“Letting go is a death to holding on.”


When we have stayed still longer than is comfortable, when the chafe of life wears a ringing in our ears from listening too hard, too focused. When we have sat on our hands instead of deciding, as if the decision is out there, something external pulling it into existence, always a few steps ahead, the carrot chase of it a constant question. When we have asked and asked, when will it be time, the answer is, ‘when you let go’.

Letting go let’s go of the one who holds on. The one who tries one more way, studies one more skill, thinks about how to work this better, figure it out, succeed. It’s letting go of the one who talks it out, who brings it to trusted friends and mentors, who thinks that hanging on means being there when the secret is revealed, the thing that solves it all.

Here is the secret; move when life moves you, stop listening to anything except the song singing you forward. Stand up. Know it is not out there, it is right here, and the time is when you say it is.

We have never wanted to go to bed before the show ends, we want to see how it turns out. We have believed the show is being written for us, a cliffhanger of what is coming, and we don’t want to miss it, as if the prize only given to those in attendance.

To chase the carrot on the end of the illusory stick, to wait for an ending written by another storyteller, is to be forever focused on something that does not belong to you. It was never yours, it was just trying to get you to live poised and hungry.

Letting go gives you hands free to till and plant and harvest, to be green from pulling weeds, not white from holding still.


There used to be a time, when some of us of a certain time, moved away from home, and called collect. There were operators then, mostly women in my memory, who would come on the line when you dialed 0, asking what you needed. A collect call, please. Connecting the call the operator waited while you listened in; a collect call, do you accept the charges? Once there was a yes, the line was open for the conversation and the operator left the call.

There is a time, for those of us from a certain time, when we stopped calling collect, and called direct. Our own phone, with our own long distance plan, and a way to pay the phone bill. That same time would find us talking about what we were doing, or going to do, instead of asking what we should do.

The shift from child to adult is the difference between paying the bill, or calling and expecting someone else to pay it. A way forward where the road becomes our own, and the way to get where we want paved by our answers instead of our questions. This same shift happens well into adulthood, when we have replaced or added to our parents other calls; to friends, work mates, siblings—what should I do, when should I leave, what will happen to me?

I wonder sometimes if those are all the ways we still call collect, still wait on the line while someone accepts the charges, the person on the other end paying for our unanswered questions, accepting the charge of our blame or disappointment when they give us advice we didn’t like, or don’t want to follow; when we don’t know how to stop asking.

What does it mean to call direct? To me it means to pay our own way with no operator interfering. It means to make the calls we can afford, and leave the phone in it’s cradle when we are growing from our question to our answer. It means picking up the phone when there is nothing expected except connection.


When you leave something, anything, anyone, there isn’t a replacement for the space it left for the first while. Habits, movements, settlings are upended when the space that holds them dissipates. The beliefs I held for so many years were gone in a two week period of tightening questions and unbelievable intuition. I hadn’t looked up from the race in so long I didn’t understand why it was over, the finish line taken down before I crossed. No chance now for redemption, resolution, my endless repenting had nowhere to go.

Every leaving is an empty boat, you want others with you, talking them into sailing along to that thin blue horizon of being over it. You call, convince, cajole for company, agreement; shoulders and sharp knees bent on the bench scooping out water taken on by the endless circling of no one else paddling. It takes some time to understand that no one else can. This is a boat for one, in water made by what you wanted for yourself, before you changed your mind.

It is interesting to me now how many times I have left something, anything, anyone, and had to change all of our minds, all the minds of everyone I talked to, knew, called. It wasn’t enough that I wanted to do something different, it had to be that we did. That there was agreement, validation, forgiveness before I did what I wanted to do from the moment I felt that adventure swelling.

I noticed even compliments often came with conditions of plausibility, the hair, dress, boots I dared to love worn to, ‘I could never wear that’. How many times this had stopped me from moving out of the homogeny I trended toward as I lived in Utah longer. The idea that something could be worn, said, tried if a bet could be wagered on shared consensus. The risk became more that the group was not suffering, I was; the unworn, unsaid, untried became like a winter bird scared away in the feeding of it.

This is a boat for one. To sail from one shore to the next is a lonely repeated trying. It is one next thing after another, insecure in the futured fog of unknowing. How much easier it has been to do what someone else wanted. To sift through the words, looks and needing of them, to row behind the wake of it. Always unsettled, it is at least not yours, and in many ways it is safer. There is hope in trying, always another chance to get it right, to please, to complete for someone else, eyes up to sense if it worked.

It doesn’t ever work, and it took me so long to know that. The path is lonely, not because it is, but because I didn’t know it could be. Freedom is rowing alone. I never realized when you need to take others with you it takes so much to explain and convince that the course you were going to take changes, it shifts with your turned head, words lost in the wind of where your boat was always trying to go.

The adventure lives in following your own way, not explaining it.