Quotes for
the Journey:

Letting Go

Trying creates impossibilities,
letting go creates what is desired.

Stalking Wolf, Apache elder


Once we see that everything is impermanent and ungraspable and that we create a huge amount of suffering if we are attached to things staying the same, we realize that relaxing and letting go is a wiser way to live.  Letting go does not mean not caring about things.  It means caring about them in a flexible and wise way.        -Jack Kornfield


Our fear is even stronger when we think we are responsible for others--our children, for example.  We want to spare them pain, and so we forget to listen to the Sound of Creation.  No one learns from someone else's mistake.  If we respect others, we must recognize that they have a right to their own dance. Their own spirits will guide them.        -unattributed

The harder you fight to hold on to specific assumptions, the more likely there's gold in letting go of them.        -John Seely Brown

We find by losing.  We hold fast by letting go.  We become something new by ceasing to be something old.  This seems to be close to the heart of that mystery.  I know no more now than I ever did about the far side of death as the last letting-go of all, but now I know that I do not need to know, and that I do not need to be afraid of not knowing.  God knows.  That is all that matters.
-Frederick Buechner

We must learn to let go, to give up, to make room for the things we have prayed for and desired.         -Charles Fillmore
Every time you let go of something limiting, you create space for something better.         -Stephen C. Paul

Consider the trees which allow the birds to perch and fly away without either inviting them to stay or desiring them never to depart.  If your heart can be like this, you will be near to the way.        -Zen Buddhist teaching
One wears one's mind out in study, and yet has more mind with which to study.  One gives away one's heart in love and yet has more heart to give away.  One perishes out of pity for a suffering world, and is stronger therefore.  So, too, it is possible at one and the same time to hold on to life and let go.         -Milton Steinberg
You don't realize that if you stop looking backwards craving the love and acceptance which you didn't receive from your parents, then you might open your eyes to what is available for you now.  But you won't let go.  If only you could see that looking back into an incomplete and imperfect past, with regret, blame, guilt or resentment is keeping you from the treasures that await you here now.  The past has gone.  You cannot rectify something that is no longer with you.         -Leonard Jacobson
The greatest thing is, at any moment, to be willing to give up who we are in order to become all that we can be.
-Max De Pree
Today I am amazed at the things our children have done and their wide range of interests.  They are all living their lives and not the ones I would have planned for them.  But I have learned that their lives are theirs, not mine, and in living their own lives they have given me experiences and an education I would never have had if Iíd been fool enough to make them do what I thought they should do.         -Bernie Siegel
Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?         -Leo Buscaglia
The clouds above us come together and disperse; The breeze in the courtyard departs and returns.  Life is like that, so why not relax?  Who can keep us from celebrating?        -Lu-Yu
We believe that it is difficult to let go, but in truth, it is much more difficult and painful to hold and protect.  Reflect upon anything in your life that you grasp hold of--an opinion, a historical resentment, an ambition, or an unfulfilled fantasy.  Sense the tightness, fear, and defensiveness that surrounds the grasping.  It is a painful, anxious experience of unhappiness.  We do not let go in order to make ourselves impoverished or bereft.  We let go in order to discover happiness and peace.        -Christina Feldman

There are things that we never want to let go of, people we never want to leave behind. But keep in mind that letting go isnít the end of the world; itís the beginning of a new life.       -unattributed

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.         -Joseph Campbell
Letting go doesn't mean we don't care.  Letting go doesn't mean we shut down.  Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave.  It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment.  It means we stop trying to do the impossible--controlling that which we cannot--and instead, focus on what is possible--which usually means taking care of ourselves.  And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.         -Melody Beattie
The Tao Te Ching says, When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.  When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.  Have you ever struggled to find work or love, only to find them after you have given up?  This is the paradox of letting go.  Let go, in order to achieve.  Letting go is God's law.        -Mary Manin Morrissey
The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God.  What we try to keep for ourselves is just what we are sure to lose.        -C.S. Lewis


My father once told me of a trick question he used in a college class on forest fire control.  If there was a fire coming from a certain direction and wind was coming from another, what was the best thing to do?  The right answer was, "Run like hell and pray for rain," but few students ever got it.  So allow yourself the freedom of knowing there are times to bail out, quit, run, leave the struggle, and have more time for joy.         -Charlotte Davis Kasl
As I started to picture the trees in the storm, the answer began to dawn on me. The trees in the storm don't try to stand up straight and tall and erect.  They allow themselves to bend and be blown with the wind.  They understand the power of letting go.  Those trees and those branches that try too hard to stand up strong and straight are the ones that break.  Now is not the time for you to be strong, Julia, or you, too, will break.        -Julia Butterfly Hill
There's an important difference between giving up and letting go.         -Jessica Hatchigan
People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.  Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.       -Thich Nhat Hanh
"We hold fast by letting go."  Letting go of our attempts to control things, our attempts to maintain control over every aspect of our life.  We've all heard the saying about if we love something, we should let it go, and then we'll know whether it "belongs" to us when we see whether it comes back to us.  So much of our discontent and our dissatisfaction comes from our unwillingness to let go of trying to control things and trying to cause just the results that we think should occur.        -Tom Walsh
Healthy mysticism praises acts of letting go, of being emptied, of getting in touch with the space inside and expanding this until it merges with the space outside.  Space meeting space; empty pouring into empty.  Births happen from that encounter with emptiness, nothingness. . . . Let us not fight emptiness and nothingness, but allow it to penetrate us even as we penetrate it.       -Matthew Fox
I surrender my anxiety and my sense of urgency.  I allow God to guide me in the pacing of my life.  I open my heart to God's timing.  I release my deadlines, agendas, and stridency to the gentle yet often swift pacing of God.  As I open my heart to God's unfoldings, my heart attains peace.  As I relax into God's timing, my heart contains comfort.  As I allow God to set the tone and schedule of my days, I find myself in the right time and place, open and available to God's opportunities.        -Julia Cameron
To let go isn't to forget, not to think about, or ignore.  It doesn't leave feelings of anger, jealousy, or regret.  Letting go isn't about winning or losing.  It's not about pride and it's not about how you appear, and it's not obsessing or dwelling on the past.  Letting go isn't blocking memories or thinking sad thoughts, and it doesn't leave emptiness, hurt, or sadness.  It's not about giving in or giving up.  Letting go isn't about loss and it's not about defeat.  To let go is to cherish the memories, but to overcome and move on.  It is having an open mind and confidence in the future.  Letting go is learning and experiencing and growing.  To let go is to be thankful for the experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, and made you grow.  It's about all that you have, all that you had, and all that you will soon gain.  Letting go is having the courage to accept change, and the strength to keep moving.  Letting go is growing up.  It is realizing that the heart can sometimes be the most potent remedy.  To let go is to open a door, and to clear a path and set yourself free.         -unattributed
You hang on to the past hoping for what should have been but still isn't and never will be until you let go!
-Stephen C. Paul
In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you love?
How deeply did you learn to let go?

the Buddha
We need in love to practice only this:  letting each other go.  For holding on comes easily--we do not need to learn it.        -Rainer Maria Rilke

On Letting Go
Robert Paul Gilles

To "let go" does not mean to stop caring. 
It means I can't do it for someone else.

To "let go" is not to cut myself off. 
It's the realization that I can't control another.

To "let go" is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another. 
It's to make the most of myself.

To "let go" is not to care for, but to care about.

To "let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To "let go" is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To "let go" is not to be in the middle, arranging all the outcomes, 
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To "let go" is not to deny, but to accept.

To "let go" is not to nag, scold, or argue, 
but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires, 
but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.

To "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

To "let go" is to fear less and to love more.
(from his book Thoughts of the dreampoet : vol. 1.)


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Let go a little to have a little peace.  Let go a lot to have a lot of peace.     -Achaan Chah
Are you holding on to something in your past?  Why not totally let go?  Letting go is difficult.  We resist change and want to hold on to the past.  We are afraid of the unknown.  Yet impermanence is a truth of life.  Change is a natural rhythm.     -Susan Santucci
Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get.  Life should be touched, not strangled.  Youíve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.     -Ray Bradbury
Letting go doesn't mean that you don't care about someone anymore.  It's just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.     -Deborah Reber, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking.     -Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are
The more you let go the more you accomplish.     -Stephen C. Paul, Inneractions
In examining our own lives, we might be able to spot the heavy weight of yesterday's deeds that we persist in carrying around with us.  We might be carrying bitterness and resentment because we may have felt betrayed by a friend.  We might be carrying anger and a feeling of injustice because we lost out on something we really wanted while someone else got it.  We might be carrying hurt feelings because someone we liked criticized us.  But continuing to carry harsh and negative feelings from the past can be like picking up a pebble in your shoe while you are out walking.  You can stop and remove the pebble, or you can continue to walk and let the pebble irritate your foot and cause pain.  The choice is yours.  You can release your anger and hurt feelings, just as you can remove the pebble from your shoe.     -John Marks Templeton, Worldwide Laws of Life
Periods of change are full of paradoxes.  They're difficult but exciting, frightening but freeing.  Letting go of old patterns that no longer work for us is exhilarating.     -Sue Patton Thoele
Forgiveness and the release of the past open the creative flow of life, supporting all levels of mind, heart, body, emotion, and spirit.  This energy flow determines the state of our health, our desire to create and procreate, our willingness to develop our gifts, and how we use or deny the life force that we are given as human beings. . . . by choosing to let go of the past, our fears, and our negative patterns or reactions to life, we are suddenly funded with a resurgence of life force, which propels us into a newfound way of being and a very different way of understanding the world.     -Jamie Sams

Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival.  Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.     -May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude
We have come to look upon life as a conflict with death--the intruding enemy, not the natural ending--in impotent quarrel with which we spend every stage of it.  When the time comes for youth to depart, we would hold it back by main force.  When the fervor of desire slackens, we would revive it with fresh fuel of our own devising.  When our sense organs weaken, we urge them to keep up their efforts.  Even when our grip has relaxed we are reluctant to give up possession.  We are not trained to recognize the inevitable as natural, and so cannot give up gracefully that which has to go, but needs must wait till it is snatched from us.  The truth comes as conqueror only because we have lost the art of receiving it as guest.     -Rabindranath Tagore

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