Bittersweet Paradox

Today I was in an advisory board meeting where one of my colleagues led us through a ritual of letting go. He brought three small porcelain bowls and set them on the table in the center of the room. One was filled with small chunks of burnt wood or charcoal, representing whatever we need to let go of in our lives; one with multicolored flower petals, representing blessings; and one with small gold-tone beads, representing the gifts that are coming to us. We sat in a circle as he led us through a short meditation on letting go of whatever is not "of the Divine," in order to make space for the gifts and blessings that are coming to us. 

The freedom of letting go can be so sweet; at times the inevitable mourning so bitter and melancholy.

On my way home from the meeting, I heard one of my top 5 favorite songs, "A Case of You." I like Joni's original version, and I am also enamored of Diana Krall's smoky, insistent version. Both are wistful, deliciously romantic.  Seems I'm still stuck on reciprocity like a needle on a record (remember LPs?). 


I remember the time

 you told me

"Love is touching souls"

Surely you touched mine

'Cause part of you 

pours out of me

In these lines from 

time to time

Oh, you're in my blood like holy wine

You taste so bitter 

and so sweet

Oh I could drink a case of you, darling

And still be on my feet

–from "A Case of You" by Joni Mitchell


I had tucked the beads, burnt pieces, and blossoms into a small zippered section of my purse to take them home with me. They are sitting on the table beside me as I write this, all mixed together–a rainbow of blessings, oddly shaped burnt chunks of what is no longer needed, and shiny gold beads of what is to come.

What do we have to let go of in order to make space for what's coming? And why is letting go so difficult sometimes?