“Leave it!” – Life lessons learned from walking my dog.

April 3, 2021

I walk my dog, Sadie, 4-5 times a day. I can do that because I work from home at jobs which afford me a lot of flexibility. I know that my dog is spoiled by all of this, but she’s a good dog and really doesn’t demand very much to be happy – a little food, some water, a few treats and the chance to get out for walks.

Sadie is what is called a blue-tick coon hound, which means she is a German Shorthair crossed with a hound of some sort. She basically looks like a German Shorthair (only with the tail not bobbed off) with a black and white coat instead of the red or brown coats that purebred German Shorthair dogs usually have.

Being a hound, she is a natural hunter; although, the fact that she is gun-shy is probably why she was in the rescue shelter where we found her. Nothing makes a hunting dog more useless to the hunter than being gun-shy.

Be that as it may, she still is instinctively on the hunt as we take our walks. When she spots another animal (almost any animal) she goes into stalking mode and locks onto her prey. Squirrels and Chipmunks, in particular, get her undivided attention.

When she’s in stalking mode it is very hard to get her attention back to the walk. I find myself yelling “Leave it” or “Let it go” at her, as if she understood what that means. She probably understands the tugging on her lead better than anything that I yell.

“Leave it” is probably great advice for life. Many times, in life we can become fixated on some event or some person and loose sight of all else. It may be a setback or failure that consumes us or perhaps some real or perceived slight or rejection by another. We just can’t let go of it and there is usually no one there to yell “Leave it” or to tug on our imaginary lead.

I’ve also noticed that Sadie remembers exactly where the squirrel or chipmunk sighting took place and thinks that they are still there the next time that we walk by that spot. Life can be like that too, with us constantly re-living events in our minds, hoping that somehow the results will turn out differently. I have to remind Sadie to “Leave it” when we walk by that spot and we all have to remind ourselves to let it go when recalling some disappointing event.

In life, as with Sadie, there is always the next walk, the next opportunity and we must be ready for it by letting go of the last walk or disappointment. That means not constantly re-living a failure or disappointment. It means not beating yourself up for something left undone. It means learning from your mistakes and not just second guessing the decisions that you made at the time. Leave it. Let go. Move on.

It is Spring as I write this and Easter weekend. Both of those point to a new beginning; however, new beginnings require that you let go of the past. So, “Leave it”. What’s done is done, and what lies ahead requires your full attention. Use Easter not only to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, but to mark the starting point of the rest of your life by leaving behind the baggage that has been burdening your life – let it go, leave it. Now start fresh.

Christ is risen, indeed, let go of the past and fixate on that. You will be rewarded with a new life.

Believe it, accept it, forget it, and move on with life…

October 21, 2019

In a recent post, Jack used this little quote in his blog – Jack’s Winning Words.

“Not the power to remember, but it’s the very opposite; the power to forget is a necessary condition for our existence.”  (Sholem Asch) 

I’m not sure that most people really forget things that were significant in their lives, especially bad things; and, I suspect that forgiving the things that others do to us is even harder for many. However, the ability to put things behind us and move on with life is a trait that most should try to adopt.

I’ve posted here a few times about forgiving others and ourselves. One post comes to mind –  https://normsmilfordblog.com/2019/04/24/use-your-powers-today/ , but there are others.

I’ve also posted about putting things into better perspective, especially things that you might be down on yourself about. The key to that is focusing upon the good things that are happening and not just on the bad – see https://normsmilfordblog.com/2019/08/29/look-for-good-and-focus-upon-it/

So, perhaps the advice that is in the quote from Jack’s blog is really telling us that we need to stop wasting our time agonizing over things that are passed and let go of them. We can’t go through life saying to ourselves, “I can’t believe this has happened” or “I can’t accept that this has happened”. It happened. Believe it. Accept it. Put it behind you. That will allow us to move forward with life.

The immediate reaction to those statements may be “That’s easy for you to say, it didn’t happen to you.” The fact is that similar things happen all the time to lots of people. People die. People get divorced. Relationship[s end. People leave home. People disappoint us. Things happen. You’re still here, so what are you going to do? Curling up into a fetal position and whimpering about it won’t help. Getting mad at the world won’t help. Wallowing in regrets won’t help. Getting mad at God for letting this happen to you won’t help; but perhaps turning to God for help will.

Perhaps some advice from people wiser than me will help –

“Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?” – Mary Manin Morrissey


“Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.” – Steve Maraboli

A common theme in all of the quotes that I found on this topic was the need to move on, in order to achieve future happiness. So, give some thought to the question that Mary Morrissey asked – “What is it that you would let go of today?” If you need to have that cry, do it and move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your happiness tomorrow.

Find those things that are holding you back and let go of them today. Tomorrow will be a better day if you do that today. Heck, the rest of today will even be better. Time to let go and move on.

Stop picking at it…

December 11, 2018

From today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this gem – “Nobody goes through life without a scar.”  (Carol Burnett)

Jack went on to write about the scars of life both physical and mental. I remember my mother yelling at me to “stop picking at it; you’ll leave a scar”, when I scratched or picked at a scab that had formed over a wound. I still have a scar on one hand that was left when I got my hand caught in an old washing machine wringer (ask someone old what a wringer was on washing machines).

Not all of life’s scars are physical. In fact, most scars that we can look back upon are mistakreprobably painful memories etched in our minds from “wounds” that we received in life – rejections, bullying, failures or losses of loved ones. Those events in our lives all hurt at the time. Some of these things we may have “picked at” for a long time, resulting in big scars on our souls.

Maybe we just couldn’t let go of that person who rejected us or the loved one that we lost. We couldn’t find a place for them in our memories that wasn’t associated with pain. They left a scar on our lives. Perhaps we could not reach closure and move on to forgiveness for someone that bullied us or hurt us. Maybe we haven’t forgiven ourselves for some failure in life. We keep picking at those things and the scars just gets bigger.

Jack went on to write that Robert Schuler (a favorite of his) used to say, “Turn your scars into stars.” The way that you do that is to stop picking at those scars and focus instead helping handson forgiving those who may have caused you that pain or forgiving yourself for some perceived failure. In order to forgive others, you must first be able to forgive yourself. The path to forgiving yourself is accepting that God forgives us all first. Lex Luger put it this way – “God has forgiven me, which I am very thankful for. It has enabled me to forgive myself and move forward one day at a time.”

That doesn’t mean that the scars will go away; they won’t; but, they will take their rightful place in your memories. As Cheryl Rainfield  put it – “My scars show pain and suffering, but they also show my will to survive. They’re part of my history that’ll always be there.”

Why forgive? Because you must forgive in order to be able to move on with your life.

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the woman-prayingfuture.” – Bernard Meltzer. Without forgiveness you get stuck in the past, reliving those pains over and over. So, take my mom’s advice and “stop picking at” those old wounds. Let the scars form, forgive those involved in the pain and then move on.

“Remember, when you forgive, you heal. And when you let go, you grow.” – Haiku and KySSeS


Put it behind you and get on with life…

February 18, 2017

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Too many of us don’t heed the words of Emerson and start each day with a heavy load of baggage from the past. Those who can start each day with a “that was then, this is now”baggage frame of mind have a huge advantage in life. The absurdity of clinging to the past is demonstrated in the ads for Let Go, the web site for selling stuff that you don’t really need anymore. A person dangling over a cliff but stubbornly holding onto a bowling ball is no more absurd than us carrying around the worry or guilt about something that has already happened or may happen some time in the future. There is little that we can really do about either, but they both could consume immense amounts of our time and energy.

It is important that we move sad memories of losses of loved ones from the front of our minds, where they may weigh us down, to a place in the fond memories section of our minds, where we can revisit the memories of good times as often aas we’d like.  Worry and fear about things that may happen in the future need to be placed in little metal boxes and put aside to be opened and dealt with, should any of those things come to pass. Mistakes made yesterday need to be assigned a place in our mind’s knowledge base under the lessons learned category.

It might be helpful to end eacerasing-blackboardh day by putting away the things that you’ve been thinking about or worrying about or regret having done. File a place to file them in your mind or resolve to discard them, but don’t keep them for tomorrow. Those things, those mistakes, those doubts, those losses are over, so let them go. They are so yesterday. Erase them as you would a blackboard at school. Tomorrow you start with a clean slate that has yet to have any failures or successes written upon it.

Perhaps using a standard little business trick might help. The first step is to write down those things that you are carrying around with you from the past. Then prioritize that list from most important to least important. Then work your way down the list, using the thought process:

  • Is there anything that I can do to change this? (If it is in the past, the obvious answer is NO)
  • If I can’t change it, is there any value in keeping it in mind?
  • What can learn from this to help me in the future?
  • How can I let go of this?

Just going through that process may help you put the things on your list in the right perspective in your mind. It will, at a minimum put a less emotional and more rationalwoman-praying light on them. If you feel that yo still need a little more help in dealing with them, remember that God is always right there, ready to offload any burden that you want to give Him. The serenity that Emerson mentioned may be found in the act of prayer and the decision to let’s God’s will for you to prevail.

Have a great and unencumbered long weekend. Put all of yesterday’s nonsense behind you and get on with life.

Move on to the next chapter…

May 2, 2015

“You can’t start the next chapter in your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” (Michael McMillan) – as seen in a recent post to the blog Jack’s Winning Words.

In my real estate business I seem to hit situations like this a lot. I guess it’s because I’ve had a lot of clients who are going through divorces lately or who are disposing of the estates of recently deceased people. Some find it very difficult to let go, remorsefulto stop reading that last chapter in their lives and move on.

While a death is sometimes tough to deal with, it seems to be something that most people can cope with better than a divorce. Deaths seem to involve mainly sadness, maybe some sorry or regret from not getting to know the person better or not spending more time with them or perhaps an overwhelming sense of loss and loneliness, if the deceased was a life partner.

Divorce, on the other hand involves a complex soup of emotions, including loss, anger, fears and regrets, selfishness and angry couplemore. While death has finality associated with it, divorce does not and begs the issue of what’s next. Divorce may also involve a sense of betrayal and disappointment towards the other side, especially if there was an infidelity involved. There is almost always some since of failure in a divorce; and, especially if there were children involved, a sense of letting others down. It is tough in the early stages to see clearly what role one’s own actions may have played in the failure of the marriage, so a sense of blame often accompanies the rage that is near the surface.

So, imagine that I walk into the situation with the role of trying to sell the family home as a part of the divorce settlement. I am seldom greeted with open arms by all parties. In fact a good part of my job is usually to try to bring a sense of calm and order to the situation and to keep a lid on things until I can get the place sold. Since I am the most convenient target for the release of some of the pent up anger, I quite often get arguments over the pricing that I might suggest or the suggestions that I might make for things that need to be done to make the house more sale-able. These are usually not people in the mood to hear about working on a house that they just want to get away from.

But, enough about me. What about you? Are you able to let go of the last chapter in your life and move on, or do you keep re-hashing things and re-reading that last chapter? If you re-read it many times, does anything ever change? If not, move your bookmark and get on with life. Remember that old definition of insanity – doing the same things over and over and expecting different results each time. If you must go back over things from the past, do so only to learn from the mistakes that were made, so that you can do better in the future.

new stickerPerhaps you should go further and close that old book completely and put it on the shelf. Start a new book – a new you. The first thing you could do is write a new Forward for your new book of life. In that set of remarks before the new book starts la out the things that are your new goals and new commitments to yourself. Define who you wish to become and lay out the structure (chapters) of how you will get there. Then, instead of starting to read; turn the page and start to write the new book of your life. Remember that this will be an adventure book in which you will be exploring all new things, so enjoy the journey as you turn the new pages of your life. The great thing is that you get to make the main character whatever you want them to be. What fun! I can’t wait to read your story.

“11 Hints for Life” – 2 of 11

March 11, 2014

2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who

means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was
never meant to be and you just have to let go.
– Unknown

This is a relatively easy hint for life to look back on from the vantage point of old age and say, “So? What’s the hint?” The last six words in that hint work not only for when things don’t work out with people that you initially think you really like; but, also for almost any disappointment that you will face in life.  YOU JUST HAVE TO LET GO!

dissapointed ladyI have written more than one post with the topic line, “So what?” You have to develop the ability to say, So What To disappointments in life. So what if that girl or guy that you really like turned you down for the prom. So what if that co-worker at the office said no to your invitation for a date. So what if you didn’t make the cheer squad or the football team. Did the world come to an end? Did your heart that just got broken stop beating? Did losing that big deal that you were counting on mean that you are fired, out of work and now homeless and hopeless. NO! Sure it’s disappointing, maybe it even hurts for a while;but,  life goes on and you must too.  YOU JUST HAVE TO LET IT GO.

The older you get the more of these let it go moments you’ll have to reflect back on and the less trouble you’ll have saying, so what. But for youth, with unblemished hopes and aspirations to match their young smooth skin (we won’t go there with the acne thing); the bruises that come with disappointments have nowhere to hide, so they just show there, on the skin or on the shoulder, for all the world to see. Most youth have no frame of reference to count on for things getting better; the first time is always the worst time that something happens. YOU JUST HAVE TO LET IT GO.

So whether it’s in middle school or high school or maybe even college, when you meet thatbroken heart first someone that you really like (I mean really , really like – the keeps you awake at night thinking about it like) and it just doesn’t work out. It is a sad thing; but,  YOU JUST HAVE TO LET IT GO.

I know that I haven’t earned your trust yet, but trust me on this. It turns out that it isn’t the end of the world, just the end of the world as you knew it. It’s sad, yes; it hurts, yes, but it turns out that with a world population of a little over 7 billion people, there is as high probability of finding another person that you really, really like and who likes you back. Soooooo. YOU JUST HAVE TO LET IT GO – AND GET ON WITH LIFE.