Shake it Up Part 3: Letting Go

Written by: Barbara 

Take off was approaching and my second intention for the trip Down Under softly tapped my shoulder: “Let it go,” she whispered. 

I had to ask her to speak up a little louder please and remind me why she’s there.

Over the years, I’ve moved from one place to the next. Maybe this was to escape the process of fitting in and following the norm. Or maybe it was the desired propulsion from familiar to what I felt was exciting at the time. From a family farm house on a dead end street in Western Massachusetts to a boozy business school in Waltham. From a Nike Running tour van in Chicago and Austin to a runners-only house in the Bronx and multiple shared apartments in New York City. From a little cottage in Amherst with cigar-lit campfires to my own one bedroom on a tree-lined street in Minneapolis.  

Somewhere along the way, I got stuck in the story that I simply did not belong quite anywhere. 


Somewhere, I experienced loss and grief and heartache and disconnect. Somewhere along the way, I believed that I was simply meant to fly alone; or, at least, I was meant to weave my own nets— like an old country fisherman—and cast it out into the waves of my mind to catch blackened swarms of thoughts and stories. Watch them flap with fury on the dampness of my weathered boat. 

We all have attachments to archived stories that we believe to define us. Not good enough or smart enough, we say to ourselves. We might think (as I am guilty of) “I am not creative or wise or witty or funny.” Not destined for great things. Cannot possibly have ‘that’ life, whatever ‘that’ life may be. 

Stories full of the can nots and will nots and not enough's and someone else’s. 

That’s bullshit. 

I’m not sorry. It is. 

We are not defined by our stories: of our past, of our upbringing and conditioning, of the people who hurt us, of the regrets we hold onto. These stories can wash away with the tide, flowing onto our beaches like debris. We can choose to seek out a new resting place for them and we can choose their significance and meaning after all.  

Our lives are filled with meaning. Our lives are filled with love and new experiences and opportunity to face these old, worn out stories. And re-write them. I am slowly rewriting and editing my own. 

Boarding the plane is more ceremonious than a true catalyst for change. It is a ceremony of flying away from a tightened grip on scarred skin: the familiar world I created of what I experience, what I am fearful of is slowly unfurling its fingers. Of course, it can be difficult to shed what you’ve always worn as a protective garment. To bare one’s skin to the coolness of new arrival. 

Boarding the plane is a spiritual movement. This movement dances along to the tune of capability, belonging, self-forgiveness and creative fire, inner light and outer shine, and perpetual love of myself. 

So, there she is, the “letting go,” tapping my shoulder and beckoning me toward seat 67B. A subtle, soft whisper into my perked ear to allow her a place to stay. 

Or rather, allow her a place to go.