It’s hard to think of hope as being a hindrance. We’re taught from a young age to hold on to our hopes and our dreams no matter what happens in our lives. While this may be generally good advice, there are times when holding on simply holds us back.
The following poem is the first I’ve written in quite some time, and I feel it encompasses this concept quite well. As they say, “Hope springs eternal.” In this case, the eternal spring was trapping me in a what-might-be that echoed a long lost what-might-have-been. To step forward, we must let go of the past’s ghosts.
A many-headed demon hunts me;
Vanquished again and again, it seems,
Only to rise and roar and rage
And wound me from within.
I thought I killed this damnable hope
The first time years ago – in answer
To a sundered love and parted lives.
And yet, I find in retrospect
A reticence to yield my heart
Disguised in strength and folly.
And I’m left with a sordid truth:
All along I’ve fed this demon
The shreds of dreams I once shared,
The freedom I felt I didn’t deserve.
And the only way to live
Is to let it go.
While this poem was inspired by the relinquishing of a long-past relationship, there are many instances in which we hold ourselves back because of the hidden hope of regaining or retaining some cherished situation. Our fond remembrances and subtle denial of the loss lead us to invent excuses to not try something new or to be overly critical of what might otherwise be a profound new experience or life path.
The idea of letting go is almost cliché, but have you considered that the reason you’re stuck is because you’re too optimistic? That some part of you believes, against all logic, that what was lost will be returned to you? Try keeping in mind that letting go of the faded good things will make room for the newer, vibrant good things in your life. Only by clearing out the half-empty spaces in your heart will you be free to fill them with new sources of happiness.
Cheesy? Yes, but true.