While mentoring a high school student recently, I told her that life is about showing up and letting go. I explained to her that you have to continue to show up for new opportunities in life…but that you can only have room for new opportunities if you let go of past disappointments. She was a math whiz, so I told her to imagine her body as a finite space that she could choose to fill with either darkness or light.

She closed her eyes to imagine, and I asked her, “How do you get more light in?”

She answered, “I have to let go of the darkness and let the light in.”

And then she asked me a great question, “Selena, how do I let go of the darkness?”

I told her we let go of darkness when we realize that life is always in this moment…it’s not in the past and it’s not the future…only now. Every new moment is new life.

She opened her eyes and smiled. I smiled back and we high-5’d. I think we changed the world in that moment…kind of like a butterfly flapping its wings in New York causing a tidal wave in Japan ;)

This weekend, I was reminded of that conversation in the midst of celebrating two dear friends as they prepare to get married. I think the same theory applies to relationships. New joy in a relationship is exponentially diminished in the presence of past hurt and future uncertainty. You continue show up for those you love…but because we are all unique and different…you must also let go of future fears and disappointments and hurt of the past caused by persons not meeting your standards.

Thomas Merton said it best, The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”

We have an opportunity to show up and fill each new moment with light and love in celebration of our shared spirit. In fact we have infinite capacity for this because we are beings of light…stardust in fact. :) But, to keep it simple, we can also imagine a relationship as a circle (like the sun or a wedding band ;)…we get to add light by showing up…and we eliminate darkness by letting go.  Only light can drive out darkness. Each new moment is new life. We get to chose.

Let’s choose more light ;)


Author’s note: Because this site is dedicated eliminating domestic violence, I must also say that pain is not love. Violence is not love. Abuse (physical, emotional, financial or otherwise) is not love. While our capacity endure abuse may be high, this kind of darkness can extinguish all light…especially the light of our children. The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-799-7233. It is FREE. Please share and use without hesitation. Even if you’re not sure you need it. That’s why it exists. Namaste.


Photo source: We’re Beside Forever by Suradej Chuephanich

Dedicated to Rosa and Cam…may your marriage be filled with endless love and light!