, from the poem “On Turning Ten”


This post is part of the Let it Go Project: a collection of stories leading up to a beautiful releasing ritual, hosted by Sas Petherick on the 30th of January. All the details for this free event are over here — join us!

25 Responses to “On Letting Go”

  1. Analiese says:

    This is really beautiful Mary Beth. I love the rhythm of the first paragraph. Keep writing!

  2. Kelly says:

    What a lovely blog entry–my favorite thus far. Thanks for sharing this with all of us!

  3. patrice says:

    Mary Beth, Thank you for this – before reading it I was stressed out with all the things I felt like I “should” be doing today. After reading it, I feel content to be doing only the things that feel good. I needed this. Thank you for the reminder of self-acceptance.

  4. […] | Tanya Geisler | Meghan Genge | Mara Glatzel | Jo Hanlon-Moores | Marthe Hagen | Mary Beth La Rue | Rachel McDonald | Penny McKinley-Rogers | Vivienne McMaster | Renee Magnusson | Hannah […]

  5. Tamar says:

    Thanks for writing this, it’s stunning.

  6. dayana says:

    Beautiful post. Your a great writer! I just started reading our blog and am hooked. Loved the quote and the poem by Billy Collins.
    -Dayana :)

  7. Nicole says:

    Yes. I love this! I needed to hear this – I’m working through letting go of a lot. It hurts sometimes. Especially when it comes to letting go of friends who make you feel tired. And ideas you have held your whole life! Becoming lighter…
    Thanks Mary Beth xx

  8. Anjana says:

    So beautiful. I’m reading this on the perfect day. Thanks for sharing. :)

  9. Kaitlyn says:

    love this! i was smiling reading the whole time. I wrote a similar post with the same title, ironically, not too long ago. :)


  10. I want to to thank you for this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every bit
    of it. I have you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you post…

  11. Roger Wojahn says:

    Thank you for such a beautiful truthful and fluent reminder. I feel inspired to let go of all kinds of things now! Miss you Mary Beth!

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