THE POWER OF LETTING GO: PART 2
What does it mean to “let go”?
If you’re are working hard to find your way to a fulfilling, joyful life, one of the most powerful things you can do to support your journey is to LET GO. Letting go means releasing your attachment to anything that doesn’t serve you positively. 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 on your journey to fulfill your purpose, to find peace, joy and balance.
How do you figure out what you need to let go of?
You first have to make the choice to better understand yourself and to become aware of whatever it is that holds you back and that don’t serve you well on your journey. It takes self awareness and self-reflection. And it takes strength and courage. To figure out what you need to let go of (and why) see THE POWER OF LETTING GO: PART 1.
Why should I bother letting go of anything?
Well you don’t have to of course, it’s absolutely your choice. Like cleaning your home is a choice. You can choose to live in a dirty, cluttered home if you want to. Choosing to hold on to all the guck and mess we tend to carry around with us…such as unhelpful feelings, thoughts, habits, behaviours, stories, resentments, fixed ideas, people and even things…holds us back from the finding peace, joy and balance we all deserve, from thriving and living the life that we dream of. Letting go of this stuff that weighs us down is like a personal spring cleaning to get back to pure sparkliness.
Letting go of the negative stuff we carry around with us frees up space in our mind and our life for serenity and grace, for new energy, new growth, new opportunities, new directions.
It starts with an intention
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 strength, courage and constant practice. And it starts with an intention.
When I was in Thailand on New Years Eve a few years ago, I was enchanted by their tradition of releasing paper lanterns into the night sky as a symbol of letting go of problems and worries…and of welcoming in happiness and good luck. It’s a symbol of starting over. And it’s a symbol we can use for the intention and the practice of letting go. Letting go is an incredibly powerful tool to help you reach your dreams and to live a fulfilling, well-balanced life. So why would you want to hold onto anything that holds you down?!?
HERE ARE 10 PRACTICES TO SUPPORT YOUR INTENTION TO LET GO
1. Practice mindfulness to build awareness of what you need to let go - Mindfulness is probably the most helpful tool you can use in the practice of letting go, it’s all about cultivating awareness. It’s about paying attention to all of our experiences (inward and outward), in the present moment, with kindness, curiosity, and without judgement. This involves acceptance…meaning we pay attention to our body sensations, our thoughts, feelings and experiences without believing they are right or wrong, good or bad. Without clinging, without expectations. It’s like finally waking up and seeing things as they really are. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, and perhaps the best way is to start with an easy Breath Awareness meditation: you can learn how HERE. And here are 10 Mini Mindfulness Practices for Everyday Life.
2. Try a powerful Sanskrit Mantra to find clarity - Sanskrit mantra practice can help us find the strength and courage to let go. For example, OM MANI PADME HUM, the mantra of compassion and love. The centre of the mantra, MANI PADME, translates to “the jewel is in the lotus”, and it is surrounded by two sacred seed syllables: OM (the primordial sound of the universe that connects us to universal vibration and spiritual energy) and HUM (the all-encompassing, unwavering spirit of wisdom and enlightenment). We could possibly imagine that the sacred lotus was our heart, and that we have only to search within ourselves to find the hidden treasure of joy, love and compassion. And by reciting the mantra over and over we can call on universal energy to cultivate our own inner wisdom in order to clear away the mud until we find our pure loving self.
3. Create a daily affirmation to support your intention - Create an affirmation you can repeat to yourself daily as your commitment to yourself to let go. Use your own words. It could be as simple as “I commit to letting (fill it in) go.” You could write it down and keep it as a reminder wherever you spend the most time.
4. Release tensions and stress with restorative yoga - Restorative yoga poses are wonderful to practice letting go, as they help you to let go of all stress and tension you may be carrying in your body…as they allow your body to rest in deep comfort so that you can access the stillness and calm within. Restorative poses are done either lying down or seated, with your body supported by props for optimum comfort. Each restorative pose is held for a long time, between 2 and 20 minutes, so comfort is key. When you are ultra comfortable, your mind is free to explore the pose as though from the inside out, and in this way to practice being present to your body and mind experience. Learn more about restorative yoga HERE. A yoga bolster and blocks are ideal for getting extra comfortable in restorative poses. Check out our collection of yoga props HERE.
5. Let go with a burning ritual - While a burning ritual won’t make things disappear right away, it’s a symbol of your intention to let go. If you need to release something that is holding you back in your life (anger, disappointment, a person, a story, etc.) write it on a small piece of paper. Place the paper your altar, light a candle in front of it, and dedicate your yoga and meditation practice to letting it go. After your practice, with awareness and intention, let it go completely by burning the paper safely in a fire-proof container or a fireplace.
6. Declutter your home - This is a fantastic way (and extremely useful) to practicing letting go of physical things, so that you can begin to let go of the emotional and spiritual things.
7. Practice the letting go breath - A wonderful practice for letting go, anytime and anywhere.
8. Talk about it - Sometimes the best way to let things go is to release them by talking about them. I don’t mean by complaining and criticizing and judging, I mean by finding someone who will help you to talk them through and to better understand. This also allows you to feel the feelings fully, to acknowledge them…and then try to let them go.
9. Don’t forget to practice self-kindness - Clear the pathway for letting go by taking care of yourself first. Life is hard. Stress is ever present, in one form or another, even if it’s just lurking around the corner. Stress can most certainly be caused by outer circumstances…work, family, finances, relationships, life, etc. But often the biggest cause of stress is from our own inner world, the pressure we put on ourselves, the fears we create for ourselves, the way we speak to ourselves, the self-criticism and self-doubt. We get to choose every single day how we want to feel, how we want to face the world. It’s a question of perspective and attitude. And we can choose to practice one of the most important forms of self-care: and that is SELF-KINDNESS. You can create small moments, practices and rituals. It just takes thought and perhaps creating a little extra time for yourself in your day. Find 30 Ways to Practice Self-Kindness.
10. Focus on finding joy - We all need joy, it’s essential to our existence. But some days we get so caught up in our stress and anxiety and fears and frustrations that we forget we all deserve joy in our lives. These are very challenging times we are living, and perhaps we all need as much help as we can offer ourselves. I believe that focusing more on joy can open the way to feeling a passion for your life, to more inspiration, imagination and creativity, to a greater sense of fulfillment. And what better inspiration that this to learn to let things go. Find 10 Ways to Cultivate Joy.
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