Let’s say your relationship ended, you lost your job, or you just had a difficult conversation with someone, and you’re pissed. Whether it happened an hour ago or twenty years ago, a painful memory, a traumatic experience, and even a feeling of self-judgment or a grudge are all things we hold onto from the past. Let’s define the past as any time before this moment.
Holding on to things is rewarding. The reward is not needing to overcome the fear and take a risk. It is safer to stay where we are.
Holding on to things is not just rewarding, though. There is also a cost. Holding on to things stops us from reaching our potential, being at peace, and living at full power. Instead, we give our power away to the past.
The other day, I was trying to come up with a topic to write on this week. As you know, I write a new blog post every week (and share it with you every Sunday morning via email.) Most weeks, it is easy and flows well, but sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve committed to writing every week, with no exceptions, because that’s a nice way for me to be in service while developing personal accountability. This week, I tried hard (too hard) to find a topic to write on, and I felt stuck.
That’s another type of holding on: making an effort, pushing through, trying too hard to come up with an idea or find a solution.
By recognizing the unhealthy behavior and its cost (tension, stress, frustration, anger), we can move on to the next step: letting go.
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”
Letting go – why is it so hard?
It might be the natural question you ask yourself. But, in fact, it’s not really important. Letting go is hard. Period. Accept that. Move on. Instead of trying to understand why it is so hard to let go, explore how you can actually do it. Are you ready to move on in this exploration process of deliberately letting go?
Letting go is not what you think.
Letting go is not a weakness.
Letting go is not giving up.
Letting go is not denial.
Letting go is not burying your head in the sand like an ostrich.
Letting go is a spiritual principle that expands our awareness and helps us grow.
Letting go is a practice that requires trust in ourselves and in a power greater than ourselves. It is easier to master when we are supported by a soul tribe.
Letting go is a deliberate act.
How to deliberately let go
Remember what I shared earlier about feeling stuck, not knowing what to write about this week? Long story short, I decided to do what might look like procrastination (but it’s not!). I left my computer and headed over to the neighborhood pool for a swim.
I deliberately let go.
The magic started as soon as my body hit the water. I “marinated” myself in the water, easing into a beautiful synchronicity of feeling carried by the water and paying attention to my breath. It felt like there was nothing else in my world other than the repetitive movement, the water, and my breath. I gave myself permission to be immersed in the moment. A few minutes into my swim, inspiration emerged, my creativity fully activated, and my intuition took the lead. As soon as I came out of the pool, it was clear that I needed to write about the process of deliberately letting go because it is one of my most effective practices. Maybe it would be valuable to share this concept with others.
What happened next was really funny!
Right after my swim and just before shifting into writing mode, I saw an interesting post on Facebook. My mentor, a talented and creative business artist, Jeffrey Davis, wrote about…deliberately letting go. Jeffrey is one of the leading experts in living and leading others to live with wonder. (I highly recommend Jeffrey’s inspiring Tracking Wonder Podcast). He shared how swimming in the pond after feeling stuck gave him the insight he needed.
Synchronicity, right? It made me question why swimming is helpful for letting go. My friend and colleague Kelly Inselmann said it’s the integrating effect of the bilateral stimulation and the water. In this blog post, Kelly shares how swimming helped her recover from cancer.
Swimming is not the only way.
There are endless ways to deliberately let go. Here are a few examples: daydreaming, gazing at an object, observing nature, taking an enchanted walk (paying extra attention to nature around you), yoga, and, of course, (my practice since 1996!) self-Reiki and meditation.
The key is to find a fun, integrated process of body, mind, and spirit that helps you embody the idea of letting go.
I hope that I inspired you to experiment with different ways to deliberately let go.
I am sharing this blog post on my Beacons of Change Facebook page and invite you to join the conversation there.