Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Let Go Gracefully

I came across a quote today on Soberistas that has stuck in my head.

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you.

This quote is often attributed to Buddah, which is incorrect (although it is Buddhist in philosophy). It's actually a modified version of a quote from Jack Kornfield's 'Buddha's Little Instruction Book.'

But, despite its mongrel parentage, it's gained huge traction on the interweb for obvious reasons: it's beautiful and it's true. And that's particularly the case for us, don't you think?

I used to lavish far too much love on fine wine. And I honestly believe that the more we love alcohol, the less love we have available for anyone else.

Because alcohol saps our time and our energy. It makes us selfish and introspective. It's not that we mean to withhold love, it's just that we don't even see where it's required.

When you quit drinking, all that time and energy you spent on getting over the last drinking session, and planning the next, can be spent on noticing when one of your children needs a hug (see Alcohol and Parenting) or a friend needs a hand.

And living gently? How impossible is that when you're drinking?

We enthusiastic imbibers were like bulls in a china shop! Running roughshod over people's feelings. Spilling secrets. Causing havoc and upset.

Stop drinking, and everything becomes quieter. Calmer.

Being natural bon viveurs, we often find this tricky to begin with, equating it with dull and boring. But, after a while, we see the beauty, and the peace, in living gently.

Which brings me to letting go gracefully of the things not meant for you.

Ah. There's the rub.

It's hard to let go. We cling on desperately by our fingernails. We rant and rage at the unfairness of it all.

Then, one day, we learn to just let go gracefully. To realise that that was then, and this is now. We've had our days of wild partying and chaotic living, and now it's time to....move on. Gracefully.

(I gave #3 Grace as a middle name, because it's a quality I've always aspired to, and found most difficult to attain. Until recently).

When I think of the people I know who are the most unhappy, they are the ones still clinging to a desire for things not meant for them. Fame. Fortune. An ex-lover. Moderate drinking.

Let go. Gracefully. It's such a relief.

Love SM x


  1. Beautiful post! I'm still stuck in the ranting and raging phase, but I sure do look forward to the letting go gracefully phase. What a wonderful outlook on life!

  2. Graceful is such a beautiful word. Once I put the brakes on the self-indulgence, a load of resentment and anger came to the surface, I was stuffing it down with wine, with food, with running (just as well after the food and the wine!). It was also stopping me from being grateful for what I had right under my nose and being truly present in the moment. Which right now is looking at my dog sleeping in front of the crackling log fire, listening to my boys making a pot of tea and thinking how happy I am things are going well for you SM. xx

  3. What a beautiful post as always SM. I have looked forward to your daily perspectives of this incredible journey you are on, as I so want to start my own! However picking a start date and sticking to it has been a problem as I've dabbled miserably in moderation. But today is different. Today is the day. I will let go gracefully of what should not be in my life...not even one glass of wine most of all. Thanks for helping me get to this point. I already appreciate that reading your daily writings will be like taking a vitamin that makes me stronger each day.

    1. Way to go, Liza Jane! Good luck! E-mail me if you'd like some advice on sobermummy@gmail.com xx

  4. Lovely post as always - feels like you wrote the last line for me - I've been holding onto moderate drinking attempts for too long. Thanks for sharing your journey it provides insight, encouragement and hope.

  5. My name means the graceful one. I never liked that before. I am not physically graceful. Sadly. Although yoga has perhaps changed at. I feel graceful there.

    But I love your meaning more. I aspire to grace too. To move through the world with gentleness and compassion and love. Not hiding, but using my voice where it is actually helpful.

    I see Anne in a new light. I like it.

    1. You've always been grace personified to us, Anne. Huge congrats on 2 years today! Xx

  6. Dear SoberMummy,
    I loved this post, too!
    So true these words.
    I am trying to live them, but many times I don't make it.
    However, not drinking is giving me a way better chance!

  7. I was going to say you hit the nail on the head but that doesn't sound graceful at all :) Such a beautiful post and from today I will be mindful of living my life gently in each and every moment. Thank you SM for your inspiring words xx

  8. Beautiful post SM. I hope I can learn to live like that one day. To let go gracefully of what is not meant for me. A x

  9. Eloquent. Beautiful. Graceful.
    I am still working in "gracefully" letting go. :)

  10. Let it go! Let it go! Can't hold it back anymore! Let it go! Let it go! Turn away and slam the door!

  11. Day 3 for me, and there has been a certain amount of clinging on, but I am hopeful that some sort of grace is ahead. Thanks for your wisdom. Annie x