There is a story of two celibate Japanese monks on a journey. In their Order, they were forbidden to even do so much as touch a woman. They reached a swollen creek, and there was a young woman there. She was distressed because she could not cross with the water so high.

The younger of the two monks just looked away and prepared to cross the creek. As he stepped in the water, he looked back and saw the older monk pick the woman up and proceed to carry her across. On the other side, the older monk put the woman down and bowed to her as he left her there.

The two monks walked in silence for quite some time. However, the younger monk could not keep it in. He finally said, "How could you do that? You know that we are directly forbidden to touch a woman!"

The older monk stopped walking, looked at him and said, "I put her down way back there. Why are you still carrying her?"

She glanced over her shoulder.

No one. Still no one.

Not that she was expecting anyone.

Down on street level, there hadn't even a hint of the maelstorm she was experiencing on the roof. The gusts had freed most of her ponytail to whip around her face, stinging her eyes into tears. Or at least that where she told herself the tears came from. She held onto the rail a little tighter.

She'd meditated, like her friends told her. She'd medicated, like her shrink told her. And finally, she had prayed, like her sister told her. But there was no peace, no signs, no greater reason for each new breath. Just more emptiness with each failure.

She didn't blame them for her failure, she just hated them. Hated them for their happiness, their love, their completeness. She knew that part of why she was here was to destroy their peace. Even if it was only for a moment, to force those blissful people to feel the pain of loss and loneliness that she felt everyday.

So, she found herself on the roof of her building, hanging from the other side of the safety rail. Waiting.

What she was waiting for, she couldn't have told you. Once last chance for God to let her know what was going on? One last chance for someone to stop her? One last chance for forgiveness?

Her phone rang.

She clutched the rail harder with the remaining hand as she fumbled for the cell in her pocket.

It was her sister. She already knew what the call was about. Her sister wanted to know if she wanted to come down for Thanksgiving. Her sister had been calling every night for a week. She watched as the phone blinked and vibrated, the wind stealing away the sounds of the ringtone. After it had died its little death, she slid it back into her pocket.

She knew her sister, her parents, her friends, and even her shrink, cared about her. She had a good job and a loving, if distant, family. She was successful and smart and, well, not beautiful, but pretty in a chubby sort of way but... life simply hurt too much. She had been holding onto the bitterness and anger for far too long to continue as she was.

So she let go.

Letting go is what you do when you can't hold on anymore. As if your hands are trying to grasp a grease-covered rope, a smooth-furred cat, or a friendship long past, slowly fading into the mist like a dream upon awaking. Letting go isn't something you always want to do, and sometimes you grasp and flail and try to find some piece of what was there, but it's gone. You try to figure out how it slipped away, and why you didn't handcuff yourselves together when you could see clearly that you were standing side by side. Other times you don't try to hold on. Other times, you see the thing you love walk away, down a long path, waving, or just going slowly, hands in pockets, down a trail that eventually ends in mist. Usually, when you watch them go, you realize what's happening a little too late and you try to chase after them, to call into the mist and search and search, but you come out on the other side and find yourself alone. Maybe you have a number that you'll never call, or an address you'll never write to, because you let it slip away. Sometimes, you think about it, and you realize that maybe you could hold on, maybe you could struggle to find a foothold or a place where the rope comes unwound, and you could keep this thing if you both really tried. But you don't, because it would be so painful, and because deep down you believe that one day you'll be left alone, and all your pain and hardship will be for nothing. It's usually worth it, but you usually let it go because you don't realize how much it's worth until it's so far away that you can never catch up and tell her that you wish you had clasped hands and never said goodbye. And then maybe, every once in a while, for the rest of your life, you think about her, and you realize, that was good, that was real, that was worth saving, and aren't I an idiot. And all you wish at that moment is that you could say you're sorry and make it all better. But you won't, because now the rope has torn, and trying to pull back on it will only rip it entirely in two. So you don't, and you put away the pictures, the letters, and the memories, for another rainy day and hope that it doesn't happen again. It will; but you'll try.

Steve: Why is it some days so easy not to care at all, and others its all that I can think about? Does anyone have the answer?

Sonnekki: Generally, I believe that is something you have to answer for yourself.  I also believe a good nights rest helps immensely.

Steve: Been giving it a good nights rest since mid January...still no answer, man...

Sonnekki: Letting go is one of the hardest things to really learn in life.  The best way to let go I've found is to confront it.  Talk to that person, and if that isn't possible, talk to someone who is willing to listen; really opening up is hard too.

So you broke up with someone you really liked; or maybe someone you really loved.  It's not always the same story, but that same theme lingers.  The days when it doesn't cross your mind pass and go.  The days that it sneaks up on you and grabs your shoulder and sticks a needle full of drugs into your neck like a serial killer are the days that drag.  They last forever, they stab at your heart, they take a blender and press it against your abdomen, griding harder and deeper until there's nothing left.

Those are the days that really suck, the ones that really hurt.  The ones which you wish would end, but never do until you wake up, at least a little bit.

Though you might not know it, you are still holding onto something.  You might deny it.  "Nah, I'm totally over her", you'll say.  "She's gone, its ok", you'll say.  "She's with someone else now, I really don't care", you'll say.

Actually, you do care.  In truth, it's not ok that she's gone.  Most of all, you are totally not over her.  The reason you still hurt is because you do care, along with all of these other reasons.  I don't claim to know the answer because there is no absolute when it comes to letting go.  Everyone's life is different, and furthermore, every relationship is different.

However, I would like to propose some enabling guidelines.  These are some things that you should know, and what I think is helpful.  I may be completely wrong and they are not in any sort of order, so take from it what you can get (I dated someone who could not deal with this concept; it was either right or wrong, and she only listened to the right.  Who knows why I tried to stay as long as I did).

  • Letting go is really hard. It isn't something that happens overnight, or over a month, or over a year.  There is no set time, but you will know when you have let go.  You'll feel it, even if you think you feel nothing.

  • In order to let go, you must be able to feel.  If you are numb, start feeling.  If you can feel, half of the battle is over.

  • Pour out your feelings.  Spread them on a canvas; write poetry (only keep it if you like it), node on E2.  Make it drasticly morbid, make it hopeful, make it hopeless, write in ALL CAPS like you're screaming.  Pour out it all out, and look at the wonderful mess you create.

  • Confront your feelings.  Confront the person who is causing this hurt.  Be honest as possible; yeah, its really hard to be completely honest (I haven't succeeded completely).  If that won't happen, or is impossible, that's ok.  Talk to someone who is willing to listen.  This person doesn't have to be your best friend, but someone you can trust.  Ask for some time with them, and warn them what you want to talk about.  Let out your feelings slowly as not to dump on your talking companion.  Afterwards, you'll feel better, try to set up another time or find another companion.

  • Think about your feelings, give them the care they want, and them let them go.  The way I do this is to think about it, take a deep breath, and think about nothing, or something else.  

  • Try distracting yourself by taking a trip, or getting really into your work.  Find a hobby, go out to parties or hang with friends.  Live a life without the person who is causing your hurt.  If you are accused of avoiding, admit to it, if that's what you need, tell them to get out your life.  If they don't and it becomes too much, contact the police.  Put yourself out in the open to a comfortable point.

  • Some people stay in their comfort zone.  I like to call this the uncomfortable zone, since you're in that position because you're uncomfortable.  So get out of your uncomfortable zone and become comfortable.  Strike up a conversation with anybody; talk about life, talk about sex, talk about work, talk about your hobbies, talk about TV, talk about Trent Reznor (and his unending hotness) and talk about Kevin Rose (and his huge ass-ego).

I hope this helps someone, I understand if this totally doesn't help you.  Think positive, think realistic, take pride in that you tried.

Whatever you do, don't take your life.  It may be yours, but it is a gift.

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