Review: To Love and Let Go, by Rachel Brathen
Updated: Oct 11, 2020
‘Above all, the book is the story of one woman's awakening, of her path to making her heart and soul whole again.'
Some books touch your soul. And I know it's possibly a controversial word to be using in this day and age. But it's true. Some stories pierce through you like a bolt of lightning. They stir something in you you didn't even know you were carrying.
Reading To Love and Let Go, I discovered heartbreak on a scale I never realised was possible.
Rachel Brathen's story is a fascinating one - as anyone familiar with Yoga Girl would agree. A journey from Sweden to Aruba, via a stint in Costa Rica. A happy marriage, a beautiful family, several successful businesses and a humongous following on Social Media. What more does a woman want?
But there's more to it, as there often is. To Love and Let Go adds some colour. It connects the dots and fills in the blanks of what might look, on paper, like the fairy-tale life we'd all want to live. In her memoir, Brathen takes us through everything that led to where she is now, a journey ridden with hardship and heartbreak, of the kind you never want to have to face.
After flying herself halfway across the world as a young woman, learning to fend for herself in Costa Rica, living from one day to the next, Brathen meets the woman who was to become her best friend - her first soulmate, Andrea. When Andrea meets with a fatal accident, Brathen's life collaspses. Despite the prodigious success of her career as a yoga teacher and the loving relationship with the man of her dreams, to whom she'd just got engaged, the world stops spinning.
To Love and let Go is Brathen's memoir and a heart-shattering love story. A story of the many forms true, instinctive, visceral love can take. The story of what gets left behind when those we love most are taken away. Of the baptism by fire is it to go through the pain and keep on living. A story of what it takes to heal when you've had your guts ripped out of you.
With incredible openness, Brathen takes us on that journey with her, talking with honesty of her grief and her struggle to come out the other end. Of tackling the resurfacing trauma that weighted her down since her childhood and teenage years, of hitting rock bottom and finding her way back to the surface.
Brathen's account is also a refreshing insider's account of the difficulty of balancing her private life whilst living in the public eye, of staying true to herself when taking on the many expectations (many of them self-imposed) placed on her. It reminds us that, though the modern digital age has made celebrities ever more accessible (at least in appearance), there is still a human being at the other end of the screen, someone who's dealing with life's challenges as best they can.
Above all, the book is the story of one woman's awakening, of her path to making her heart and soul whole again. It's a testament of pure determination, of the incredible effort it took to make peace with her journey. It's a celebration of Andrea's memory and of everything that got Brathen to where she is now.
Beautifully written and incredibly moving, To Love and Let Go is a wonderful and inspiring read. Those who know Brathen as Yoga Girl will, I am sure, love getting to know the woman behind the social media posts and empathise with the strength of character it has taken to arrive to where she is now. And those who've never heard of her will, I am sure, love the uniqueness of this young Swede's tale, whose almost unbelievable journey across the world led her to become one of the most recognisable faces in the Yoga sphere, an intuitive businesswoman, a true force of nature and the real embodiment of what it means to love and let go.