THE POWER OF LETTING GO: PART 1
Can you imagine how you’ll feel if you let go of all the things that are holding you back from from reaching your highest potential, from living the life of your dreams? I imagine that you’ll feel much happier, lighter, incredibly fresh and free. You’ll probably breath easier. You may even look more radiant! Sound good to you?
As I’ve been reflecting on my journey and the practices that have helped me, I realized that one of the most important things I’ve learned as I’ve transformed my life to be more meaningful and joyful, is the power of LETTING GO.
Letting go means releasing our attachment to anything that doesn’t serve us positively. Letting go is incredibly powerful to help you reach your dreams and to live a fulfilling, well-balanced life. It’s definitely not easy. In fact letting go may be the hardest thing to do. Letting something go doesn’t happen over night! It takes courage and constant practice. And it starts with an intention.
If you think about it you'll realize that we all cling to many things that don't serve us well. As examples, to move forward and create the life I dreamed of, I’ve had to let go of aspects of my identity and my lifestyle, of a career that brought me pain and frustration instead of joy. I’ve had to let go of expectations, control, perfectionism, self-doubt and other negative self-talk. And in order to move forward, I had to let go of the fear and stress related to a major life change, of stepping into the unknown and starting something brand new.
In yoga, we talk about APARIGRAHA,one of Yamas as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras (a set of moral guidelines that can be used on and off the mat). Aparigraha is the practice of non-clinging, of non-attachment. It’s the practice of non-attachment to feelings, thoughts, behaviours, people and things. It is the conscious practice of letting go of anything that is not helpful or necessary our journey to fulfill our purpose, to find peace, joy and balance.
Letting go doesn’t mean you don’t care, or that you are indifferent. It doesn’t mean giving up.
Letting go is not suppression. It’s not about burying and ignoring those things, which would be the opposite of letting go.
Letting go is a personal choice. That’s exactly it…it’s a choice that you make for yourself. It’s easy for another person to tell you to let go, but it’s you who must choose to make the intention and do the work. And sometimes you may not quite be ready to let something go. Again, it’s your choice. And it takes courage.
Letting go is healing. Letting go can relieve stress and anxiety. It can help you to develop a better resilience in the face of difficult situations. I’ve found that letting go is a way to just breath better. And that is powerful.
Letting go is freedom. And it frees up space in your mind and your life for serenity and grace, for new energy, new growth, new opportunities, new directions.
First though, WE NEED TO BE AWARE OF WHAT WE NEED TO LET GO. There are certainly things you’ve been hanging on to that really are not useful, and that are holding you back. You need to be clear on what they are.
So I invite you to take some time for yourself, sit quietly in your sacred space, take a few deep breaths to ground yourself, and then to take stock, with radical honesty, of what you are holding on to in your life. It takes self-awareness (remember that mindfulness practices can help you to develop and practice awareness). And writing it down can help you to work through this inventory of your life, and to identify what you can go.
As prompts for reflection, here are a few examples of things that you may be holding on to:
You could think about what makes you happy, and then contrast it with what makes you feel sad, frustrated, angry etc. And try to pinpoint what it is that makes you feel that way.
Our ego loves to hoard all these unhelpful habits, thoughts, emotions and feelings. Holding on can lead to pain and suffering and can hold you back from living the life of your dreams. Just imagine how you would feel if you could let some of this go!
So go ahead…give yourself permission to let go. It starts with setting the intention.
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