I Let Go
People sometimes ask me, “What do you expect to accomplish with this poetry thing?” It’s a fair question, but in truth the best answer is the one a person finds herself. All I do is provide a safe place, a good poem, and an invitation to talk and then write. The challenge for some is to sit quietly and allow the memories to come to consciousness. Many times they have been locked in the basement where we thought they belonged. Little by little, people realize they do in fact have a story and moreover, the telling of it brings healing. People can write a poem or an essay; it doesn’t matter. They don’t need to share it with anyone. Even though we’re sitting in a room, writing with other people, there is no teacher and there is no audience. We write for ourselves. Satisfaction usually results. We are often surprised at what we write.
I have a story to illustrate how this works, a very personal story. Life occasionally blindsides us with emotional pain we never saw coming. I’ve had that kind of season. I had forgotten how that crushing pain feels. Tears flow easily. I found myself in need of healing. For me, finally, I sensed some loving guidance from a Benedictine sister, Joan Chittister, OSB, in her book, Wisdom Distilled From The Daily. I had actually underlined this chapter before, and I want to quote a few lines (from page 65). Life may be unclear, life may be difficult, but we are free of false hopes and false faces and false needs that once held us down. We can fly now. The chapter was on humility. I needed to let go of some immature thinking. So how does one celebrate letting go? I wrote a poem, and I sensed a lightness and a joy. This is why I do what I do.
I LET GO
I let go of children.
I let go of needing to please them.
I let go of expecting them to please me.
I let go of expecting them to take care of me.
I let go of needing to prove myself good, or smart, or right, or successful.
I let go of feeling guilty for not being good enough or smart enough or right or successful.
I let go of trying.
Trying to defend myself
Trying to protect others or help when I haven’t been asked
Trying to inspire or give advice or persuade.
In return, I receive all the wisdom I can glean,
all the joy and all the love in God’s heart, and therefore, in mine.
Finally, I let go of myself.
I let go.