The Art of Letting Go

Hanging on my wall I have a quote by Buddha. It goes something along the lines of “In the end, what matters most is how well did you live? How well did you love? How well did you learn to let go?”


I loved this quote enough to buy it and hang it on my wall, but I have never really got it.  It has niggled at me, I’ve always felt the meaning was there and I was missing it. Initially I thought it meant letting go of past lovers and past experiences. But recently, my life has taken a few unexpected twists and turns, and this simple saying has come into much sharper focus. I can feel my mind finally turning the corner and starting to grasp at the coat tails of this vast message. How well did you learn to let go? Let go…

Being a type A, perfectionist, control freak, micromanager in nature, letting go is not something I do easily without desire and intent. If I want to let something go, it’s gone. But when it comes to things I can’t control, such as other people, life direction and unforseen circumstances, well then I have a whole lot of trouble. I tend to stress, worry, over analyse, hypothesize, over think and basically drive myself up the wall with all the what ifs, ands, or buts.

But things happen. People surprise you. Unforseen events occur. And I realised by beating myself up about these uncontrollable events, I was desperately, breathlessly, pointlessly holding on to things that were never mine to grasp. I realized I had to learn to let go. Not just to past lovers or past experiences, but to all the things in my life that I have no control over. So for me, when I look at that quote now, I see a whole lot of subtext underneath each simple line.

“In the end, what matters most is how well did you live?”

Truly LIVE, every moment, every day, ever breath. Living is a whole lot more than existing, and with each breath we take we live a moment never to be lived again. Make it count.

“How well did you love?”

Love EVERYTHING! Madly, truly, passionately, with your whole heart, as best as you can. Love the sunrise, and the clouds and the annoying people next door, and the barking dog and your friends, your partner and YOURSELF; just the way you are, above all else.

“And how well did you learn to let go?”

Of control, of direction, of the plan you made up in your mind, of your rules, of the “truths” you know, of the beliefs you’ve been given, of everything you struggle to hold.

And with this will come release. The weight will be lifted. And when you let go, you might surprise yourself, stop drowning, and start to float.