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More Language of Letting Go: 366 New Daily Meditations

More Language of Letting Go: 366 New Daily Meditations

More Language of Letting Go: 366 New Daily Meditations

5/5 (2 ratings)
594 pages
9 hours
Aug 21, 2009


Daily thoughts provide readers with ongoing insights into issues such as surrendering, the damaging effects of manipulation, and healthy communication.

This new volume of meditations offers clients ongoing wisdom and guidance about relationship issues. An excellent enhancement to therapy, daily thoughts provide clients with ongoing insights into issues such as surrendering, the damaging effects of manipulation, and healthy communication. More Language of Letting Go shares unsentimental, direct help for clients recovering from chemical dependency, healing from relationships and family issues, and exploring personal growth.
Aug 21, 2009

About the author

Melody Beattie is the New York Times bestselling author of Codependent No More, Beyond Codependency, and The Lessons of Love.

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More Language of Letting Go - Melody Beattie


January 1

Trust that good will come

It was a slow, boring January day at the Blue Sky Lodge. We had just moved in. The house was a mess. Construction hadn’t begun yet. All we had was a plan, and a dream. It was too cold and rainy to skydive or even be outdoors. There wasn’t any furniture yet. We were lying around on the floor.

I don’t know who got the idea first, him or me. But we both picked up Magic Markers about the same time. Then we started drawing on the wall.

What do you want to happen in your life? I asked. He drew pictures of seaplanes, and mountains, and boats leaving the shore. One picture was a video-camera man, jumping out of a plane. I want adventure, he said.

I drew pictures of a woman tromping around the world. She went to war-torn countries, then sat on a fence and watched. She visited the mountains and the oceans and many exciting places. Then I drew a heart around the entire picture, and she sat there in the middle of all the experiences on a big stack of books.

I want stories, I said, ones with a lot of heart.

Across the entire picture, in big letters, he wrote the word Woohoo.

As an afterthought, I drew a woman sky diver who had just jumped out of the plane. She was frightened and grimacing. Next to her I wrote the words Just relax.

On the bottom of the wall I wrote, The future is only limited by what we can see now. He grabbed a marker, crossed out only, and changed it to never.

There, he said, it’s done.

Eventually, the house got cleaned up and the construction finished. Furniture arrived. And yellow paint covered the pictures on the wall. We didn’t think much about that wall until months later. Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, and sometimes in ways we’d least expect, each of the pictures we’d drawn on that wall began to materialize and manifest.

It’s a magic wall, I said.

Even if you can’t imagine what’s coming next, relax. The good pictures are still there. The wall will soon become covered with the story of your life. Thank God, the future is never limited by what we can see right now.

The wall isn’t magic.

The magic is in us and what we believe.

Before we start speaking the language of letting go, we need to understand what a powerful behavior letting go and letting God really is.

God, help me do my part. Then help me let go, and let you do yours.

Activity: Meditate for a moment on the year ahead. Make a list of things you’d like to see happen, attributes you’d like to gain, things you’d like to get and do, changes you’d like to occur. You don’t have to limit the list to this year. What do you want to happen in your life? Make a list of places you’d like to visit and things you’d like to see. Leave room for the unexpected, the unintended. But make room for the possibility of what you’d like, too—your intentions, wishes, dreams, hopes, and goals. Also, list what you’re ready to let go of, too —things, people, attitudes, and behaviors you’d like to release. If anything were possible, anything at all, what are the possibilities you’d like to experience and see?

January 2

Doing my part

The surest way to become Tense, Awkward, and Confused is to develop a mind that tries too hard—one that thinks too much.

— Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

The universe will help us, but we need to do our part as well. Here’s an acronym, My Part, to help you remember what it means to do that.







Too often, we tell ourselves the only way to get from point A to point B—or Z—is to tense up, obsess a little (or a lot), and live in fear and anxiety until what we want takes place.

That isn’t the path to success. It’s the path to fear and anxiety.

Accept. Relax. Breathe. Let go. Trust yourself, God, and the universe to manifest the best possible destiny when the time is right for you.

God, help me make the journey from fear and control to letting go and stepping into my true power.

January 3

Bring your ideals to life

There is a Zen story about two monks walking down a street after a heavy rain. Arriving at a corner, they came upon a beautiful girl in fine clothing unable to cross the muddy street without getting filthy.

Here, I’ll help you, said one monk. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her to the other side. The two monks walked in silence for a long time.

We’ve sworn a vow of celibacy and are not supposed to go near women. It’s dangerous, the second monk said to the first. Why did you do that?

I left the girl back at the corner, the first monk said. Are you still carrying her?

Sometimes, we may find ourselves in a situation where our ideals conflict. Being kind and loving to another person may conflict with our value of being committed and loving toward ourselves.

When one ideal imposes on another, then use your judgment. Do the right thing by others. Do the right thing by yourself, too. Then let the incident pass and move on.

For the monks in our story, right action usually meant not having contact with women. However, when encountering a stranded person on the road, right action became helping others. Ideals remain. Right thought, right action, right speech—but the path to those ideals may twist and turn throughout life. Be sensitive and aware that you are following an ideal and not a rigid belief.

God, help me learn when it’s time to let go.

Activity: In an earlier activity, we explored our goals and dreams list. Now, let’s determine the ethics and ideals we want to live by, the code of conduct we want to follow. What’s of foremost importance to you, whether or not your dreams come true and you achieve your goals? Examples of ideals may be staying clean and sober, honoring your commitments to others, and honoring your commitment to yourself. Many people choose additional spiritual values, such as compassion, honesty, tolerance. Some people choose to live by an ideal they call Christ Consciousness, some Buddha consciousness, some the Twelve Steps, and some the Ten Commandments. List your ideals, and put that list with your goals. Let these ideals be a light that guides your path and allows you to live in harmony with others and yourself.

January 4

Know when to compromise

Sometimes compromise is important. Sometimes it’s better to give in to someone else’s wishes in order to have fun as a group or as a couple, or for the benefits of the team. Sometimes compromise is dangerous. We need to guard against compromising our standards to gain the approval or love of someone else.

Decide when you can, and when you cannot, compromise. If it’s not harmful and you are ambivalent about a decision, then compromise. If it could lead to breaking your values, compromise isn’t a good idea.

Is it okay to have lunch with an attractive colleague if you’re married? Possibly, but not if lunch will lead to dinner, which then leads to more time spent together, culminating in an affair. Is it okay to go to the bar with friends after work? Maybe, but not if it leads to one rationalized decision after another until you have broken your commitment to stay sober.

Remember that what may be an acceptable compromise for one person might not be acceptable for you. Know your limits, know your values, and be aware of the dangers that can come from compromising them.

God, help me be aware of my limits. Give me the strength not to compromise the values that I need to help me on my path.

January 5

Move when it’s time

We were touring the ruins at Hovenweep National Monument in the southwestern United States. A sign along the interpretive trail told about the Anasazi who had lived along the small, narrow canyon so long ago. The archaeologists have done their best to determine what these ancient Indians did and how they lived their lives. The signs told about the strategic positioning of the buildings perched precariously on the edge of a cliff, and questioned what had caused this ancient group to suddenly disappear long ago.

Maybe they just got tired of living there and moved, my friend said.

We laughed as we pictured a group of wise ancients sitting around the campfire one night. You know, says one of them, I’m tired of this desert. Let’s move to the beach. And in our story they did. No mystery. No aliens taking them away. They just moved on, much like we do today.

It’s easy to romanticize what we don’t know. It’s easy to assume that someone else must have a greater vision, a nobler purpose than just going to work, having a family, and living a life. People are people, and have been throughout time. Our problems aren’t new or unique. The secret to happiness is the same as it has always been. If you are unhappy with where you are, don’t be there. Yes, you may be here now, you may be learning hard lessons today, but there is no reason to stay there. If it hurts to touch the stove, don’t touch it. If you want to be someplace else, move. If you want to chase a dream, then do it. Learn your lessons where you are, but don’t close off your ability to move and to learn new lessons someplace else.

Are you happy with the path that you’re on? If not, maybe it’s time to choose a new one. There need not be a great mysterious reason. Sometimes it’s just hot and dry, and the beach is calling your name.

Be where you want to be.

God, give me the courage to find a path with heart. Help me move on when it’s time.

January 6

Take responsibility for your life

Before you can jump out of the airplane, before you can fly solo in an airplane, before you can go on the whitewater rafting trip, before you can make a bungee jump, you have to sign a waiver.

The waiver is a document that says that you realize the dangers in what you’re about to do, that you and you alone have made the decision to participate in the activity, and that you and you alone are responsible for the outcome.

You sign away your right to sue, whine, complain—to do anything except risk your life for a new experience.

You sign the waiver to protect others from being liable in case of an accident. I think waivers are a good reminder that ultimately no one is responsible for my life but me. There is no one to blame, no one to sue, no one to ask for a refund. I make my own decisions and I live with the results of those choices each day.

So do you.

It’s your life. Sign a waiver saying that you take responsibility for it. Set yourself and others free.

God, help me understand the inherent powers I have. Help me take responsibility for my choices, and guide me about what decisions are best for me.

Activity: Read the following waiver carefully. Fill in the blanks, and be aware of what you’re signing. It is your life, after all. Take responsibility for what you do.


I understand that during the course of my life I will be required to make many decisions, such as where I want to live, whom I want to live with, where I work, how much fun I have, and how I spend my money and time, including how much time I spend waiting for things to get better and people to change, and whom I choose to love.

I understand that many events that occur will be out of my hands and that there are inherent dangers and risks in all decisions I make. Life and people have no obligation whatsoever to live up to my expectations; I have no obligation to live up to the expectations of anybody else. Life is a high-risk sport, and I may become injured along the way.

I agree that all the decisions I make are mine and mine alone, including how I choose to handle the events that are beyond my control. I hereby forfeit my right to recourse as a victim, including my rights to blame, complain, and whine or hold someone else responsible for the path I choose to take. I am responsible for my participation—or lack of it—in life. And I take complete responsibility for the outcomes and consequences of all decisions I make, understanding that ultimately it is my choice whether I become happy, joyous, and free or stay miserable and trapped.

Although people may voluntarily nurture and love me, I and I alone am responsible for taking care of and loving myself.



January 7

Save your life in a journal

Are you saving your life by writing about it in a journal?

Sometimes I use a file in my computer for my journal. If I’m rambling, ranting, or raving—writing something that could embarrass me if seen—I lock the file with a code. My words in my journal, whether it’s in a computer or a green Italian notebook, are meant only for me.

There are many ways to write in a journal. We can go on and on about whatever comes to us. That’s helpful, especially if we’re stuck. We can use our journal as a record, writing down what we did that day. It’s a good place to write our goals and to explore our fantasies and dreams. We can write poems or short stories. We can write letters to God or our Guardian Angel, asking for advice. Or we can just say what happened each day, and then write how it feels.

People may think there’s a right and wrong way to write in a journal, but I don’t agree. There aren’t any rules about journals. It’s just a way to record and save our lives.

Do you think your life is worth saving? I do. If you’ve been neglecting to do that, ask yourself why?

God, help me be aware of and respect the details of my life.

Activity: Transfer your goal list to a journal, and begin writing your responses to the meditations and the activities as part of your journal entry for each day. Use your journal as a logbook, to record what you’re doing and whom you’re doing it with as you pursue your dreams. Or use it as a way of exploring how you feel, who you are, and what you want to do. Save your life in whatever way makes sense to you.

January 8

Letting go to save our lives

I crouched in the doorway of the airplane, next to my skydiving coach. I held on to the doorway with my right hand for balance. With my left hand, I firmly grasped my coach’s gripper, a padded piece of cloth on his jumpsuit.

It was up to me to give the count. Ready, I hollered. Set . . .

I backed up and took another breath. Ready, set . . .

I heard a snicker. Get out of the plane, someone hollered.


I released my grip on the door, closed my eyes, and dived headfirst into the air—with my left hand firmly attached to my jump master’s gripper. We wobbled around for a moment. The plan was, we would turn to face each other in the air, I would grab his other shoulder grip, get my balance, then I’d release him.

He turned to face me. I grabbed his other grip. Now I was falling stable and holding on with both hands. He nodded, giving me my cue to let go.

I shook my head, carefully, so as not to lose my balance.

He looked confused, then nodded again.

I shook my head again, clinging more tightly.

I looked at my altimeter. Six thousand feet. Thank God. It was almost time to pull. I released my grips. I just let go. Obviously, I couldn’t safely pull my rip cord while I was hanging on to him.

It was time to save my own life.

My coach backed away.

I signaled, then pulled my rip cord. My parachute made that sweet whooshing sound, the one I had come to identify as the sound it makes when it opens correctly and fills with air, slowing my fall into a float.

Wow! I thought. This is really fun!

Sometimes we’re so scared, all we can think to do is hang on. Hanging on in this case was a silly illusion. We were both falling through the air. Holding on to a relationship that’s not working, a negative self-image, a job that isn’t working, moments and times that have passed, or emotions such as fear and hurt can be a silly illusion, too.

To save our own lives, sometimes we have to let go first.

God, show me what I need to let go of, and when it’s time to do that.

January 9

Detach in love

In the original Language of Letting Go, I told the gerbil story. It’s one of my favorite stories about letting go. Here it is again.

Many years ago, when I lived in Stillwater, Minnesota, my children wanted a pet. They wanted a puppy, but I said no. We had tried a bird, but its feathers fell off. I suggested a goldfish, but we settled on a gerbil instead.

One day, the gerbil got loose. It got out of its cage and scurried across the floor. It ran so fast that none of us could catch it. We watched as it disappeared under a crack in the wall. We stood around, wondering what to do, but there wasn’t much that could be done.

In the months that followed, the gerbil made timely appearances. It would scurry out from behind the walls, run across the room, then dart back into the walls. We’d chase it, lunging after it and screaming as we ran.

There he is. Catch him!

I worried about the gerbil, even when we didn’t see it. This isn’t right, I’d think. I can’t have a gerbil running loose in the house. We’ve got to catch it. We’ve got to do something.

A small animal the size of a mouse had the entire household in a tizzy.

One day, while sitting in the living room, I watched the animal scurry across the hallway. I started to lunge at it, as I usually did, then I stopped myself.

No, I said. I’m all done. If that animal wants to live in the nooks and crannies of this house, I’m going to let it. I’m done worrying about it. I’m done chasing it.

I let the gerbil run past without reacting. I felt slightly uncomfortable with my new reaction—not reacting—but I stuck to it anyway. Before long, I became downright peaceful with the situation. I had stopped fighting the gerbil. One afternoon, only weeks after I started practicing my new attitude, the gerbil ran by me, as it had so many times, and I barely glanced at it. The animal stopped in its tracks, turned around, and looked at me. I started to lunge at it. It started to run away. I relaxed.

Fine, I said. Do what you want. And I meant it.

About an hour later, the gerbil came and stood by me, and waited. I gently picked it up and placed it in its cage, where it happily reestablished its home. Don’t lunge at the gerbil. He’s already frightened, and chasing him just scares him more and makes us crazy, too.

Is there someone you’d like to get close to? Is there an irregular circumstance in your life that you can’t change? Detachment, particularly detaching in love, helps.

God, show me the power of using detachment as a tool in all my relationships.

January 10

Push a different button

If you keep pushing the same button, you will get the same results. If you don’t like the same results, maybe you could try pushing a different button.

I try and I try and I try. Nothing seems to change. I don’t know why he can’t try to please me a little more; I’ve done so much for him. The people at work just don’t appreciate my efforts after all that I’ve done.

If you find yourself reacting to the same situations with the same responses over and over again, waiting for a change, stop! If you’ve been pushing the same button again and again, maybe the only result you’re going to get is the one that’s been taking place.

Look at your relationships. Is there a situation that has been moving steadily downhill despite your best efforts to push the right button? Do you find yourself responding to the same situations in the same way over and over, never satisfied with the results? Are you trying the same thing over and over, waiting for something outside of yourself to change instead of doing something differently yourself? Maybe it’s time to stop pushing the button, walk away, and do something else.

God, give me the clarity to see the situations in my life honestly and to act with wisdom and responsibility in the associations that I have.

January 11

Throw the ball

I think of letting go as being like throwing a baseball, a friend said to me. The problem is, I just don’t want to let go of the ball. Hanging on to the ball is a temptation. We’ve got it in our hands. Why not keep it there? At least if we’re dwelling on the problem, it feels like we’re doing something. But we’re not. We’re just holding on to the ball, and chances are we’re holding up the game.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to solve the problem or offering requested advice. But if we’ve done everything we could, and there’s nothing left to do but obsess, the person we need to stop is ourselves.

Here are some rules:

• If you’ve tried to solve a problem three times, and obsessing doesn’t count as a problem-solving skill, then stop yourself. Let go. Throw the ball. At least for today.

• If others ask for advice, give them the advice once. Then throw the ball to them. Say no more.

• If a person hasn’t asked for advice, or if you’ve offered advice and were told no thanks, there’s nothing to throw. The ball isn’t in your hands.

Remember the times you’ve willingly let go. Think about how things worked out for you then. Now remember those times you resisted letting go. Whether you wanted to or not, did you throw the ball in the end?

God, please show me the benefits of letting go.

January 12

Stop playing tug-of-war

Letting go can be like a tug-of-war with God.

Have you ever played tug-of-war with a puppy and an old sock or a toy? You pull. He pulls. You pull it out of his mouth. He grabs hold again and shakes and shakes and says grrrrrr. The harder you tug, the harder the puppy tugs. Finally, you just let go. Then he comes right back again, for more.

I have never successfully treated or solved one problem in my life by obsessing or controlling. I’ve yet to accomplish anything by worrying. And manipulation has not wrought one successful outcome. But I forget that from time to time.

The best possible outcomes happen when I let go. That doesn’t mean I always get my way. But things work out and, ultimately, the lesson becomes clear. If we want to play tug-of-war, we can, but it’s not an efficient problem-solving skill.

God, help me surrender to your will.

January 13

Take care of yourself

For once a person begins on this path of knowledge they will only look inward, learning how to fix themselves, instead of trying to fix other people.

— Rav Brandwein

Letting go doesn’t mean we don’t care. Letting go doesn’t mean we shut down.

Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave. It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment. It means we stop trying to do the impossible—controlling that which we cannot—and instead, focus on what is possible—which usually means taking care of ourselves. And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.

Have you tricked yourself into believing there’s someone you can control? If you have, tell yourself the truth. Stop trying to have power where you truly have none. Instead, exercise your will in a way that will bring results. The one power you always have is the ability to let go and take care of yourself.

God, help me make letting go and taking care of myself a way of life.

January 14

Say yes to yourself

Are you balanced? Do you share your time, your energy, your life, as much with yourself as you do with those around you? We all know how simple it is to say yes, yes, yes each time someone makes a request. After all, it makes us feel good, makes us feel needed, makes us feel loved. And the more we say yes, the more they ask of us. And we tell ourselves this is an example of even more love.

But soon we say yes to too many things. We get bitter about our relationships. Can’t they do anything for themselves? Nothing would get done around here if it weren’t for me. Isn’t there anyone else who can help? After a while, things don’t get done, promises go unfulfilled, relationships break down. And so do we.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Know your limits. You are one of the most important people you need to look after and love. Balance your time, your energy, your life with those around you. You will be able to give more freely and joyfully as a result, and you’ll be more open to the gifts of the universe.

It’s not wrong to give to others. But it’s okay to say yes to ourselves, too.

God, help me live a balanced life. Help me learn when it’s time to say yes to myself.

January 15

Discipline yourself to let go

It may sound odd, but the way to give up being over controlled is to become more disciplined about letting go.

— Stella Resnick, The Pleasure Zone

I was sitting at home worrying one day when a friend called. He asked how I was. I told him I was worrying. Actually, I was crossing the line into obsessing about something that was going on in my life then. There’s nothing you can do about it, he said. Just relax. It’s out of your control.

What my friend was really talking about was practicing the discipline of letting go. After I hung up the phone, I deliberately put my worries and obsessions aside. I surrendered to the way things were. I simply relaxed. It was like a miracle. I was able to move forward with my life.

When we begin letting go, it may seem almost impossible just to relax and let go. As with anything else, with practice and repetition, we will become more skilled. That doesn’t mean we won’t need to remember to do it. It just means letting go will become easier, in time.

If you’ve become highly skilled at worrying, obsessing, or trying to control, deliberately practice relaxing and letting go until you’re good at that, too.

God, help me make the discipline of relaxing and letting go a daily part of my life. Teach me to let go with poise, dignity, and ease.

January 16

Drop it

How do you let go? I just can’t let go? It’s impossible to let go of this. These are thoughts that may run through our minds when we worry, dwell, and obsess.

Pick up something around you. Pick up this book. Hold it tightly. Then just drop it. Release it. Let it fall right out of your hands.

That’s what you do with whatever you’re obsessing and dwelling about. If you pick it up again, drop it one more time. See! Letting go is a skill that anyone can acquire.

Passion and focus can lead us along our path and help us find our way. But obsession can mean we’ve crossed that line, again. We can be compassionate but firm with ourselves and others as we learn to release our tight grip and just let things go.

God, help me know that if I’m obsessing about a problem, it’s not because I have to. Dropping it is always a choice available to me.

January 17

Relax. You’ll figure it out

Let the answers come naturally.

Have you ever gone into a room to get something and by the time you got there, you forgot what you went to get? Often the harder we try to remember, the worse our recollection.

But when we relax and do something else for a minute—just let go—what we’re trying so hard to remember pops naturally into our minds.

When I suggest that we let go, that’s all I’m suggesting that we do. I’m not saying the problem doesn’t matter, or that we have to entirely extinguish all thoughts of the subject from our minds, or that the person we care about isn’t important anymore. All I’m saying is that if we could do anything about it, we probably would have by now. And seeing as we can’t, letting go usually helps.

God, help me relax and let my answers about what to do next come naturally from you.

January 18

Let go of the past

I was sitting outside on the patio one morning. A foggy mist gently covered the peaks of the Ortega Mountain Range. The birds were singing. My mind wandered back to ten years ago and my life in Minnesota with my children, Shane and Nichole.

Shane was still alive then. Nichole was still living at home. Our love, our family bond, was so strong. We’ll always get together for birthdays, we had vowed. Our bond, our love, will live on. It had been the best year, the happiest year, of my life. I wanted that time back again. If I could just see him again, for one minute. If the three of us could just be together again, for one day, I yearned, life would be so good.

Later that morning I picked up an Osho Zen meditation card—not to tell the future, but to get insights into now.

My card talked about clinging to the past.

It said, It’s time to face up to the fact that the past is gone, and any effort to repeat it is a sure way to stay stuck in old blueprints that you would have already outgrown if you hadn’t been so busy clinging to what you have already been through.

Silly me, I thought, coming back to the patio and to the Ortega Mountain Range. Even though life is different and I miss the children, life is pretty good now.

Let yourself have all your emotions and feelings about losing people and moments you loved and cherished. Feel as sad as you need to. Grieve. Then let the feelings and the past go. Don’t let your memories stop you from seeing how beautiful and precious each moment in your life is now.

God, help me let go of yesterday so I can open my heart to the gifts of today.

January 19

You’re connected to life and the universe

My friend died, and I was upset, a man told me one day. I took off on a trip, wandering around the Southwest, hiking through Bryce Canyon. I saw the snow in the caverns, the rich red carved peaks sticking up. I saw the vastness of the universe, and the beauty in all of it. I had set off on my trip to prove how unique and isolated I was in my grief. By the time the trip ended, I realized just how connected to this world I am.

Part of letting go is recognizing that you are a part of this universe and not separate from it.

Perhaps a situation has come up in your life recently that signals an ending—the passing of a relative, the end of a relationship, the loss of a job. The people we love and the things we do contribute to our sense of who we are. When the people and things we love are threatened, taken away, we can rebel. We want to hold on to the known and don’t want to see what’s on the other side.

Let go of the uncontrollable in your life. You’re not a solitary being in this great universe, set to struggle against all of the forces; you’re part of the whole. And the changes that come—whether they’re joyous or sad, easy or difficult—are just a part of the growing process that each of us goes through.

Feel the pain when you have a loss. Feel the joy when you triumph. Then let go and continue to grow.

See how connected you are.

God, help me recognize that I am a part of your creation and don’t need to fight it. Help me live in

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