Whatever its details, an outer loss is best understood as a surrogate for some inner relinquishment that must be made, but one that is difficult to describe. What it is time to let go of is not so much the relationship or the job itself, but rather the hopes, fears, dreams and beliefs that we have attached to them. If you let go only of the job or the relationship, you’ll just find another one and attach the same hopes, fears, dreams and beliefs to it. And, on the other hand, you may find that you can let go of those inner attitudes without actually terminating the outer situation. Since a loss is best seen as the cue that it is time to let go of the inner thing, one of the first things a person in transition needs to ask is: “What is it time for me to let go of?” The danger is that the person will fail to grasp the inner message and conclude that the outer change is the whole story. I myself had done that by believing that “moving to the country” and “finding a new career” were ends in themselves. Fortunately, my struggle took me long enough so that I had time to discover that what I had to let go of had far less to do with vocational activity and geography than with the programming that had carried me through the first forty years of my life.
–The Way Of Transition: Embracing Life’s Most Difficult Moments