The Transforming Power of Letting Go


If I could share 500 words to inspire, this is the important wisdom I'd want to pass along to others...

  • Have you ever let go of it all? The most remarkable things can happen when you surrender completely.

    Letting go and trusting in the universe is probably the all time greatest challenge anyone can face. Walking in the dark with total blind faith, not knowing where the next safe footing will be, afraid that the unknown will unveil more than we can take.

    One of my first experiences of consciously handing it all over to the universe was in 1980. I was in a job recruiting disk drive engineers in Silicon Valley and was failing miserably. Luckily for me, one day after work when I was meditating in the local meditation center, I opened my eyes, and glanced upon a sign on the bulletin board that advertised a success seminar called “Yes To Success” to be held in San Francisco the following weekend. All circuits firing, I knew that somehow the answer to my prayers had everything to do with taking that seminar.

    My intuition couldn’t have been more on! Not only did I take the seminar, but I eventually persuaded the seminar leader, a vivacious and passionate woman named Debra Poneman, to hire me. As luck would have it, Debra was going on her U.S. speaking tour at the same time I was to arrive in Los Angeles where her company was located and she needed someone to housesit. She said I could stay in her apartment, study her success tapes while she was gone and when she returned, I could start my illustrious career, uplifting and speaking to hundreds of people all over the world.

    I was in seventh heaven!

    Two weeks later, after Debra and I finalized our plans, I said goodbye to all of my friends at the recruiting firm, packed my bags, filled my vintage red Toyota up with gas and headed down to Los Angeles, radio blaring, singing at the top of my lungs, ecstatic that I was on my way to start my dream career.

    Two miles into my journey my little red Toyota started sputtering and spurting. Steam started rising up over the front of my car from inside the hood and as I was pulling over to the side of the freeway to see what was going on, my trusty little red car took one big breath, let out the most God awful sound and died.

    Horrified, I just sat there frozen by the side of the freeway, stunned at what had just happened.

    After the initial shock of losing my beloved Toyota, I came up with an alternate plan to take a train down to Los Angeles. After paying the tow truck to tow my car, buying my train ticket to Los Angeles, and then taking a long taxi ride to Debra’s apartment in Santa Monica, to my dismay and alarm, I arrived at Debra’s door with $13.00 to my name.

    Frozen with fear that Debra wouldn’t hire me to go out and teach other people her success principles if she knew I was completely broke, I said nothing while we were together and kept a sunny smile on my face until Debra finally waved good-bye to me.

    “Now what am I going to do?” I thought to myself. Feeling totally weighed down by the fact that I hardly had enough money to last me more than a few days, I went to Debra’s refrigerator and scooped myself a huge serving of her chocolate ice cream. After eating almost the whole ½;; gallon, I laid down on her couch and fell into a drunken chocolate sleep.

    When I awoke I decided there was only one option when things got this bad.

    I grabbed the keys to Debra’s blue chevy which she had said I could borrow for emergencies and headed down the Coast Highway with a renewed sense of hope. I knew my poverty state would soon be over.

    Arriving at the great Saint Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Self Realization Fellowship Meditation Center” in Pacific Palisades, I immediately felt a deep sense of calm take over me. I walked past all of the beautiful buildings to the majestic and serene gardens that graced this special place.

    Reaching into my purse I pulled out my treasured, crisp one dollar bills and stuffed all $13.00 into a little wooden donation box that was located in the garden.

    When I had donated all I had, I sat down on a nearby wooden bench and had a very intimate talk with God, pouring out my heart and telling him all that was going on with me and where I could use a little of his support.

    After a little while, I walked back to Debra’s car, knowing that letting go of all the money I had left in the world absolutely had to be the best thing I could have ever done. I didn’t know why I felt that way, but I did.

    I headed back to Debra’s apartment and the minute I walked in, the phone rang.

    “Hello,” I said.

    “Janet, is that you?”

    “Uh huh. Who’s this?” I asked.

    It’s me, Patrick.”

    Patrick was my ex-husband’s father whom I totally loved and hadn’t heard from in over a year.

    “Hi Patrick, it’s so nice to hear from you, how did you find me?” I asked.

    After we chatted on the phone for some time, he invited me to meet him for lunch at a nearby restaurant.

    Patrick was unbelievably animated and talking 100 miles a minute. He had just started selling a natural weight loss program he was really excited about. He put four bottles of the stuff on the table and said this was just the beginning for me.

    “Janet,” he said. “I think this is something you could really make a lot of money on in your spare time if you wanted to.”

    Patrick still had that same sparkle in his eyes I had always loved and when he spoke about the products he had set down before me, I couldn’t help but start to feel excited about it too.

    “The opportunity sounds great,” I said. “How about when I have some extra money, I’ll order some from you?”

    “I don’t think you should wait that long,” Patrick said to me smiling.

    “I just happen to have $500.00 worth of the stuff in the trunk of my car. You can have these bottles on the table and the $500.00 worth as well. Pay me back after you sell it and make some money for yourself.”

    Just as he handed over the four bottles our very overweight waitress walked up to our table and said to me, “What’s that?”

    I told her everything I could remember that Patrick had just told me about the products.

    “I’ll take everything you have!” and she immediately whipped out a $100.00 bill from her apron, grabbed the bottles and walked away.

    I sat there stunned, and overjoyed. Thanking Patrick as we said goodbye, I headed home.

    This experience was a profound lesson for me. One which I’ve remembered often during the twenty-six years since these events took place.

    We are always taken care of. Donating my last $13.00 was my way of surrendering to that force which is always looking after us. I learned that all that’s required of me is to let go of my agenda, and surrender to God’s will for me.

    When we do that, the result is always better than what we could have come up with on our own.

    Janet Bray Attwood

    Janet Attwood combines a unique blend of spirituality and practical, useful knowledge that can be put to use immediately. Her passion and focus is supporting people, in every part of the world, in knowing their personal greatness.

    Janet is the co-author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Passion Test- The Effortless Path To Discovering Your Destiny, and co-author of From Sad to Glad: 7 Steps to Facing Change with Love and Power.

    Janet is co-founder of one of the top online transformational magazines in the world, Healthy Wealthy nWise. Twice a month, Janet hosts Healthy Wealthy n Wise's Passions of Real Life Legends series and interviews people who are at the top of their field on what it takes to live a passionate, fulfilling life. Her guests have included such legendary names as Jack Canfield, Stephen Covey, Byron Katie, and Rhonda Byrne creator of The Secret.

    As an expert on what it takes to live a passionate life, she has presented her programs as a featured speaker to thousands of people at events like T. Harv Eker's Wealth and Wisdom conference, The Kaballah Center, Jack Canfield's Success Programs, Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen's Enlightened Millionaire conferences, the International Festival of Yoga, in Rishikesh, India, and others.

    Along with her partner, Chris Attwood, Janet is a founding member of the Transformational Leadership Council, a group of world class trainers, authors, coaches and speakers that Jack Canfield, the co-author of the Chicken Soup Series, put together after taking Janet's Passion Test.

    Janet's latest passion is working with homeless women in transition and youth in detention Centers.

    Just recently she created a CD series titled, "The Empowered Women Series" that is being distributed to homeless shelters across the U.S. The series features such luminaries as, Byron Katie, Lynne Twist, Marci Shimoff, Lisa Nichols, and others.

    Her "Empowered Teen Series" for youth in detention centers, is almost completed, and includes John Assaraf, Byron Katie, Rev. Michael Beckwith, and others...

    For her ongoing work with homeless women and youth in detention centers, Janet received the highest award for volunteer service in the U.S., The Presidents Volunteer Service Award.

    Janet has recently released the Dialogues with the Masters, a DVD and CD package of her adventures and interviews with spiritual Masters in India and Nepal, first described in The Passion Test.

    You can learn more about Janet by going to:

    For more information, please visit

    Recent Releases

    View all posts by Janet Bray Attwood.

    What Do You Think?

    What Do You Think?