Letting go creates both physical and emotional space. It also encourages growth. When we allow our unwanted belongings to be released, our spaces become less cluttered. In turn, we feel more supported being surrounded only by things that are beautiful, useful and meaningful. We experience less stress. When we let go of ideas that don’t serve us well we allow space for clarity and growth.
There is also the letting go we experience as parents. It seems like moments ago when our youngest daughter, Cassie, was getting ready to leave for her freshman year of college. As I was grappling with becoming an empty-nester and realizing that life as we knew it was about to change, I started reading the book, Letting Go – A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger. I thought it might provide some comfort and insight into this new experience. Cassie saw the book on my nightstand and asked me why I was reading it. Or in her words, “What’s up with this, Mom?” I explained that her going to college was a significant change in our lives and that reading the book might help me better understand this new stage. She responded, “Why do you have to let go? College is just borrowing me for a bit.”
To some degree, she was right. Very soon, she will return home for the summer. So, in a sense, college did just “borrow” her for many months. But I realize that letting go didn’t mean cutting all ties as she was thinking about. Instead, it meant letting go of the dynamic that had existed, being open to this shift, stepping back enough to give Cassie more independence and embracing a new stage of our lives. It has been an amazing year. I’ve watched her grow as she’s taken charge of her life and college experience. I too have experienced growth as I’ve pursued new projects, pushed myself beyond my comfort zone and nurtured relationships with family and friends.
If you are grappling with letting go, whether it’s clothing, papers, memorabilia or children, recognize that it might be uncomfortable as you shift from what you know towards a new dynamic. That discomfort is a necessary part of the process. Growth and clarity is waiting for you on the other side of the uncomfortable. Be open. Let go. Embrace your growth.