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« 8 Helpful Tips for Letting Go More Easily | How to Use Two Simple Concepts That Will Improve Your Perspective About Next »

What is the Powerful Significance Between Next Steps and Letting Go?


Here we are now. Spring is officially arriving this week. You may be sensing rumblings within as you notice nature changing around you. You might be poised and at the brink of wanting to take your next small step towards a new or current goal. You might also be feeling anxious, ambivalent, fearful, excited, ready or not. When I help others to organize and find balance during times of transition and change those next steps are crucial. Taking one tiny stride after another propels us ahead.

Over the 26 plus years I’ve been organizing, I’ve observed that the critical ingredient for next, as the condiment of life, is the ability to let go. Without releasing, there will be no forward movement. Letting go doesn’t happen overnight. We need to exercise our letting go muscles by starting small. This strengthens our tolerance while building confidence. It’s essential to release the “stuff” of life (physical and emotional) that won’t be useful to you on this part of your journey.  

Consider next steps and letting go as a beautiful, poignant dance between the heart, mind, and body.

As many of you know, I have a daily mindfulness meditation practice. I like to work with guided meditations led by various practitioners. One of the teachers I listen to on the Insight Timer app is Annemaree Rowley from Australia. One of my favorite teachings of hers is the “Letting Go Meditation.” At the end of the practice, she shares a profound poem by the poet, Erin Hanson about letting go. I love the message and I hope that it will also resonate with you.


I was the type of person,

That held onto things too tight,

Unable to release my grip,

When it no longer felt right,

And although it gave me blisters,

And my fingers would all ache,

I always thought that holding on,

Was worth the pain it takes.


I used to think in losing things,

I’d lose part of me too,

That slowly I’d become someone,

My heart no longer knew.


Then one day something happened,

I dropped what I had once held dear,

But my soul became much lighter,

Instead of filled with fear.


And it taught my heart that some things,

Aren’t meant to last for long,

They arrive to teach you lessons,

And then continue on.


You don’t have to cling to people,

Who no longer make you smile,

Or do something you’ve come to hate,

If it isn’t worth your while.


That sometimes the thing you’re fighting for,

Isn’t worth the cost,

And not everything you ever lose,

Is bound to be a loss.


- e.h.


What have you experienced about next steps and letting go? Did any phrases from Erin Hanson’s poem spark an idea? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I invite you to join the conversation.





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Reader Comments (22)

This is a powerful poem, Linda. I love the message that somethings are not meant to stay and that when you find the resolve within yourself to let go you feel lighter and do not notice the loss. I also love your reference to dance - that letting go is a dance between the heart, mind, and body. My dance partner sometimes tells me to dance without thinking about the steps - just feel the music and dance with my heart. Maybe letting go can be listening to your heart instead of over analyzing with your mind.

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

Oh my goodness, I love this poem! I think I will share this with the group of seniors I am speaking with on Thursday. Powerful!I was thinking about your comment about needing to release in order to have forward movement, and this is just so true. I need to make space, physically, spiritually and mentally, for something new to come in. I recently said, "No" to a couple of requests I had received to be involved in things. Both of them were good causes, and part of me wanted to say yes. But there was a nagging feeling that I need to keep myself open because something else is going to come up that I need to be available for. I don't know yet what that will be, but I was feeling the nudge to keep some free space so I will be ready.

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Thank you for sharing this poem and the very thoughtful blog. I love the line "But my soul became much lighter, Instead of filled with fear." Fear is such a big barrier to my clients. I also love the image of blisters.

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Stobbe

What a powerful poem, Linda! Thank you for sharing it. Letting go isn't just about letting go of stuff like this poem states. There are so many other areas we should revisit and examine to see if it is bringing forward our best selves. The trick is to take the time on a regular basis to determine what is working and not working for us and not judging the process.

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

What a great poem! This part stood out for me:

... some things,
Aren’t meant to last for long,
They arrive to teach you lessons,
And then continue on.

because it reminds me of another poem (author unknown):

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

LOVE the poem, and had never seen it before. Thanks for sharing it, Linda! I think MANY of the things we fight to hold on to are not worth the cost, if only we take the time to consider ALL the costs (time, space, money, energy, relationships).

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHazel Thornton

@Diane- I'm so glad you found meaning in the poem. It's one of my favorites and so relevant to the work we do, and for us personally too. I love what you shared about dancing with your partner and being encouraged to "feel" the music. There's something quite magical and freeing about letting go enough to sense from within.

March 18, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Seana- It's a powerful poem, and I'm so happy that you love it too. Good luck with your presentation on Thursday. How wonderful that you'll share the poem with them. I love how you're listening to your inner voice and leaving space to be ready and open when it comes along. How wise you are to say "no" to those things that aren't quite right. I wish you all the best as you ready yourself for next.

March 18, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Julie- You're most welcome. I appreciate you stopping by to join the conversation. You picked out one of my favorite lines. It's the icing on the cake line, the payoff of what we can experience when we're willing to let go. The blisters imagery highlights so well the pain part of holding on so tightly.

March 18, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Sabrina- I was happy to share the poem and am so glad that it is resonating with everyone. You bring up such an essential point about setting aside time to take stock. Look at what is working or not in a non-judgmental way. When we allow the space to do that, it can make releasing happen more gently.

March 18, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Janet- Thank YOU for sharing your beautiful and relevant poem. There are people that grace our lives for just a short time, yet their presence lasts beyond the time we've had with them. I think about all of the family, friends, colleagues, and clients that have died. A piece of them remains in my heart and in all of the beautiful memories I hold dear.

March 18, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Hazel- This was new to me, and I'm so grateful to Annemarie Rowley for introducing it to me during her meditation. I frequently return to the poem and that meditation. You've described the various "costs" of holding on so perfectly- time, space, money, energy, relationships. Also true is how we can keep a tight grip on those things because our fear of letting go feels so painful. But when we allow ourselves to loosen those fingers, incredibly good things can happen.

March 18, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

What a beautiful poem--and it rhymes, too! I think I'm going to keep it 'in my back pocket' for the next time I am working with a client who is having trouble 'letting go.' "The critical ingredient of next is letting go"--I've never thought of it but it's true. We can't move forward if we're holding onto people, objects or memories that no longer serve us. Thanks for sharing the poem and wisdom! #babysteps

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Agin Murray

@Stacey- Thank you. Erin Hanson gets right to the heart of letting go. I love that you're going to keep it inspire clients that are experiencing some challenges around releasing. There are times when we straddle the past and present while trying to head toward the future. That's stressful. When we're finally ready to move that back foot up and over, things begin to flow more smoothly. With time and patience, it is possible.

March 19, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thank you for sharing this powerful poem. I too will share this at a presentation I'm giving at a senior community. I often hear my senior clients say they feel they will be forgotten if they let go of their things that represent who they think they are. I believe the author states that feeling similarly in this stance:
I used to think in losing things,
I’d lose part of me too,
That slowly I’d become someone,
My heart no longer knew.

March 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Blumer

@Anne- You're most welcome. I'm so happy to know that the poem will be helpful for your upcoming presentation. It makes my heart ache to read those words your senior clients have expressed about how "they will be forgotten if they let go of their things that represent who they think they are." Those thoughts are mirrored in Erin Hanson's poem, as you pulled out. While I understand those feelings, I also have experienced the way our deceased loved ones stay with us, transcending their stuff. They remain in my heart and thoughts. But as we know, that doesn't necessarily make it any easier to part with our belongings, especially we feel they define who we are or hold other special memories for us. I wish you all the best with your presentation.

March 19, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Lovely poem. Letting go is so important to move forward. There is another quote I like. It goes something like, "how will you grab opportunity if your hands are already full of stuff?"

March 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Schiesl

@Janet S.- What a terrific quote! And how true that is. Letting go gets us poised and ready for opportunities.

March 20, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

There's a significance between letting go and letting in. When you let go, the universe shifts and you are ready and open. It's powerful!

March 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

I'm in love with that poem just like everyone else! It's such a good reminder that some things, emotions, or even people can take up space in hearts and lives for a time. And, when that time's up, it's okay to let them go. Simple yet profound. Thanks for sharing.

March 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDeb Lee

@Ellen- I like the connection you make between letting go and letting in. I agree that incredible things begin to happen when we're willing to lessen our grip.

March 21, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Deb- It makes me happy to see how many people loved this poem. It's our kind of poetry. So many of us have challenges around letting go. It might be over different aspects, but it's there. Experiencing that other side when we choose to release is quite something. I love watching this with my clients. Resistance turns into release. And when that happens, they can more easily move towards what they want or how they want their lives to be.

March 21, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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