Journey of Personal Discovery: Letting Go with Grace

SusieTipiThe U-Haul trailer stands ready in the driveway. My daughter has packed it tightly with an eclectic combination of new linens, a great thrift-store couch we hunted, hand-me-down kitchen supplies, a desk she hastily made herself, and boxes of dry goods including my donation of a ten-pack of organic mac and cheese – everything she needs to launch a new life at grad school in Boston.

It’s back to school season. A time of sending off, letting go and saying fare well… “Please, fare well out there in the world!”

Twenty-four years ago, when I left her at school on the first day of kindergarten, I cried most of the day, and then again when I picked her up… at noon. How could life go on without this precious little one at my side? Unimaginable.

Separating from my daughters gradually grew easier with practice but they were, and are, my best friends, so I wasn’t one who celebrated the start of school. Usually, I’d go for a hike with other moms, taking solace in nature and in each others’ mini-grieving at this small act of letting go.

Letting go with grace. Ah, what a practice! Life is constant movement and change, regardless of our plans and desires. Embracing that movement, dancing with it, allows us to be in flow on our river of life. Where there is resistance, life becomes more difficult and often painful. I know this… so why am I crying as I watch my 29-year-old bounce into her car and drive away from me? I must need more practice.

George Benson’s “Everything Must Change” plays in my head as she waves out the car window and calls back to me, “Good-bye, I love you! I’ll send a video of everything!” Through my tears and choked farewell, Benson’s velvet-voice reminds me: “Everything must change/ Nothing stays the same/ The young become the old/ And mysteries do unfold/ For that’s the way of time/ No one, and nothing goes unchanged”.

This departure tops off a summer of final good-byes to beloveds: My mother. My mentor/teacher/friend and WEW facilitator, Joan King. Friends and in-laws. A summer of practicing the grace of letting go, and constantly being reminded that this moment, this very breath is the one that counts. “Be open to all the infinite possibilities in each miraculous breath,” as Joan often said.

I turn and go inside to re-engage with those infinite possibilities – upcoming adventure retreats for women in Bali and Australia; generating Wilderness protection; reconnecting with my beautiful friends; journeys of personal discoveries… The phone rings. It’s my daughter calling from a mile down the road. “Mom, I left the car registration on the table. Could you pleeeease bring it to me so I don’t have to turn around with the trailer?” With a chuckle and my spirit back in flow, I happily deliver the papers and kiss her good-bye once more, this time filled with joy, gratitude and most of all, Grace.

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