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The Power of Letting Go

Jim Curtis is the president of Remedy Health Media and the Author of The Stimulati Experience: 9 Skills for Getting Past Pain, Setbacks, and Trauma to Ignite Health and Happiness. Here, he shares the simple experience that taught him to let go.

Recently, I was on a flight from Chicago back home to New York City after a business meeting. I was seated next to a man, about 40 years old. He was talking on his iPhone at about a volume of 9. We were taxiing to the tarmac, and to be honest, I was starting to get a little anxious. He was breaking the rules of the flying road. 

And although I am not much for following all the rules, I was really wishing he was. As I was considering the best way to get him to end his call sooner rather than later, I heard it: “The sooner you give up feeling loss, the sooner you will have nothing to lose.” 

My seat mate had given whomever he was talking to a piece of sage advice. It drilled into my head like a lightning bolt and rattled around in my stomach and chest for a moment until it settled into a calm reembrace—a temporarily forgotten truth that, once remembered, results in a wave of confidence and relief. 

 

His conversation was soon over, and we were up in the air. I did not speak with him; soon after takeoff, he was fast asleep. But I did think of his words for the entire duration of the flight. Perhaps you have heard this adage before. I have studied it, practiced it, and preached it.

Kadam Morten at the Kadampa center in NYC would call it letting go of desirous attachments. Despite how familiar I was with this concept of living in abundance and calm and not fearing the loss of something, over the last few months, concern and desire for a particular outcome had crept in as I worried about the success of my company, the successful launch of my first book, the success of a new love relationship, the concern around the responsibility of growing my 9-year-old son into a good, whole, loving confident man…  

It wasn’t until this moment in the airplane, when the rules were being broken, when I was most judgmental and annoyed, that I was given a very much-needed reminder: The happiest life lived is not attached to how something works out or but simply to the acceptance that it will work out. This is a true, abundant state, one that allows us to release stress and anxiety and bring down inflammation in our body. The abundant state is what allows us to access happiness and flow more often and to be our healthiest. If we are confident that the events in our lives will work out one way or another and, no matter what happens, we will be able to roll with the punches and be grateful for the pleasures. Then, there is nothing to fear as there is never anything lost.