Letting Go and Going with the Flow . . .

Years ago, when I was in a 12-Step Program, I was introduced to an incredible book titled "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie. There is a passage for each day of the year. I was flipping thru the book today and re-read several passages that I have flagged over the years. I'm going to share them here occasionally. This one is for July 27th:
Stop trying so hard to control things. It is not our job to control people,outcomes, circumstances, life.

Maybe in the past we couldn't trust and let things happen. But we can now.

The way life is unfolding is good. Let it unfold.

Stop trying so hard to do better, be better, be more.
Who we are and the way we do things is good enough for today.

Who we were and the way we did things yesterday was good enough for that day.

Ease up on ourselves. Let go. Stop trying so hard.

I received an email today that wanted me to answer a lot of questions about myself. I used to not fill these things out because I didn't quite know how to do the whole "cut and paste" thing. I know how to do it now although I think I may have cut and pasted my response one too many times for this one. Oh well. Anyway, there was a question that asked what day I was looking forward to. My answer was "August 1st because we go to the beach for 8 days but normally I like to take life one day at a time." That answer is how I've been living my life for almost 4 years now. I had always loved the programism (a word I made up I think) "One Day at a Time" and liked to think that I lived that way but it wasn't until my first husband passed away that I really started living that way.I remember sitting in TGI Friday's in the mall about a month or two after John had passed. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I was having lunch with a bunch of girlfriends. I had been meeting them most Wednesdays for a couple of years at that point. We always had a good time and lots of laughs and bitched about our husbands and made plans for our annual girls' weekend. Each year we picked a different place to go to for a long weekend away. One year it was the Red Door Salon in Manhattan. Another year it was Amish Country in PA. Another year we took a train to Boston. We also got to see Oprah and Dr. Phil during those years. Oprah is the reason I haven't smoked a cigarette in six years and can't imagine ever doing it again. But that's another story. So on this particular day in Friday's I was listening to the girls talking about their renovations going on in their homes, bitching about their husbands, problems at work and making plans for all of the families to get together to go away on a Disney Cruise in three years. These were all things that I could have related to before John's death but, at that moment, felt so far removed from that I wanted to stand up, grab my coat and purse and just walk away. I had no "outside the home" job to talk about, I had no husband to talk about and renovating my home was the farthest thing from my mind. But what bothered me the most about the conversation was that everyone was planning for something three years down the road. At that point, I couldn't plan for the next day. I didn't want to plan for the next day. I had to live in that moment and in that moment alone. As long as I did that and didn't think about the overwhelming loss the boys and I had just been thru I was okay. My boys found their strength thru me. I'm not saying that to blow my own horn. It's just how it was. That was the last day I ever met those girls for lunch. I'll always love them but I'm very different than I was back then.

During this time, I also had a friend that I would have considered a close friend although she had a tendency to annoy the crap out of me at times. She is the epitome of an adult child of an alcoholic. She had to control everything. Among other things, let's just say we had extremely different parenting skills and my heart went out to her children. I would see her in passing and mention that it would be nice to get the boys together and by the time I got home there was already a message from her giving me every day and time that she was available. I am not a planner. I am a "fly by the seat of my pants" kinda gal. The straw for me was when she repeatedly told me that I should bring a sweater with me for the walk to Trevor's school because it was getting chilly outside. I would tell her I was fine without a sweater and she would still insist. I think she got the hint when my tone changed after the third time. Mind you, we were only walking down the path to the school for Family Bingo Night. Mind you, one mother is enough for me.

There is a part of me that would definitely like to be more structured and organized. A part of me that wishes I didn't procrastinate. A part of me that wishes I could continue something until it's finished. These are just a few of my character defects that I struggle with. From a psychological point of view, it is said that if you continue to do something even though it makes you uncomfortable then it must be working for you on some level. That's always been the great mystery to me. Why do I continue to do these things even though I dislike them about myself? I think that is what drew me to the quote at the beginning of this blog. Why can't we, in our society, see ourselves as good enough the way we are? Why can't we ease up on ourselves, let go and stop trying so hard?

In spite of the above mentioned defects in character, I am more comfortable with myself and love myself more now than at any other time in my life. My friend, Kim, told me that her 40's were when she really came into her own. There is more of an awareness at this age, at least for me, that we are not the ones driving the car. We are just the passengers. We are just along for the ride. The more we try to steer the less control we have. We plan and God laughs. This reminds me of another quote that I've heard many times. Something to the effect of God's plans for us being so much greater then we could ever dream for ourselves. Trust and allow, my friends. Trust and allow.

Many blessings ~ Wendy


Kimmy Words said...

This is one of the most profound things you have ever written. I know where it's coming from and how it is being presented. The power of your words never ceases to amaze me. Have you ever considered becoming a minister? For real Wendy, for real...

Kathy said...


Ele at abitofpinkheaven said...

This is a wonderful post. I too wish everyone would just "stop" at times and enjoy the very day God has given us. Smile, love, and be thankful for now. Don't wish for the future. The future is today. Thanks! so glad I bought something from you. It led me to your blog!