7.25.2011

Letting Go

Letting go.

It’s one of the hardest things we ever have to do… but nevertheless, we have to do it.

Sometimes, the choice is ours. Other times, the choice is made for us. Either way, we're often forced to let go… to release the past in order to embrace the future. This is how we grow.

But even still... it never sucks any less…

In life, I have to let go of people. I have to let go of places and things. I have to let go of memories, dreams, and nightmares. I have to let go of the things I cannot change. I have to let go of mistakes and misfortune. I have to let go of the person I thought I’d be… in order to face the person I’ve become.

In animal rescue, I have to let go of my dogs. I have to let go of my heart. I have to let go of my desire to save them all. I have to let go of the wish for a better world, and simply face reality for what it is today. I have to let go of those I couldn’t reach. I have to let go of my pain, my anger, and my guilt. I have to let go of “life,” as most people know it. And often, I have to let go of me… for them.

Each and every time I let go, it feels like my heart is being ripped from my chest. The pain is truly unbearable. I feel that pain… I breathe that hurt… I can almost taste the sadness.

But life forces us to let go for a reason. Sometimes, we know what that reason is… and we can clearly see where the change will lead. But most of the time, we must blindly let go... and take that leap… with no parachute.

It’s terrifying, uncomfortable, and heartbreaking. It’s also life-changing… and really, life-saving.

Because when we least expect it, the reason why we had to let go becomes clear… and suddenly, everything makes sense.

When you let go of your past… always grab onto your present… and never lose faith in your future. Because I can promise you this: letting go leads to possibility... every single time.

And just remember: as we let go, sometimes hope is all we have. Never let go of that.


40 comments:

  1. Thank you Ashley this came to me like if God sent this words through you,I needed this today, Is unbelievable How God talks to us through different people, I feel a little better now

    ReplyDelete
  2. ...Ashley --as a dog love this hits me hard. thank you. it also hits me hard b/c I work in the field of Eating Disorders (and as such recommend dogs to all of my clients :) where I lose people every day. your words really helped give me a little more oomph today to continue serving in this field, even as I continue to have to let go of those who do not make it thru recovery. AND --your final three lines I will share with clients. thank you :) ~Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  3. that was supposed to say "as a dog lover" :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. It really is amazing how God speaks to us. I was grappling with this today as well...and I stumbled upon this quote

    ‎"You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should." ~ From Desiderata, Max Ehrmann

    and then read your blog. We are on the right path my friends! xo

    ReplyDelete
  5. My friends just lost their rescued greyhound. Im glad you wrote this today.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This made me cry, I wish I could adopt another shelter dog, as mine is the best, and it saddens me to know one day I'll need to let him go to the big bones in the sky... He's provided the love larger than himself unselfishly without demands. Ode to all shelter dogs for their endurance with human frailties.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That was just beautiful Ashley. Your heart is just as beautiful as you are. Keep up the good work. You are truly a rescue angel.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ashley, you have an old soul. That's the only explanation for the wisdom you share at such a short number of years.

    ReplyDelete
  9. very beautiful it touched alot of hearts. ty for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ashley, You don't know but it helped a little today. I have to take my dog to the vet and I know what he will say and it is so hard to think about it. I know it is best for her but it is so hard to do. I live alone and she is all I have.

    ReplyDelete
  11. its incredible that you say the thing i needed to read most today. thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ashley
    I'm passing this on to two very important people in my life that just may need to hear this from someone other than me!
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. YOU HAVE HEARD MY STORY ALREADY .I TOOK 7 CATS FROM THE STREETS OF NY.THEY ARE TRULY THE BEST PETS FOR THEY ARE SO THANKFULL TO BE SAFE FROM THE OUTSIDE ELEMENTS .I LAID MY LAST CAT PRECIOUS OF 19YEARS DOWN IN APRIL .AS I HELD HER IN MY ARMS PETTING CRYING AND KISSING HER I CLOSED HER EYES AS SHE DRIFTED OFF TO HEAVEN MY HEART WAS BROKEN .MY GIRLS ARE ALL WITH ME FOR I PAID TO HAVE THEM ALL PRIVATELY CREAMATEDKNOW THEY WILL BE WITH ME FOR LIFE .I WENT TO THE ANIMAL SHELTER WHERE I PICKED UP FAITH ANOTHER LITTLE GIRL THATS ALREADY SPOILED ROTTEN AND PACKING ON SOME WEIGHT.WE PLAY SHE IS RIGHT BY MY SIDE AS I WRITE THIS TO YOU .I LOOK AT HER AND SAY HOW ,WHY DID NO ONE WANT THIS BABY .I DONT GET IT .I DONT THINK I EVER WILL .THEY TRULY ARE GODS GIFT SHE ALREADY HAS MY HEART MY DEAR FAITH ,I TY SO MUCH FOR HELPING ME GET INVOLED IN SAVING THESE WONDER FULL GIFTS TY FOR SHARING ASHLEY .

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ashley after reading your post I sat here and cried because for four years now I have tried to understand why I had to say goodbye to of my most beloved dogs, i have held on to the hurt and anger but now after reading this I finally understand why thank you. eva

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you Ashley. Recently lost a beloved wild deer who visited us daily. Your blog post and the deer cloud in the heavens of the sunset last night has helped tremendously! RIP Momma! I love you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. my mom really wants to get rid of my cat i had for 6 years...my heart is broken. the reason is because she wets the same rug everytime we clean it. i try so hard to keep milkshakes(my cat) litter box clean and i do everyday but she continues to use the rug. my mom has threatened me with the whole "getting rid of the cat" thing & only did it once...and got her back the next day. i put the cat in the basement with food water and leave the light on but my mom wants her out...maybe she will let me keep her. i really hope so because i cant let her go it just breaks my heart.
    -chelsea 16

    ReplyDelete
  17. I did need to hear that today. Thank you for reaching me.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ashley thank you for those precious words! I had to give a one of my dogs up for adoption 2 weeks ago. I couldn't keep them all and this one was a rescue. It broke my heart in pieces! I know that he is going to a lovin home, but it didn't make me feel any less hurt. Also, on this day a year ago I lost my beloved chocolate lab. At the age of almost 13 he lived a long life. However, I was gone on vacation when he died. I've felt so much guilt for not being there. Those words helped me feel that it's ok to let go. I'll see him one day and there he'll be running with no arthritis and will be able to see anything he wants. Ty again for your thoughts!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm so honored and touched that so many of you connected with this post. I was honestly just trying to share some of the thoughts running through my head today, but I honestly didn't feel like I'd done a great job of getting my message across. If I touched even one person, then I'm suddenly very proud of this post. Thank y'all for that.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ashley, you always do a great job getting your msg to us through your blogs. You definitely have a talent, and not even mention, a BIG heart! Thanks for inspiring us!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Beautifully said. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks so much for posting this! As my Dad use to say,"You hit the nail on the head!".

    ReplyDelete
  23. Michelle From FloridaJuly 25, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Ashley..I have been following your page now for about 2 months..you are a real inspiration and your strenght is something out of the norm..for you to be able to do the things you do for these animals is truley remarkable to me..You are a very strong woman..with the biggest Heart I have seen in a very long time..Rudys story touched my soul in a very heavy way.I have always thought of myself to be a strong person with a big Heart..but after I read how you take in these animals who don't have long to live and give them everything you have in your heart and then have to let go..I felt your pain your desperation and your sorrow...but in the same moment I also felt your determination..I want you to know that you are my Hero! I wish You were here in Florida so I could be more Involved! Thank you For all that you do!! Michelle

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank u Ash,,,it meant so much to me,, its been 2yrs since my head on car accident,ive had so much anger, pent up innside me,,hurt pain, deppression, been thru so much,, n lost some of my babies during tht time cuz old age or sickness,,it hurts bad,, but i look into the babies i have now, n the one i just rescued who would of not made it,, they are kittens ,,from different places of evident harm,,i am helping 2 who r sick n gettin bettr,, 3 kitties n a momma,, n 1 month old runnin in the street,,,it helps me feel whole to help them,,n they show so much luv,, ur writtings helped me get thru tough times,,i feel hopelesss, like i not making any impact at all saaving animals,, but i read ur writings n u remind me i am,,,,im helping,,, this writing haas helped me let go of past n anger,, n go forward,, theres so manny more animals to save,,, Thank u , and God Bless,,,,Meowoof,,,paws united

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you so much for writing this!

    Since I lost my job I've been home more and I find myself on facebook pouring over the pet pardons page feeling truly helpless and devastated, because every day more lonely animals perish simply for the fact they were unwanted. Letting go of these souls I've only met in photos and read about in meager paragraphs seems like it would be easy; but I find myself thinking about them before I fall asleep and again feeling like my own rescued animals are a drop in the ocean. Reading this reminded me that if I had not been here my animals (at least one) might very well be dead. We have to rejoice in the small victories or we'll be awash in a sea of heartache. Thank you for reminding me that sometimes you just have to let go and do the best you can.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I don't know how you do it... but you always seem to say the right thing just when I need to hear it. XOXOs... and peace, love, and paw prints...

    ReplyDelete
  27. You have been sent to us, thru our Sweet Lord, to help us who can not handle the. Loss of our loved ones and now we are so lost, without them in our lives...THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORDS OF HOPE AND INSPIRATION, YOU HAVE BEEN TRUELY BEEN BLESSED. GOD BLESS YOU AND ALL YOU HAVE GIVEN HOPE TO... :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wow Ashley, that is DEEP. And made a lot of sense. You always know what to write, Another gift you have. Keep up the good work. Deb from Tampa Fl

    ReplyDelete
  29. Reading your blogs have really changed my point of view on things and makes me really want to help atleast try to change things. So thank you for helping change the way i think and the way i see things. Please keep doing what your doing because with you the world is better.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Ashley -- your words have truly grabbed at my heartstrings. I struggle each day with the cruelty I see against sweet innocent animals and feel helpless and overwhelmed. I have a rescue dog and wish I could have more, but somehow it is not enough for me to rescue just one more -- I am drawn to effect legislation on No Kill and get stories out to the press -- your words helped ease my pain THANK YOU I will continue to work on helping these sweet beings.

    ReplyDelete
  31. That was amazing & beautiful. I shed a few tears! I wish we could multiply more of you! You are truly an inspiration to everyone and also to those animals that so desperately need help! You are an angel to our 4 legged friends!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I was listening to a song this weekend, and some lyrics really struck me. Reading this, it reminds me of them and I thought you might agree. Its a Christian song from Relient K about the things that God puts us through to make us stronger.

    "And you said I know that this will hurt
    but if I don't break your heart then things will just get worse
    If the burden seems too much to bear
    Remember,
    the end will justify the pain it took to get us there."

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Ashley you speak like a true enlightened spirit. I had to let go of a best friend recently. It's terribly painful to let go of the few people we have a profound connection with and letting go of the person we know ourselves to be to become the present. That's four years in the making. I've practiced being uncomfortable living with out fear, not knowing when, why how or what is next. My life is entirely unpredictable unstable unreasonable unbelievable to me. I don't recognize it I have no idea where I'm going or what I plan to do hour by hour. It's been entirely faith based. I work for myself and haven't landed on my feet in four years. It's insane and only the few bold attempt and stick with it, and very few enter the elite circle of making it. I do this all to fund my humanitarian projects, I do it for others, that's what keeps me going and to push my ultimate limits on who I can become. And as you know I get inspired by people like you who I meet along the way. It's the journey not the destination.

    Namaste
    Renata

    ReplyDelete
  34. You are just absolutely amazing, So smart and well minded. Thank you for everything you do.

    ReplyDelete
  35. thank you so much for these words...you have no idea how they touched me in this time of sadness.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Been a rough rescue week already....It's nice to know someone feels the same way. Letting go is never easy. Pretty sure it'll never be. Thanks for your post - needed to hear it :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. As our local rescue fought a parvo outbreak this week, I struggled to make sense of the pain and suffering the affected dogs endured. Most were helpless puppies, their lives yet to begin really. We have four rescues with mostly terrible backstories, and we hurt for the ones we cannot reach. Thanks for your wise words today. You should really compile your blogs into an anthology of essays or stories. You're a terrific writer with an easily recognizable voice and style and a tireless advocate for these animals.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you, Ashley.
    we just had to make a decision- and let go. And boy does it hurt.

    But I know we're not alone, either.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Ashley, great posts. However, there are a lot of people that think you are a scammer. You are located in the middle of nowhere where nobody can check. Nobody has ever met you in person. You don't have volunteers. And you claim to house tons of dogs, mostly pitbulls. I want to believe you are not a scammer but there's a lot of people like you that pose as real and turn out to be fakes. Give us some concrete proof you are not a scammer. Please. Share your address, phone #, website if you can. Doesn't look like you even have a website.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.