Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Are You Holding On?

Floating Houseboat

In her memoir  – A Three Dog Life – Abigail Thomas recounts the heart-twisting process of weaving a new life after her husband sustains a whopping traumatic braining injury, causing his personality to undergo dramatic, irreversible changes.

About “control”, Thomas muses:

“I was on a small island once, in the middle of a great big lake, mountains all over the place, and as I watched the floating dock the winds kicked up, the waves rose from nowhere, and I imagined myself lying there and the dock suddenly breaking loose, carried away by the storm.  I wondered if I could lie still and enjoy the sensation of rocking, after all I wouldn’t be dead yet, I wouldn’t be drowning, just carried off somewhere that wasn’t part of my plan.  The very thought of it gave me the shivers.  Still, how great to be enjoying the ride, however uncertain the outcome.  I’d like that.  It’s what we’re all doing anyway, we just don’t know it.”

Ultimately, she concludes:

“…now I know I can control my tongue, my temper, and my appetites, but that’s it.  I have no effect on weather, traffic, or luck.  I can’t make good things happen.  I can’t keep anybody safe.  I can’t influence the future and I can’t fix up the past.

What a relief.”

Here’s  a personal reflection for you to consider this week:

What are the ways that you hold on?  Do they bring you happiness or suffering?  Is control an illusion?  Would you find relief in letting go?  And just exactly how will you get to letting go?

Thomas’ words struck me deeply.  In particular, all the ways I want to protect and keep others safe, when, in reality, I have little if any control.  How do these thoughts impact you?

Thank you so much for reading and sharing.  If you found this article inspiring, please subscribe for free updates by email.  With love,  Sandra

Image Credit


Dissolving the Heartbeat of Grief


A Simple Way to Feel Happier, Healthier, and More Optimistic


  1. Hi Sandra,

    Love the photo! It’s a beautiful ongoing practice for me to see attachments and let them go. Occasionally, my mind gets very convincing about why I need to be attached, but wisdom chooses letting go every time. It is very clear which is suffering and which is freedom. Thanks for offering this opportunity to reflect once again.

    Love to you, Gail

    • Dearest Gail,

      I’m so with you that this is an ongoing practice. My mind may be a bit more convincing that yours on the necessity of being attached and I probably get more embroiled that you do, but wisdom keeps calling to me and I know letting go is the path. Thank you for this inspiration!

  2. This is exactly what I needed early this morning. I’ve been spending a lot of energy the last couple of days worrying about keeping loved ones saved–just one of those stages. And this reminder that I need to let go and not worry about it is perfect. Thank you.

    • Dear Charlotte,

      I’m so happy you received exactly what you needed this morning! I believe worry is one of the most useless emotions, but I still go there from time to time myself. We can help each other remember it doesn’t pay off!

  3. I loved “A Three Dog Life” 🙂

    In general, I am fully present yet non-attached. I absolutely *love and delight* in my connections and in the few material items I have; however it’s all energy, and as I practice unfolding I allow it all to be fluid. Many people do not understand, I am fully vested, yet in letting go, the connection/creation is empowered. It is not a detachment from, it is a full vestment in.

    I have learned that when I cling, there is struggle, illness, stress; when I let go, there is peace, joy, flow. Sharing this with my children has been a wonderful opportunity to deepen this practice; being their mother has taught me so much in terms of presence and unfolding!

    • Joy,

      I’m so amazed by your full on commitment to presence and I love the way you intertwine letting go with being fully vested. That would seem like a paradox, but one that would enrich us all.

      For me, it’s truly a practice moment to moment to moment!

  4. I relate to your post so well- I haven’t read the book I do love what you have shared and when we do LET GO and take responsibility for our own feeling, beliefs, action and more we develop a sense of freedom that holding on does not give. As a reforming control freak I know this only too well. Wow over the past year as i have developed more patience I have had to let go more and more. It still surface at times and Des will remind me !

    • Hi Suzie,

      I had to smile when you described yourself as a “reforming control freak”. You seem so not that! But, we’ve all come from these interesting places, healing these patterns, and gradually moving forward. I fall into the pit all the time myself. I’m so happy you have a friend to remind you. Thanks for your thoughts!

  5. I totally connect with this particular post.

    Going thru rough times lately have definitely opened my eyes up (and some of my mind) to the fact that I have no control over anything or anyone. Situations arise – and I react, sometimes without thinking. First and foremost has always been my need to try to keep my family, pets and loved ones safe.

    I am aware now (more so) that this is an impossibility. The feeling and thought of ‘letting go’ — and letting things be as they are — sounds so wonderful — and yet a part of me continues to ‘cling’. I feel like I’ve always needed to try to ‘fix’ things and yet I know that this, too, is an impossibility.

    I have read much about ‘letting go’ and attachments. I relate to the words (ahhhhhhh… just let go, I tell myself), but I don’t know if I’ll ever really be able to do that. Oh how I wish I could.

    To just ‘float away’ from it all………… to just ‘let go’ and allow life to continue………..whether I’m part of it or not —- sounds so comforting and peaceful. It’s my ‘reaction’ to situations and/or people that I want to change. I want to let go of the worry and sadness —- and just keep reminding myself that ‘this too shall pass’.

    Thank you, Sandra. Your posts are very beneficial to me.


    • You have a lot of clarity, Sandy. For me, letting go is truly a practice of mindfulness and awareness, a moment to moment practice. At times, I too react without thinking but when I catch myself I try to bring myself back to the present moment, which in itself is letting go. As Jean says below, and I agree wholeheartedly, learning to let go is a lifelong practice. But I think we can get a taste of the comfort and freedom available to us now in any moment when we are able to let go. And that gives us the encouragement to continue and give it a try in another moment. Yes, it’s all about being mindful of our reactions and through this mindfulness slowly the patterns are purified and changed. It all begins with knowing that control is an illusion and you’ve definitely got that clear in your mind. I wish you all the best with this.

  6. jean sampson

    Well, I can tell that I am the one who needs the most practice in letting go in this bunch 🙂 Joy is a prime example of letting go, and I am so in awe of her, admire her so much. I can see, as I get older, that life IS a process of letting go….of your own youth, people that you love, trees and animals and even the peace and quiet of a beloved small town that becomes a bigger city. I KNOW I can’t hold onto anyone or anything, but I sure do wish I could. Of course, I have done my share of letting go, but is always with reluctance. All I can say is that I am working on it! 🙂 And I surely do have some good examples of people who are a little farther along on the path who, I know, will encourage and help me accept, maybe even welcome, the process of letting go gracefully.

    • Oh goodness, Jean, I think we might be competing for the title of “Ms. Most Unable to Let Go! I love what you said that “life IS a process of letting go”. We are already constantly letting go to some degree and now can be more conscious of letting go where its more sticky and even letting go in each moment. We’ll practice together!

  7. Oh, my, are you reading my mind this week? I didn’t know you had become an intuitive psychic blogger! Old stuff churned up again. Working hard to stay with it and breathe. I’m finally feeling some loosening and release.

    • Oh yes, the old stuff can be so strong and magnetizing. I hear you! Glad to hear you are feeling some loosening and release. I’m always so moved by your authenticity and the way you share the tough stuff as well as the good!

    • jean sampson

      Yea! Thanks, Sandra! I am so glad I have a fellow traveler who is struggling with this, too. Yes, let’s all of us encourage one another. And, Sandy, you are so smart and so brave to share and reach out here. I have you and your family in my thoughts and prayers and I’ll bet I am not the only one here. I know that the wonderful contributors to this blog are ALL holding you in a special place in their hearts and sending you and your loved ones love and light. You are SO MUCH stronger than you know. And you are doing a great job of letting go—-it is just so dang hard! Just keep reaching out and know that we DO care and we want to keep hearing how you are. <3

      • Thank you, Jean. And thank you Sandra. I am so grateful that I am a part of “Always Well Within”. You have no idea how much your posts have helped me throughout the last few months. So glad I found you. Wishing all the best to all of you.

        With love and gratitude,

  8. hey Sandra – had to learn this lesson the hard way. I thought I had control, faced several unexpected life situations and then found out there were many things I didn’t control! I’ve noticed that I had enjoyed the concept of letting go and non-attachment but the concept is a lot more enjoyable when I wasn’t experiencing loss of control.

    Basically, non-attachment seemed like a good concept but didn’t really know what it meant until I came to face it. Only then, did I really understand it and appreciate it.

    • Hi Vishnu,

      It seems like most of us learn the hard way! Suffering appears to be the key to transformation. The challenge, for me, is overcoming my aversion to it and embracing the adventure. Which you seem to have done beautifully!

  9. The things that actually happen are never the things I am worried about. That has been a huge lesson for me.

    • That’s a remarkable insight and powerful in its simplicity and clarity. Now that you mention it, I resonate fully with this realization. Thank you!

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