Three Words For Letting Go

WonderLast year I wrote about the three words I’d chosen to guide me through the year, and since it was already the end of January I thought I was pretty damn late in pulling them together.

After all other bloggers I admired posted their three words for the coming year right on New Year’s Day, or even before.

I felt like a loser. What were my three words? I had no idea. It felt like I had more like 20 words.

For various reasons my mind wasn’t so clear on the first day of 2012, and it took me some weeks to sort out my words. They were:





This year, I’ve waited even longer to choose and post my three words. Now that the Wheel of the Year has turned, and I witness green shoots emerging from the frozen earth – my guiding principles for this year are emerging.

My mind was again clouded on January 1st of this year – for way different reasons. Instead of recovering from last night’s party I was saying a final goodbye to the home I’d lived in for nearly 18 years, the place I’d raised my daughters. The rooms I had lovingly painted one by one, the home that had nurtured and cradled and challenged me through my growth from frazzled mom to empty nester.

New Year’s Eve found me packing my belongings into storage tubs, taking snapshots of old family photos, choosing. And grieving. Grieving, questioning, grieving some more. Letting go.

Letting the tears fall.

I knew I wanted to come up with a word or word for the year, but for now it was time to dive into that sadness.

Three Words To Live By

At first I thought I wanted create to be my main word for 2013. I felt as if I hadn’t really lived up to it in 2012 – which turned out to be much more about risking and releasing than creating.

Create is such a big word though. It’s about art, it’s about business, it’s about crafting a life. Creativity is a value I want to live most certainly.

Upon reflection I’ve come to realize that some other ‘words’ for this year underlie my yearning to create. They form the foundation for my ability to connect with my own creativity

These words are:




I find myself in a ‘brave new world’ now. Last year I left the marriage, home and community that had nurtured me and kept me safe for more than two decades.

I did that whole leap and hope the net will appear thing. And quite frankly I’m still scanning the landscape below for said net. Yet knowing I’m cradled in the ‘net’ of divine intervention even as I speak.

I’ve taken a big risk and many small ones.

I’ve connected profoundly to my inner self, to Divine Source or Goddess, and I’ve reached out and made many new connections that have blossomed into beautiful friendships, I’ve deepened existing connections.

And I didn’t fall down completely on the the ‘create’ intention. After all I created this website from scratch – an online space where I could both write my musings as a grownup mom, and share my knowledge on wellness and healing.

My intention was and is to make this an online sanctuary for women who want to feel radiant, whole and connected.

I took a risk and created a connection.

So, yes, I’d say I lived into my words for 2012

This year may be more challenging.

It occurs to me that most of my life has been guided by the antithesis of each of the three words I’ve chosen – the need to control.

When I’m in control I know where I stand. When I’m in control I’m safe. And when I’m in control I’m closed down. And I have to stay closed in order to maintain that tight grip on the steering wheel of my life.

Now, I’d never suggest letting go of a real steering wheel, but perhaps when navigating this vehicle we call life, a lighter grip is in order, or even letting go completely.

That trust thing.

The control thing worked for a while. A good long while. And in some ways in served me (but don’t get me started on all the ways it didn’t).

But now, on this threshold of midlife transformation I can see it’s time to let go of that wheel.

To Open to the miracle.

To Allow fresh perspective, a different view of the world, To Allow a new way of thinking, doing, being. To Allow the unknown.

To Trust the guidance. To Trust I will be guided.

To loosen my jaw, let my shoulders drop. To give into tears and pay attention to tiny miracles. To listen.

To finally, once and for all, relinquish that hard-won control.

Open. Allow. Trust.


How about you? If you could choose just 3 words to guide you this year, what would they be?


Recent Posts
Showing 12 comments
  • Carol Hess

    The image that always comes to mind when I think about letting go of control (I do way more thinking about it than actual doing of it!) is the Tarot card, The Chariot. I picture myself dropping the reins and just letting the chariot of my life go where the Divine guides it. It’s such a difficult thing to do, isn’t it, Sarah? Then comes the REALLY hard part — not picking the reins back up! Which of course I do five gazillion times a day. So I completely identify with this post. And I salute the courage it takes you and me and everybody to surrender. That’s my word for 2013, by the way — surrender. It’s such a biggie for me that it’s my only word this year! 🙂

    • sarah

      That is so funny Carol! The Chariot is my life card and my soul card in the Tarot. (chariotsarah is even one of my email addresses!) But I’ve never thought of it quite like that! You’re right, it’s certainly one of the most difficult things to do – just let go of those reins. It’s only recently that I’ve even begun to entertain the idea of letting the Divine be the guide instead of my big old ego! Maybe that is part of my chariot lesson…

      Yes, surrender is a biggie of a word. And it speaks to and even encompasses my three words. I salute you as well my friend – for you courage to make that effort. To surrender, forget, and then surrender again.

  • Ellen

    I think this is funny, but perhaps it will help. I very, very seriously selected my three words, and right now I have no clue what they are. I think open and love are two of them. Open for sure. Beyond that? Pfft.

    I’m trusting that the energy with which I selected them and their resonation at the time are planted deeply in the soil, waiting to blossom. Certainly, if my conscious mind has forgotten them, Lizzie can’t interfere. I set intentions at the beginning of 2012, wrote them down, and then didn’t look at them again until this past December. Despite ignoring them, many of them happened, the ones I was ready for. Others…well, let’s just say there’s some work to be done around them. 🙂

    I actually love that you’ve posted these in February rather than on January 1. Who made that the right day anyway? Every day is an opportunity to plant seeds, to begin anew.

    • sarah

      I can relate to that Ellen! I picked my 2012 words, and then periodically had to go find them to see what they were! This time I’m thinking of playing around with some sort of artistic rendering of these words so I can put them up as reminders. I think I might need such a reminder…

      Then again there’s a lot to be said for letting the unconscious get to work on the intention.

      And yes, I agree every day is a day to plant seeds! And besides, it was just the new moon. Perfect timing for the sprouting of seeds and intentions.

  • Leah

    I really enjoyed reading your post. Wow. Three words. Well, if it makes you feel any better we’re halfway to March and I have no idea what three words to offer. I like yours. They’re brave words;) I promise not to steal them. I’ll come up with my own. Wishing you all the best with your new life. I know something amazing is right around the corner.


  • sarah

    As Ellen says in the comment above – any time is the right time to offer an intention, Leah – who cares what month it is?

    And I’m totally fine if you want to steal some or all of my words. These words belong to everyone and no one. They are part of all of us. I usually come up with a couple of dozen words that express and embody my intentions: clarity, love, abundance, focus, wonder, expansiveness,…. Then it takes some reflection to distill what’s really important NOW!

    Thanks so much for your kind wishes!

  • Priska

    Hi Sarah,
    I have only been able to come up with one word each year for the past 3 years.

    They have been letting go, forgiveness (myself and others) and this year connection.

    This mid-life reinvention is a longer journey than I expected.

    But then, I had twenty years of busyness.

  • Chris Akins

    I just stumbled across your blog and find it very refreshing. Great articles, and great perspective. I love the idea of reflecting on three words that have special meaning and purpose. Without meaning and purpose life becomes more a a chore than a life. Ill reflect on what three words call out to me and get back to you!


    • sarah

      Hi Chris, So glad you’ve found the blog and enjoyed some articles. Welcome!

      It’s so true that life can be a chore without a sense of meaning and purpose. Can’t wait to hear what three words you come up with!

      • Chris Akins

        Okay, my words:



        • sarah

          Beautiful Chris! Thanks so much for sharing. I love them all, but ‘evolve’ really gets me thinking.

pingbacks / trackbacks
  • […] friend Sarah O’Leary over at Holistic Hot Sauce has written a great post on the art and science of letting go.  She inspired me to go poring […]

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.