Britta's Letters from her life divided between city-life in German's capital Berlin and life in a Bavarian village

Saturday 6 July 2013


"Was du liebst, lass frei. Kommt es zurück, gehört es dir - für immer."  "If you love, let it go. If it returns, it belongs to you - forever." Confucius
I would love to see the original text (and be able to read and understand it). 
The meaning of "let it go" is clear - it doesn't make sense (and doesn't help at all - on the contrary) to try to "keep" someone who decided to go. (I even would put it narrower: when you live with someone, he/she needs this freedom too - "What do you think in this moment? Won't you put on your jacket, it looks like rain" or "I hate that bloke you go to a pub with" gives only one sort of example). You have to trust. I look with mixed feelings of pity, understanding and contempt at the  selfishness of those mothers who bind their sons forever to themselves - poor things, both.  
Freedom enables a person to grow. Find his/her own path in life. You get love and trust back from them - voluntarily. 
A lover you have to let go in full trust if it is over, and if you let them go in peace, you'll have a friend for a lifetime. (My experience, ever). 
Even a friend you have to let go sometimes - suddenly there might be a pause of some years between you - one is having a career, the other raises children, or whatsoever - and then, suddenly, they are back again. 
So - this part of the quote I think I understand well, and try to live up to it. (I didn't say it is easy). 
I have problems with the other part of the quote:  "gehört/belongs" - in my sense of values no human being 'belongs' to somebody else. And to believe that Confucius wrote "forever" - when the 'mantra' of the Tao is all change - is not understandable to me. 
Maybe the German translation is wrong. (The English above is only the mirrored translation by me - maybe there are official  English translations with different content? I didn't find them.) 
But I'm not in the mood to surf further through the world wide web now. The sun shines on my balcony, the swallows cut the sky screeching shrilly, the scent of my lilies is almost deafening  - I drink my cup of tea - 
and let it go. 


  1. 'the scent of my lilies is almost deafening - I drink my cup of tea -
    and let it go.'

    Insanely golden.

    Britta, I love this post. For me, this is how my marriage is. My husband has taught me, every day, in word and deed what it is to hold a person you adore loosely. He has allowed and encouraged me, always, to wing my way toward the sun. And I could not love him more for it. (He is, at heart, something of a Taoist just like you, dear friend.)

    Happy Saturday. Happy Right ... Now.

    1. Dear Suze,
      thank you! It is a great gift to find a person to live with who encourages growth (many are afraid of changes) as your husband - a sign of self-confidence and a loving heart!

  2. I often wonder how Confucius managed to say all of the things he is credited with uttering ?

    Your blog is singularly different and as enticing as a well blended fruit cake,
    many congratulations.

    1. Dear Heron,
      thank you - happily I listen to such praise!
      As you know: 100 years between Confucius' saying and later writing it up give a lot of time to fill in a bit here, polish a bit there...(Reminds me of some other great books).

  3. We could debate the individual words and turn the phrase inside out and upside down, but it would still pretty much mean that love doesn't come with strings attached - apron strings, puppet strings, leash strings or even heart strings.

    1. Dear Pondside,
      I love those accurate words so much: "apron strings, puppet strings, leash strings or even heart strings" - they sum it up like poetry, thank you!

  4. Beautiful thoughts. I think the official English translation was done by Herr Sting...

    1. Dear Cygnus,
      yes - that pleases me a thousandfold more than Mick's "Under my thumb" - at least the content...
      One often only sees what one expects to see: first I really read "Herr Sing" and thought of sort of relation of The Silent Traveller :-)
      Still puzzling over Janis Joplin's line "Freedom's just another word of nothing left to lose"

  5. In Chinese, 永遠 can be translated as "forever" or "always" --love returned that is always yours. Quite a different idea, less possessive and not forever.

  6. Dear Geo,
    wow! And yes: that makes sense to me. Quite a different feeling, too. Thank you!