As you get older, cliché sayings make much more sense and are very accurate. When it comes to letting go, there are several well-known mantras. For instance: “When you love someone, let them go. If they come back to you, it’s meant to be.” One of the primary beliefs in Taoism is “when you let go, you receive.” Many of us are guilty of holding onto someone or something we know we shouldn’t. You may have stayed at a miserable job for too long or in a toxic relationship. Even though you knew to move on, you didn’t, for any number of reasons.
We hold onto memories, pain, the past, and sometimes false hope. Sometimes, we have images of how we want things to be in our minds. Yet, realistically, we know our daydreams don’t align with real life. If you find yourself “beating a dead horse,” you have to find the strength to move on and let go. Sure, walking away from someone or something meaningful is disheartening and painful. You can heal by looking at life differently. Taoism believes that you come across better opportunities in life after letting go. Also, release any expectations you have in life because you’ll only be disappointed.
The phrase “you have to stop watering dead plants” applies to Taoism. Pamela Metz wrote The Tao of Gardening and addresses change and letting go. If you look at life metaphorically, we start bare like a garden. “Seeds” get planted in our minds or placed in our path of life. By remembering where we began, we can go back and let go. In Chapter 64, “Making Changes,” she writes four verses. Metz ends with, “The master gardener understands change by following the natural course of things. Staying centered, she sees the beginning and also the end. Starting with nothing, she does not worry about loss. She has learned to let go. She enjoys the process of gardening and gives her heart to all living things.”
Letting go isn’t easy by any means and often comes with sadness and grief. In Metz’s book, The Tao of Loss and Grief, she powerfully writes about emotions and healing from pain. Through self-awareness, strength, and grieving, you can find peace to move forward. Chapter 19, “The Way Things Are,” has connotations of acceptance and understanding yourself. “Let go of preconceptions, and you see what is. Let go of sorrow and anger, and feel the softness in your heart. Let go of letting go, and realize how much you have. If you cannot do these things, be still and listen to the universe. Become aware of the way things are.”
Our Taoism books aren’t necessarily intended to be read from front to back. Keeping adaptations of The Tao Te Ching on hand lets you pause and reflect. You can reach for the book in times of need or to shift your mindset. The various titles give insight into the philosophy of letting things or people go. Some readers will start their day with a short chapter or take in a passage before bed. Holding onto can cause further hardship or pain and needs to be released. When you move on, you’ll one day see the life lesson. In time, you’ll learn that better things lie ahead after letting go of adversity. Life doesn’t come easy, and it’s how you adapt to setbacks and challenges. Some days are more difficult than others, and we have to handle them. This approach falls under the Taoism principle, “go with the flow.”