Why is it so hard for us to let go? To let go of old habits or relationships we've outgrown, friends that only call us when they need something or want to complain, or that partner/spouse that treats us poorly and takes us for granted? Why do some struggle with letting go of past hurts, traumas and "how life used to be"? Why do we cling to personal items, filling up our garages, shelves, closets, etc. with boxes from our past...that childhood baby doll you carried around when you were 5, that GI Joe collection from when you were 8... love letters from our high school sweetheart, or the wedding dress from a marriage that is long over? Do we really believe that these items will bring us joy in the present moment?
Why do we replay instances from our past like we are watching an old movie and wish we were still there? It's simply not possible (unless of course someone creates a time machine in our lifetime). We are here NOW. And whatever the here and now looks like for you, it's where you are. You can't escape it, so why do we fight it? Why do we create distractions to avoid dealing with the present...or turn to addictions to escape whatever uncomfortable feelings that rise to the surface? Why do many of us default to feelings of anxiety, fear, victimhood and lack? Most importantly, how do we stop the cycle?
I believe the first key is awareness. Becoming mindful of your actions, thoughts and choices. Stepping outside the monkey mind, the auto-pilot daily routines, the coping mechanisms, and truly taking an inventory of all the ways we "cling" to the past. Once you take an honest look at what you are clinging to....then move into the why. Ask your self..."How is this making me happy now?" Ohh...but wait....be prepared for the multitude of rationalizations as your ego scrambles to avoid letting go. Or the shadow self that truly wants to remain miserable, unhappy or keep you feeling "less than". Then you have the pain body which needs constant reminders (aka, energy) to remain active. So many saboteurs! But once you uncover them for what they truly are, when you shed light on the dark areas, they lose their power. Light will always overcome darkness.
If you can see through all that... I challenge you to ask yourself a different question: "What could I gain by letting this go?" or "What could I make room for if I choose to let this go?" Ahh.... now we are getting somewhere. You see, when our lives are filled with thoughts and belongings from the past, there is no room for something new to enter. How can you attract the partner you desire when you won't let go of the one that brings you so much unhappiness? How can you move into a healthy mindset when you won't let go of the past hurts, the broken hearts, the stories of suffering, the friends who don't support your dreams and goals because they secretly don't want you to succeed, or the parent who said you weren't good enough? Sometimes we don't realize how much our clinging to the familiar weighs us down and prevents us from evolving, growing and living the life we want. And you CAN choose to let go of fear, self-judgement, anger and resentment. That's the beauty in the chaos...we always have a choice! And it is always within your right to make a different choice at any time...regarding anything.
Change is difficult, and so is letting go. But there's so much to gain in doing so. Over the years, I've seen so many clients get stuck in this place. That is one of the reasons I'm so passionate about sharing the Breathwork meditation with others. It has helped me a great deal to let go of many things from the past. And in turn, I have purged many physical items from my possession as well. They just weren't important anymore. With less old, stagnant energy in my house, it feels much lighter. It's fine to hold on to a few mementos from our past, but you don't want a lot of clutter (in your mind or home!). Now I'm free to be me, I'm open to new relationships and new beginnings. There is room for me to grow and to invite the things I DO want in my life, rather than clinging to memories of a past that is gone. The Universe is amazing like that....when you say "No" to things that no longer serve you, better relationships, jobs and ways of thinking that are more in alignment with who you really are will appear. The concept is quite simple, but it's our human brains that make it difficult!
Here is a lovely poem that I hope will inspire you:
She let go.
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear.
She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort.
There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…
~ Rev. Safire Rose