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  • Resilient Practice

How to Let go

As the trees show us the beauty in letting go of their leaves, let us show the world our own beauty by letting go of all that holds us back from becoming who we truly are – Hermann Hesse

As we move into Autumn, we experience a ‘letting go’ of the summer months and all that they have offered us. We know that we need to embrace drawing in towards the hearth as the light fades and the colder weather moves in.

We need to conserve our energy. As we have discussed many times in our articles, much human energy is expended in the pursuit of feeling safe. Since we can never truly visualise what the future will look like, no amount of worrying or planning to avert disaster will ever lead to a completely assured outcome.

Our vision of the future and indeed that sense of safety that we so desperately crave is an illusion.

This is why the practise of mindfulness or ‘living in the present’ is so beneficial to our wellbeing. If we can be at peace with what is rather than picturing a frightening future in the hope of avoiding it, we experience better mental health. Moreover, when we catastrophise about what is to come, we alter our body chemistry in a negative way, invoking the ‘fight or flight’ response as if we were about to face that situation right now.

The same principle applies when our thoughts are consumed by the past. We might turn a situation over and over in our mind in search of answers or resolution. We might also unconsciously distort the memory of it to affirm something that suits us, such as a negative core belief. This practice is inherited from those ancestors who were so cautious and pessimistic that they survived to shape our species. It too has a negative effect on body chemistry and does not serve us well in the here and now.

In the practise of mindfulness, we are encouraged to let go of anything that does not concern the present moment.

Whatever is going on with us, we are always wise if we let go of what does not serve us what is no longer ours and that which is not meant for us. Discerning the latter of these can be a challenge in itself.

How then do we begin to let go?

The answer is simple:

We simply choose to do so.

We stop giving it our attention.

Remember that Universal Law states that what we give more of our attention to, will take up more space in our consciousness and therefore our lives.

There are of course common obstacles to simply dumping what we have been carrying around with us for possibly decades. Perhaps it has its origin in childhood. Put simply, if we want to be rid of something but we are having trouble letting it go, then we are attached to it in some way.

We are aware that this makes uncomfortable reading for anyone who is struggling with pain, addiction, abusive or unhealthy relationships or trauma.

The truth is that unconscious attachment to that which does not serve us is born out of fear. However obvious the benefits of detachment, we must challenge ourselves to carefully examine what we stand to lose if we move into unchartered territory.

We are brave and wise if we ask ourselves “what do I have to lose from becoming well or healed?”

Most of us do not know who we are without our deepest attachments. They become a part of the version of us that the world sees, and we often struggle to make distinctions between that and our true, authentic Self, the unabridged version of us before all the ‘stuff’ happened to change us.

Whatever obstacles we are faced with in letting go of that which does not serve us, rest assured that the very awareness that they are there is the first step towards becoming free.

Try this:

The moment that you become aware of something that you wish to let go of, that is not serving you

press pause.

Take your awareness to the present moment. If any thoughts of past or present come into your mind, gently bring you focus back to the now.

Sit in stillness.

Now gently bring into your mind that which you want to let go of.

Get a sense of it but try to avoid thinking and analysis.

Sit with it.

What feelings of resistance come up when you think of letting it go?

Where do they express themselves in your body?

Give them space.

Let them be heard.

Listen with kindness and understanding.

Now allow those feelings to subside.

Tell yourself that you understand that letting go of something to which you are attached will create some discomfort but that your courage supports you in taking either baby steps or giant leaps.

Set the intention to let go in a way and at a pace that feels safe, knowing that a pause or backwards step is also allowed if it is necessary to safeguard the part of you that feels vulnerable.

Visualise the version of you that is no longer attached and know that in the vast and unknowable future of infinite potential they exist and celebrate your journey towards becoming them.

If you feel moved to write down your experiences, then do so.

Gently and kindly bring yourself back to your surroundings and current situation with a renewed sense of hope.

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