Have you every worried about letting go of something, because you feared the void it would create?
Have you then gone on to worry about what that void might feel like, or what you would do with the time or space it created?
I can categorically say yes to all of the above.
This was once me.
In the past when I committed myself to something, whether it was job, or some other task I stuck with it, whether I enjoyed it or not. I hated the idea of letting people down. If I chose not to continue, I would feel as though I had failed. There was never the option of letting go or stopping, so I just kept on doing it. I feared what would happen if I said no, or let go of being this way.
What would I do? What would I lose? Who would I be?
I worried about all of these things, although I may not have outwardly shown it. I hid it well, or so I thought. Most of the time though my body gave me away. At times of complete stress and overwhelm my health would deteriorate, causing me all sorts of problems, falling into a relapse with my underlying medical condition. So all in all, is was not a good place to end up, but I continued to let it happen. I believed this as my lot, this was who I was.
It’s odd really, I was never one to hoard stuff, as in belongings that is. As a child I loved nothing more that clearing out clutter, and re-organising my bedroom countless times. And now as a mum and home maker, I love clean surfaces, and a tidy and clutter-free home.
So why then, has it not been possible to apply these principles and practices to all the emotional stuff in my life. I’m not really sure why it dawned on me this year of all years, but realising that I needed to take a look at what “letting go” was all about for me was top of the to do list. I knew I needed to de-clutter my head, and open my heart to new opportunities.
Holding on to things that are familiar, give us an identity, or a way of being, even if they may not be in our best interests, or even hurt us. Sometimes its just the easiest path to follow.
Having suffered a tragic loss in my formative years, at an age when I was just beginning to develop my own sense of self and consider my hopes and dreams for the life ahead, these feelings were quickly parcelled up, shut down and numbed by grief. For a long time I chose to hold onto this sadness and grief because it made it real. I feared if I let it go I might lose some attachment, or part of my life and all the memories with it. I felt as though the pain and anguish should always be with me.
Working on changing my outlook and way of being, I now accept that choosing to let go of the past, doesn’t mean to forget, or lose out in any way. The way I see it, it’s simply choosing to take another road.
I now travel along a different road in my life. The old road still exists, but it is somewhat overgrown and wild now. It is simply enough to know that it still there, but can no longer directly impact me and the choices I make.
Taking charge of what is going on in your head and your heart, and deciding on what to let go of in my opinion is so much more challenging than de-cluttering your home and choosing to give away some belongings, even if they do hold some personal memory.
In reality letting go of emotional ties, job titles, and acquaintances, didn’t create a black hole of uncertainty, nor was it as dramatic as I had led myself to believe. Instead it created space to breath, and a positive place to be. I found that 20 year old me again. I needed to be brave and open the box buried deep inside. I decided it was time I developed my own sense of self.
So what changed, how did I go about letting go?
I wrote it down
I started to journal, writing down everything and anything about the past and present. By getting down on paper all the emotional burden I had been carrying around, my load suddenly became much lighter, and by doing so I created space to be more open to change, and new opportunities.
I found “my thing”
I set aside time for me. I set myself a physical challenge of getting fit and running a half marathon. I took up yoga and meditation, to help heal and clear my thoughts. I took up writing, and now this is “my thing.”
I chose to give my energy to my dreams and not my fear
For a long time I focused on the “ifs and buts” of life. I invested a lot of energy worrying about what might be, worrying about others difficulties and trying to help fix them.
Choosing to break out of that routine, to take a risk and let go, has been one of the best decisions. Focusing my energy on my dreams and aspirations is now what it is all about.
There is still work to be done here, and I am never going to be the finished article, but being able to let go, say no, and be truly me is enough.
So what about the dandelion picture? Every year the dandelion clocks let go of their seeds so that they may flourish in new pastures. This for me depicts the process of letting go. Letting go of one life to find a new path, and a new place to grow.
If you’ve had any expereinces of letting go, or would like to comment on this blog I would love to hear from you.