Memoir/Personal Essay

Letting Go

I am taking part in this new project on called 21.5.800. Participants write 800 words per day for the 21 days and do yoga for 5 out of each 7 days. Since I have just begun doing Yoga again after taking a few years off and since I really need to get back to the daily writing routine I seem to never have managed to keep up, I think this is a fabulous project to partake in. For more information visit

The past is something I’ve been delving into over the last few months. I am someone that has not successfully stepped out of the past and into the present and it’s been a goal of mine lately to resolve the issues that I’ve not been able to let go of so that I can finally step forth into the now. I used the excuse that it is not necessary to resolve the past, that I should just be able to let it go and move on, to keep me stuck for nearly six years (and probably longer). The first step I decided to take towards healing was to recognize those people that I hurt in the past or those I did not appreciate and try to find them so that I could apologize and let them know what they meant to me. It’s been a freeing experience and one that has helped me let go of things I had been unable to release for many years and has led to renewed friendships and also some pain.

The majority of the people I was looking for were on Facebook. How amazing is that?  When coming up with a way to let go of guilt from my past, I thought of what I would want someone who has hurt me to do for me and that’s what I did. There have been mixed reactions. Some said that no apology was necessary and I assured them that it indeed was necessary; some never responded; some asked me why I was still concerned with something that happened so long ago; and some decided to rekindle the friendship that had been lost. What I learned through this process was that the outcome did not matter, it was the act of apologizing and the releasing of the guilt that were most important. I did not need feedback. I only needed to make amends for horrible mistakes that I made. There are only two people that I’ve been unable to locate and one person that I have yet to find a way to express my deep guilt and regret to. It is miraculous the difference apologizing for past wrongs has made in my life. I feel lighter, my head is clearer, and I no longer carry these stories with me. I no longer walk with the heavy weight of shame and guilt. I have been able to let go.

For the future I am going to strive to be aware of the impact my behavior and choices have on those around me. I am going to strive to appreciate right now those who go above and beyond to care for me, protect me, and support me even when I am at my worst. I can look back now and see how one small, seemingly unimportant decision changed the trajectory of  other people’s lives and it has opened my eyes to how self-serving and self-absorbed I had been.

An added benefit to all this healing and letting go has been the skills I have learned to use in the present to let go of people that are not healthy for me. I am aware of the stories I told myself that kept me attached to people in a desperate manner when I should have detached long ago. This process has made me brave in admitting when something is not working and changing it rather than waiting to see what will happen (non-action). I have been empowered by choosing to take action to heal the past and it has given me the power to now take action in the present moment.

There has been one incident from my past that has been haunting me for many years and I wrote about it this morning before my yoga session:

Today the clouds are releasing all the tears I would not allow myself to cry over the past six years. Today I mourn the loss of what I had to leave behind to save my life – two beautiful children that were not mine to keep, but I was lucky to have in my life for 4 ½ years. I hope somewhere deep in their hearts they still know how much I love them.

I used my hour-long yoga session this morning to deal with the guilt of feeling like I abandoned these children though at the time I had no choice. Through this process I came to realize I had been hanging on to the possibility that there could be a different outcome. The truth: There could not have been a different outcome without my safety/life being compromised. I spent much of my time trying to recreate the past with different outcomes. I am beginning to see that there can never be another outcome. It is done. It is finished. The past cannot be changed no matter how many times I replay it differently in my mind.

I allowed myself to cry during my yoga session, but the tears only lasted a minute or so and then I felt peace and the relief that letting go brings. So, today, doing yoga gave me the space to grieve and to let go of another ghost from my past.

*The yoga DVD I use: Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss


5 thoughts on “Letting Go”

  1. oh, good good outcome. i have had to do the same thing in order to remain sane. i could not fix the child i let go, no one could fix her and she was destroying my children and my partner. there comes a time when you make the best choice you can and move forward knowing that you cannot save everyone.

    i like the process you are going through. i’ll have to look at it more thoroughly.

  2. Sarah,
    I applaud your action in making amends for past relationship issues, and I believe your life will be the better for it. Thanks so much for sharing your life changes. It is inspiring.

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring

  3. Hi Sarah,

    Letting go of the past is very difficult, especially one that has caused so much hurt and pain. You are courageous in taking the first steps to try and least make amends, but I think you have to forgive yourself too, only then will you truly be free and recieve happiness and peace.

    I am also doing the project. I wish you luck. I will be bookmarking your site, and no doubt will be back often.

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