A few weeks back, a very wise friend I bumped into serendipitously mentioned this:
In the end, only three things matter:
1) How much you loved,
2) how gently you lived, and
3) how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.
Whose words of wisdom are they? Transpires it was the Buddha.
Numbers 1) and 2) aren’t that earth shattering. And ‘living gently’ is maybe not that exciting.
I get the point; let go of hatred and anger. But like with Roman Stoicism, I’m a bit watchful that Buddhist ‘patience’ and ‘tolerance’ – good though they are – don’t turn into accepting stuff which is unacceptable or giving up on things which are important.
But number 3) is a gem. This week I ‘let go gracefully’ of something that ‘wasn’t meant for me’ and feel infinitely better for it.
Power, money and status are inviting and intoxicating, but there are are phases to life and choices to make. So this week I put my family ahead of my career and let go of seeking advancement. Not forever, but not for now.
The Buddha is bang on – by letting go of what was ‘not meant for me’, and doing it ‘gracefully’ on my own terms I have protected what matters, lost nothing and gained a great deal: a self-imposed burden removed, a lightness of spirit returned and a much readier smile on my face. Balance restored.