One of my biggest discoveries for living a more gentle life is the practice of letting go. Letting go has had a lasting impact on my well-being and has become a vital part of my daily diet. In fact, it's right up there with my daily raw green juice :)
Exploring letting go and practicing it in my life has been transformational so thought I'd share a few tips. What does letting go mean for me? How do I let go?
When I try to control people, I always lose. Another driver cut me off. My friend never texted me back. My co-worker went to lunch without me. I can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis. It's exhausting trying to get someone to do or say something, wanting a situation to be different, or trying to control a future that has yet to arrive. It seems obvious but my natural tendency has been to hold onto and be attached to something. Sometimes the attachment consumes me and no longer serves me in a healthy way.
For several years I wished my landlady would be more civil and less abrupt. After a long day I would dread meeting her as I trudged up the stairs to my apartment. The minute I saw her I would feel my body tense and my mind defensive. We would often engage and sometimes she would try to argue with me. As soon as I realized I had as much control over my landlady as I did the weather, I began to accept her for for who she was. I realized I could only change myself and my reaction to her. The next time we met, I felt at ease and surprisingly, more peaceful and serene. The simple act of letting go has improved the relationship with my landlady.
In fact, I often wished my life circumstances were different and tried to force things to happen in my life e.g, the dream job, the dream relationship, the dream body. This was an uncomfortable gripping state to be in and created tension and stress. It took me many years of healing to realize all I can do in these situations is my best. The results are out of my control.
Letting go is a constant theme in my yoga classes. I lead students through a gentle modality to observe physical sensations in the body, emotions, and mental patterns. We harness the breath and awareness to notice how things really are without trying to change things. It can be freeing to surrender to how things are in the present moment. Some students call it a blissful state. This is the ultimate let go and something we can practice on and off the mat. The more we practice the easier it becomes....
Here's a quote that summarizes it all so sweetly (not sure who said it)
In the end, only three things matter:
How much you loved
How gently you lived
How gracefully you let go of things not meant for you
So what are your tips for letting go? I’d love to hear. Feel free to post your comments below