I had just read Ms. Beattie's famous/infamous "Codependent No More" and was inspired by her revolutionary ideas: I didn't have to depend on others for approval; I didn't have to base my self-worth on how helpful I was to friends; I didn't have to over-react to everything that happened in my life; I didn't have to think negatively about myself; if I didn't cause the problem then it wasn't my responsibility to fix it.
As a teenager about to enter the "real world," it seemed all I heard from others was what I was "not" doing right. I should know more than I did and be more grateful for what I have; what college did I want to attend? Why wasn't I more ambitious? What's more, I was odd for being frightened by the fact that the world as I knew it was about to fall apart when all my friends moved away to college. Raised among drug addicts and alcoholics, it had been a difficult life thus far. And apparently, if what teachers told me was any indication, it would only get more difficult as I took on the responsibilities of being an adult. Melody's book gave me something that I so desperately needed and could find nowhere else: compassion.
"Codependent No More" was so comforting that I wanted to "live" in its pages. I felt I had entered a new world, and I didn't want to leave. I wanted a way to remember everything I had learned from Melody Beattie about "owning my power" and being compassionate with myself. I wanted a way to "stay on track." I wanted a "guide," something of a daily ritual to keep myself mindful of the liberation she had introduced me to. To that end, I sent Melody Beattie a letter thanking her for her work and asking if she knew anything about "Codependents Anonymous" groups. I was honored to receive a reply, and she directed me to the national headquarters for CoDA. I began to go to the meetings at the now closed "Journey's Bookstore" in Beaverton, Oregon, and that is where I found this book, "The Language of Letting Go". These meditations helped keep me focused on what I had learned, and the meetings allowed me to share what I had learned. And this all enabled me to do what I had wanted: "live" in the pages of Melody's compassion.
Melody is a poet. These meditations are not "scientific" or technical, and they are not even really "meditations" per se - they are more daily reminders, notes from Melody, on how to find happiness within oneself, and how to be compassionate with oneself when such happiness seems impossible. There is no "fancy" language that will necessitate a dictionary, and no unattainable goals are suggested. There are no come-ons to suggest that your life will not be complete unless you buy her other books. These meditations feel like letters from a friend, a friend who enjoys her life and is happy to share her personal insights and situations she has learned from; that is one of the most enjoyable things about this book, the personal stories Melody shares. There is no "finger pointing" in this book. I very faithfully read one meditation per day during the remainder of my last year of High School, and it made life bearable and gave me hope that things would get better (they did). The underlying message of this book could be: breathe, smile, relax, let go.
If you are looking for a structured way to practice what you have learned from Melody's other books, I would recommend these meditations.