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We Have to Let You Go

by Alan Cohen


I have a new favorite cartoon. It’s a rendering by James True (www.jtrue.com) that’s both humorous and profound. The cartoon shows a tomato stalk with several tomatoes growing on it, at various stages of development. One tomato is large and ripe. The tomato stalk says to the ripe tomato, “We have to let you go.” The title of the cartoon is Layoffs at the Plant.

The profound nature of the cartoon is that the large tomato is ripe to be picked. Of course the plant has to let it go because it has no further purpose on the stalk. If it stays it will rot and die. If it leaves, it will serve its next purpose.

The cartoon is a fabulous metaphor for why and when we need to be let go from a job, relationship, living situation, or any station of life. Life is not cruelly kicking you out of a place you still need to be. It is moving you on to where you really need to be for your joy and the gifts you can offer. You may think you are being cast aside, unfairly treated, or victimized, but there is a far bigger plan unfolding than meets the eye. You have completed your purpose where you have been, and your journey is about to reveal a new vista.. That’s why we have to let you go. The “we” is not your boss or your lover. It is the wise and loving collective universe.

A woman in one of my seminars reported, “Everything I have to let go of, I leave claw marks on.” If you believe there is safety in history, you will cling to the old out of fear. If you trust in the security of destiny, you will embrace the new out of trust. As I noted in an earlier work, it takes courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real safety in what is no longer meaningful. There is more safety in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.

Paramahansa Yogananda advised, “What comes of itself, let it come. What goes of itself, let it go.” If you have to struggle to get something or to hold on to it, you are trying to swim upstream of life. There is a stream of good that flows to you, through you, and around you. When you move with the stream, your good shows up in the right way, place, and time. When you buck the stream you fight to get and fight to hold on. You do not need to fight to hold on to anything that is truly yours. If it is truly yours, it will stay with you by the Law of Attraction and the Right of Consciousness. You own what you own not by manipulation, but by who you are.

When it’s time to let something go, the universe will let you know. If you get laid off, or your landlord sells the house, or your lover leaves, despair not. There is a reason for the change, and something better is in store. The more energy you spend complaining or resisting the change, the harder your transition will be, and the longer it will take for your next good to show up. Define the current change as good and helpful, and your next rewarding position will appear more quickly, easily, and naturally.

I recently saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the movie fable about a man who is born old and grows younger over time. To be honest, during most of the movie I wondered, “And the point is?” Yet upon thinking about it, I realized there is a good point to be extracted, although in my opinion the filmmakers spent a couple of extra hours to make it. As an old man, Benjamin meets and falls in love with a little girl, but their huge age difference prevents them from having a relationship. As Benjamin grows younger and she grows older, the time comes when they are the same age, and the two have a glorious love affair. As he continues to grow younger and she older, they are drawn apart again. The apex of the movie is their thrilling love affair at the right time.

While the movie plays on the sadness of the two lovers being torn apart by time, it takes a narrow view of reality. Like many gut-wrenching romances, it suggests there is one perfect soulmate for you, whom you can enjoy for a moment, but then some evil circumstance will wrest them from you and you must muddle in the pits of despair for the rest of your life. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is true that good things come and go, and no one of them lasts forever. But what the Button movie and other romances do not tell you is that when one glorious experience ends, another one begins. To think there is one moment of good for you in your life, and when it’s gone, it’s gone, is to see the universe through incredibly narrow blinders. Life is more like a square dance or a Sufi dance where you enjoy one connection for a while, and then you move on to another great one.

So when your lover or the plant says, “We have to let you go,” do not interpret the event as loss. Interpret the event as “ripe.” While in the physical world a tomato is ripe once for one purpose, as a spiritual being you have an infinite array and procession of ripenesses for many different purposes that go on literally forever, each more fulfilling than the last.

Sure, there are layoffs at the plant. But the plant of life has roots that spread far beyond the stem the eyes can see.

Alan Cohen is the author of many popular inspirational books, including The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and I Had it All the Time. Join Alan this November 8-13 in Sedona for a life-changing retreat, “The Opportunity Before You.” For more information on this program, Alan’s free inspirational quote program, or his daily Wisdom for Today lessons via email, visit www.alancohen.com, email info@alancohen.com, or phone 1-800-568-3079.


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