Happiness, Freedom, and Letting Go

July 03, 2017

Photo courtesy Ester Marie Doysabas
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.”—Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

Over the past few days, I’ve been going through each one of the 877 (!) posts on Catching Happiness, to make sure they all transferred properly to the new template. This process has been bittersweet, as I’ve relived highs and lows from the past eight years: milestones in my son’s life; adopting our cat, Prudy; the joyful memories of our dog, Scout, and the deep grief I felt when she died almost two years ago. There have been changes, both longed for and mourned over, dark days of depression and overwhelm, but also days of excitement and exploration. So many simple pleasures and everyday adventures.

I can see how much happier I am when I’m able to let go, to allow these happenings and emotions to flow through my life, rather than cling to them, or try to hurry them along without truly experiencing them. I’m not naturally good at letting go, but I’m getting better with practice. And it’s true—letting go, freedom, happiness—they’re connected in ways I’m just now beginning to understand.

As I get older, I’m having to let go of more and more things I do not want to let go of. I’m not in charge of the world, surprisingly. Some days, I’m barely in charge of myself. But when I do manage to uncurl my fingers and letgoalready, I’m glimpsing a freedom I’ve never experienced before.  It feels good. It feels…happy. And I want more of that.

What have you let go of? What would you like to let go of?

Happy Independence Day to all my American readers!

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  1. I LOVE the re-design, Kathy! So clean and beautiful. Do you mind telling me how/with whom you did it?
    I agree with the importance of attention to letting go. I tend to hold onto things when it would make me happier and healthier to focus and release the unimportant or the things I can't control. The Serenity Prayer was written for me!

  2. Thanks so much, Leanne! I'm very happy with how it came out. I did it myself, with the help of a friend, Laure Ferlita (http://paintedthoughtsblog.blogspot.com). I used a free template, painted the little bird myself, and worked with Laure to choose a font for the header. Laure also scanned the bird for me, and placed it on the "p". It took a very long time and a lot of experimenting with various templates before I found what I wanted, and even now it's not perfect. (What a surprise--LOL.) A good opportunity for me to let go, right?