Letting Go … what it looks like

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“Let go or be dragged.” Zen Proverb

In my last blog post, “Arguing and Bargaining with God … again,” I wrote about fighting with God about our son’s diagnosis and surgery versus doing what God asked, which was to let go.

A friend commented on my post, “I think I struggle most with the practical. I don’t know what ‘letting go’ looks like whereas I know what doing something, bargaining, worrying, etc. look like.”

I wondered if the reason I wrangled with letting go was the same as hers – I don’t know what letting go looks like. Busyness, bargaining, and worry had taken on lives of their own, but not letting go … even though I was genuine about wanting to do it.

Busying myself looked like starting laundry at noon, finishing at 4, and having little recollection of what I had done for four hours. I did, however, recollect a lot of pacing and very little writing because I wouldn’t sit still.

Bargaining looked like eating Reese’s Cups while telling myself, “No more chocolate.” I figured until God stepped up and gave me what I wanted, I’d binge on sugar instead of doing what he asked.

Worrying looked like scrolling Facebook for three hours to distract myself and, just to worry myself more, clicking on sites that updated unsettling news.

After this list, I have to admit I wanted “letting go” to look like a magic wand. In reality, though, it didn’t look like anything. I hadn’t practiced it enough to be able to picture it, not for stuff as emotional as this anyway.

As timing would have it, I had a month between our son’s diagnosis and his surgery, which meant I had to figure out how to handle 30 days of my life while not knowing how his life was going to turn out. Even though there’s always uncertainty, things like health scares heighten our senses.

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When my friend mentioned not knowing what letting go looked like, I knew I needed to find out and practice it. Here are the intentional actions I came up with that to me looked like letting go

  • I sat still. I wrote, read books, and talked to God.
  • I exercised and cleaned, in place of obsessing and talking non-stop, to release nervous energy that in turn helped release a little bit of the thing I wanted to let go. My husband knows I “rage clean” and to stay out of the way while I’m vacuuming like my life depends on it. Sometimes it does.
  • I asked myself, “If I take fear out of the equation, what would I do?” I journaled about what I’d let go of if I subtracted fear and what I’d put in its place if I wasn’t so afraid.
  • I lived my life. I looked around to see if there were things I put off because I was focusing on someone else. I tend to justify, “Of course I can’t focus on my own life. Who wouldn’t be distracted during a time like this?” Living my life – writing a blog post, taking a daytrip, and signing up for a watercolor class – is the solution.
  • I intentionally put space between the thing I was trying to let go of and me. I pictured our son’s surgery and its outcome with God. I stopped talking about it. Stopped trying to figure it out. Stopped making phone calls and lists about it. Stopped researching it. Instead of acting frantic, I took walks and baths.

My description of letting go sounds near perfect, doesn’t it? Be glad you weren’t here for the fall out. There were tears and ugly words and phone calls anyway and too much talking even though I said I stopped. I tore out the page from my journal and shredded it. I jumped up every five minutes even though I called it sitting still.

Although I have a ways to go, I’m happy to have a “face” for letting go. Writing down what I practiced helps put action to the adage. I hope it helps you too.

In This Together,
Kim

P.S. To everyone praying for our son and the rest of our family, there aren’t enough grateful words to express how we feel right now. He’s come through surgery and he and his wife are staying overnight at the hospital. We’re headed to their home tomorrow. Thank you! xoxox

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15 responses »

  1. Prayers will continue, Kim.

    For what it’s worth, one part o letting go for me has been to disconnect from daily ‘fix’ of news. I stopped checking Fox and CNN, and found that the simple act of stepping back had ripples in the rest of my life; I was more at peace, not worrying about things over which I had absolutely zero control.

    People have told me that it’s bad to be uninformed, but I think it’s worse to pretend that your feelings have an influence on what’s happening a continent or a world away, and thereby ruin your own todays.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/03/your-dying-spouse-288-being-ok-with.html

    • We all appreciate your prayers, Andrew. Thank you.

      That’s a great piece of advice that I’ve practiced for years unless I’m feeling out of kilter (the very time I DON’T need to read that junk) and that’s when I dive in. It’s like a moth to fire. Lent is helping since I’m committed for 40 days to stay off some people’s pages who post that sort of thing. But, still, what’s up with being so self destructive? It helps a lot to share since it’s like I’m coming out of the closet with bad habits. It’s makes them harder to keep up … a good thing.

      Thanks for hanging around for my true confessions. 😉

      Btw, I’ve been told that same thing about being uninformed. I’m using your line next time.

  2. Dear Kim, I didn’t realize until this post that your son was the person you alluded to in your previous blog. I also have a son whose life is out of my control, and possibly out of his control as well.

    Though the struggles are different, we share the need to love them, but draw healthy lines so that our love doesn’t become an attachment that is destructive. My prayers are with you and I encourage you to look for the good that will accompany you (and him) along the way in this chapter. It will be there if you wait expectantly for God to show you.

    I had to give my son to God’s care. I can’t fix what needs to be fixed. I’m pretty sure my son can’t fix it unless God has His way with him. So now I am waiting expectantly to see what miracle God will perform.

    Some days I am better at waiting than others. Walking my dog has become an opportunity to talk to God and in her joyful experience of the simplest things, I’m reminded that everything has not been lost and there is still lots of joy to be had despite the circumstances.

    If you’d like to get together for a walk on the Meher Center one of these days, it’s a beautiful place to abide a while. Have you ever visited?

    Lots of love and prayers for your son’s healing and your peace, Rebecca Z Artist, Instructor Website: http://www.artmyrtlebeach.com/

    843-450-2307 Schedule a class with me via this link: https://calendly.com/rzdybel

    Share love, Spread Light, DO ART! Give Back

    >

    • Oh, Rebeccca, I knew you said “with all I have going on” in your last comment, but I didn’t know what that meant. I just know we all have something we need to let go of, it’s part of life. And I love looking for the good in whatever happens. We’ve already been blessed more than we expected by our son’s situation.

      I’m not good at asking for help or letting people know what’s happening with our family (my friends say I should have been an actress), but it’s tiring to do life alone, so I’m happy to be opening up more. And I’m thankful for friends like you who also open up. The art class on Wednesday was so therapeutic. ❤ Thank you for that too.

      I'd love to take a walk and enjoy the center. I've never been, but I've heard it's beautiful. I have friends who are a part of the community.

      Thank you for being an inspiration throughout all of my letting gos!

      Love and prayers for you and your son too …

  3. Kim, I am continuing to pray for Rusty and all of you. Please keep us updated. And now for my comment: I replace “letting go and letting God” with busyness too. I can’t be still long enough to let God take over. I will start using your steps. I love you!

    • Hi Peggy, thanks so much for stopping by to comment with all you have going on yourself. You’re in my prayers often. I think about your every day and hope you’re doing okay. I’m so happy you’re with Kaye. ❤

      Letting go is a wonderful solution except it's so hard to do. I hope the steps help. You may need to remind me of them. 😉 I love you lots!

  4. OMG, Kim! I just read your last two posts, and among other things, I found a professional connection between us in real life: “…teaching felt suffocating. I’d feel sick on Sunday nights and shake on Monday mornings when I’d try to put the key in the doorknob to unlock my classroom. I dreaded every faculty meeting and felt overwhelmed by every extra duty. I knew my resignation was overdue, but I wouldn’t quit.” When I let go of full-time teaching, life got oh-so-much better!

    The “other things” are the spiritual connections. I’m so sorry about your son, and I’ll be adding all of your family to my prayers. Your feelings as his mom are more than I can imagine. Casting Crowns’ song “Just Be Held” has a beautiful way of wording the idea of letting go; just be held. For you I am playing this song and praying it will comfort your heart. Hugs, Natine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZitK6_IMQ

    • Natine, my life too!!! ❤ I was so grateful the day I walked out of my classroom for the last time. You and I may have messaged about it, but, if so, I didn't remember you taught. I'm not sure why I ever thought it was a good idea since I'm introverted and it was exhausting to have 30 children calling my name all day long. Since then, I've worked quiet jobs.

      Thanks so much for your kind words for our family. My husband and I are at our son's house in NY now. It's nice to spend time with him and his wife and see for ourselves how he's doing. I hope I can play the song here. If not, it'll be one of the first things I do at home. I love Casting Crowns.

      Thanks for your support. I appreciate our friendship and our spiritual connections. ❤ Lots of love, Kim

  5. Kim, I understand completely! Years ago, a cat scan ordered by Dr Clayton revealed “something”on your brain (Clayton’s words). For the next week I made all sorts of deals with God. Finally I just turned it all over to God, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever done! It turns out I have an arachnid cyst (sounds like a spider, doesn’t it?) At least one good thing came out of my bargaining—I stopped smoking, so maybe that was just God’s way to get that to happen! Hope Rusty’s news was good!

    • I absolutely love your story, Billie Ann. ❤ I didn't know you had been through that, and how scary! Yeah, it does sound like a spider. I need a crash course (again) on letting go, but I can tell I've made progress from years ago when I would put my life on hold and wring my hands during events that were a lot less intense than this one.

      I'm happy you stopped smoking … that is no easy feat either. Kind of like letting go. 🙂

      Thanks for the well wishes. We're hoping to hear positive biopsy results soon.

  6. Letting go means getting out of the place you should never have been in the first place.
    We may not like what the neighbor’s lawn looks like but If we stay on our own property, we do not have to mow anything but our own lawn.

  7. From FB (Kim Henson) ~

    Louise Dash Allison, Tammy Tigner and 19 others

    Diane Wilson Dale You put the words to my fears…I really need to read this, this morning. Love you and still praying for you all!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 7:51am

    Kim Henson Diane Wilson Dale, I’m continuing to pray for y’all too. I’ve never been good at letting go, so I’m happy a friend’s comment gave me the chance to write about it. I love you! ❤ Thanks for reading and commenting.
    Like · Reply · March 28 at 12:47am

    Megan Hunt Dell Praying for Rusty and for you!

    Thank you for giving me an example of what "letting go" can look like 💜
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 8:49am

    Kim Henson Megan Hunt Dell, thanks for your comment on the last post. ❤ It made me question, "What does letting go look like?" which helped me put action behind the phrase "let go" since I knew I wanted to write about it. We can throw around words, yet have no idea how to implement them.
    Like · Reply · 1 · March 28 at 12:54am

    Patti Foxworth Hudson Powerful words. Continued prayers for all of you.
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 9:14am

    Kim Henson Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Patti Foxworth Hudson. ❤ I appreciate your prayers.
    Like · Reply · 1 · March 28 at 12:55am

    Delilah Lewis Kim I know what letting go of things. That was powerful words. Continued prayers for all of you. God is in control. Love you❤
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 9:16am

    Kim Henson I appreciate it, Delilah Lewis. I love you lots! ❤
    Like · Reply · March 28 at 12:55am

    Maria Franken Perfect blog for me… I've had a bunch going on and finally started letting go last week. I took long walks with Jane (included the pack a couple of times… of family/other dogs), I cleaned and organized, I put an emotional distance between me and stresses (tricky biz at work, but still managed it), and I focused on those that love and support me unconditionally. I also took proactive steps to perhaps change my working avenues (still in progress). I feel more lightness in my step, but I still have a way to go. I tend to let go by increments. ((giggles)) Thanks a bunch for this post… I'll think and consider how best to: “If I take fear out of the equation, what would I do?” question and get back to you on that one. 😉
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · March 26 at 11:33am · Edited

    Kim Henson I appreciate your comment, Maria Franken. ❤ It sounds like you took a lot of steps in a good direction. Walking is one of the main ways I clear my head so I can consider letting go and other self-caring choices. Thinking about what letting go looks like has kept me on my toes for a couple of weeks now. I'd like to hear about ways you're taking fear out to the equation. I know I'm too fearful and I'd hope to work toward a more courageous attitude the rest of this year. xoxo
    Like · Reply · March 28 at 1:03am · Edited

    Maria Franken Kim – I'm still working through my fears…. And, maybe I just typed the key… "being willing to work through it." Let me think on it and see what God reveals to me, & I'll get back to you. 🙂
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · March 28 at 8:10am

    Kim Henson Maria Franken, I think that's it … work through it and walk through it. ❤
    Like · Reply · Just now

    Maria Franken ((Kim)) ❤
    Image may contain: text
    Unlike · Reply · 3 · March 25 at 2:49pm

    Kim Henson Maria Franken, I love the quote and the redbird. ❤ ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · March 28 at 1:03am

    Wanda Doyal First….
    So glad your baby boy is doing well….you all remain in my thoughts, prayers, and heart……See More
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · March 28 at 12:54am · Edited

    Kim Henson Thanks you, Wanda Doyal. Your friendship and prayers mean the world to me. ❤ Love you lots. xoxox
    Like · Reply · March 28 at 1:04am

    Wanda Doyal
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · March 28 at 1:05am

    Louise Dash Allison I have real issues with letting go. I can relate to the nervous anxiety manifested in rage cleaning. I also find my self frantically doing mindless things that require no concentration but distract my mind from the things I am having trouble dealing with…..scrolling through FB, playing solitaire, or any game I can play on 'auto pilot'. Continued prayers for you and your family.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · March 28 at 1:35am

    Kim Henson Thanks for the prayers, Louise Dash Allison. ❤ Our family is appreciative for praying friends like you. Each time I go through an anxious situation and it turns out okay, I promise myself I'll be more trusting next time and let go easier … and then I don't. I'm grateful I can write about it and hear from friends who relate.
    Like · Reply · 2 hrs · Edited

  8. From LinkedIn (Natalie Rakoci) ~

    Natalie Rakoci
    Realtor at MYRTLE BEACH REAL ESTATE – CENTURY 21 Broadhurst

    S. Kim Henson, Bravo Bravo Bravo! What an amazing and wonderful, heartfelt and from the gut honest article. Just love!

    Letting Go … what it looks like
    skimhenson.wordpress.com

    2 Likes

    S. Kim Henson
    Thank you so much, Natalie! Can you tell I seldom come to LinkedIn?

  9. Pingback: Get Out of the Car | S. Kim Henson ~ Getting Your Own Life While Loving the People In It

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