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Thursday, October 30, 2014


One of my favorite movies is "Meet Joe Black," starring Brad Pitt as Joe Black (Death) and Anthony Hopkins as Bill Parrish.  Pitt’s character is the undertaker from the spirit world who takes the dying across the veil. He is Death and has never had a body nor experienced what life is about.

After hearing Bill Parrish give a passionate speech about life and love, Death wants to experience living firsthand. Death makes a bargain with Bill that for as long as Bill is Death’s guide on earth, Bill can stay living.

During this time Death takes over the body of a living man and is nicknamed Joe Black. In the process of experiencing life, Joe falls in love with Bill’s daughter, Susan. When it’s time for Joe to walk Bill across the veil to the dead, Joe wants to take Susan across the veil with him but realizes letting go of her is what he needs to do no matter how painful.

At the end of the movie Bill Parrish says to Joe Black, "It’s hard to let go; isn’t it?” Emotionally Joe Black replies, “Yes, it is, Bill.” To which Bill replies, “Well, that’s life. What can I tell you.”

Great movie and I loved that line. Yes, letting go is a part of life. We’re born and we let go of the womb; we learn to walk and we let go of our mother’s hand, and if we’re lucky we let go of bad habits. Life is full of little “letting goes” and at the end of our lives we let go of our bodies and the breath in our lungs. 

You can’t avoid letting go, so maybe it’s a good idea to learn when to let go of the situations and people that are hurtful. Sitting in a pile of hurt sucks. So why sit in it? Sitting in it only makes the negative sink in deeper resulting in screwing up your head and breaking your spirit. Learning to let go has been a constant challenge for me but as I’ve grown in self-love it’s become easier. 

Sometimes we have to let go of situations and people that are damaging to both our psyche and emotional well-being. Sometimes that’s breaking up with someone you’re in love with but you know is not healthy for you, and sometimes it’s the people you’ve spent every Christmas with all of your life. Ouch. When the people you need to let go of are related to you, it gets tricky but it is doable.

This is what I’ve learned: Relationships are teachers. My greatest lessons have been through my relationships with family, friends and romantic partners. I’m grateful for those moments of laughter and for the lessons learned. But sometimes a relationship has run it’s course and the time comes to release a toxic connection. So is it truly a taboo to walk away from family relationships? I don’t think so.

In life we can let expectations become chains holding us back. Just because you share DNA with someone doesn’t mean you’re obligated to have those people in your life. If a family relationship is not for your higher good, if it doesn’t nurture your personal growth and your dreams, and if it tears down everything you’re trying to build inside you, let it go. 

No one is in charge of your happiness but you. Being happy is your job and you have to work at it sometimes. I want a safe, positive, happy environment to grow in. I want to feel loved and respected in my relationships. If a situation or a person isn’t meeting my basic personal needs that keep me happy, I move on without that person or persons in my life and I don’t feel guilty.

Would you buy a cactus, plant it in the snowy mountains, and then expect it to grow pink desert flowers in the spring? No, because before it could bloom, it would die of the elements. Cacti grow in the desert and your soul grows in love.

So if you find yourself surrounded by toxic family members who cannot respect your individuality and cannot nurture your spiritual growth through kindness, walk away and trust that it is in your best interests to let go. Trust that as long as you’re loving yourself and handling each situation in a loving manner, that it is okay and part of the bigger plan to move on from people who bring you down.

Life is too short to waste time on people who hold us back from living up to our potential. We are the captains of our own ship and can change course at any time. We can choose to sail into the sunlight or we can sail in circles never going anywhere but sad.

Letting go is a part of life. Yes, it hurts sometimes but doesn’t it hurt more to marinate in the pain? Find the courage to let go of the darkness and shine in the sun. You owe it to yourself.