This has become a mainstream and cliche concept. I myself and VERY guilty of using it.
Let Go…Let God.
Let Go of what is holding you down.
This isn’t giving up…it is Letting Go.
Let go to be free.
And maybe my personal favorite for the purpose of this post is:
I took a deep breath and Let Go.
See here is the thing about LETTING GO…
Society would have you think it looks like this:
When in reality…Letting Go, at least for me, looks more like a woman pulling her hair out while laughing and crying simultaneously snot-faced on the bathroom floor. Eating a piece of chocolate. Saying the word Fuck a lot.
And maybe…I won’t go to generalize anyone…That is just ME that feels that way about the thought of letting go and more importantly the process.
In theory, I would love letting go to look like the graceful picture above and something that I could achieve in a 60 minute yoga class and maybe a 5 minute meditation if it was a busy day. Deep breath in…ok now LET EVERYTHING GO…Exhale. Ok…up and at it folks…you have let go so now rush off because your kids have soccer practice, your boss is up your ass with a deadline and oh your spouse wants sex tonight so you better keep those “letting go tears” from ruining your make-up and who wants to kiss a snotfaced human unless you are the mom of a two year old…and even then…it is just gross. So let go, grab a latte and get moving!
There is a great freedom in letting go. There is a weight that is lifted and a burden that is taken away. It is also scary as hell because you are telling your ego to release control. If you think you are a control freak…take one look inside at your ego and you will realize that the ego can literally not survive without complete control! When you feel that spiraling in your life it isn’t your spirit. Your spirit would be like…hey…it’s cool…let’s ride this wave with our surfboard and catch a tan in the sun because that is all it is…a wave…and all waves pass. The ego wants to manage, retract, outburst and CONTROL the situation at hand until you are so exhausted you collapse only to find the wave actually did pass and there was nothing you could have done to prevent or make it go away any faster. But you are thoroughly exhausted from TRYING to control it.
Letting go has been a staple of my life and a process I have had to learn. It never has been a deep breath in and a deep breath out for me kind of thing.
I have had let go of friends and family for not agreeing with my decision to leave the Mormon religion. That one sucked.
I have had to let go of a marriage and the entire life that I had envisioned for myself, my family and more importantly my children. My ego REALLY went to town on that one and to this day there are still triggers that set my ego spiraling into control freak and what the hell is going on mode.
I have had to let go of a religion and God and everything that accompanies that life and ideas of life and eternity. Wowza! That one seemed easy at the time because as I talked about in a previous post I was mad at God and it is much easier to let something or someone go if you are raging mad at them because the “I don’t need you anyways” approach is much more satisfying to the ego than crying and begging to stay and asking WHY WHY WHY. The thing with anger is…it is the emotion most closely associate with love. And if you do not stay in an eternal anger state, it will eventually fade away leaving you to deal with the love, loss and GRIEF that comes from letting go.
See letting go for me has always been a long process. Letting go requires a high amount of grief and the grief cycle. And just when you think you have “let go” and can spread your arms and lift your heart to sky and sing about your freedom something triggers you and you get knocked back down on your ass only to start the whole process over. And that I have learned…IS PERFECTLY OK. Normal. But most importantly:
The most beautiful aspect of LETTING GO.
It is continuous. It is a cycle. It is an action and not a state.
You may have to “let go” of something, someone or some idea a hundred times. And when you have felt peace it sneaks back months or years later and you will have to revisit letting go.
Eventually you learn that life is a big dance. Letting go really IS freeing. It IS liberating. It IS necessary throughout life. It is also messy…excruciating painful in moments…and such a whirlwind you may ask yourself a bazillion times if it is the right decision.
Letting go doesn’t have to be only a person. The greatest thing I have had to let go in my life is the picture of what I thought my life would be. That is a concept and idea. It included people along the way but it was never a person.
I am not an expert on Letting Go. I am a messy Letter Goer. I cry and kick and scream like a toddler who didn’t get a lollipop, Or better yet HAD the lollipop and it fell into a big pile mud but I still wanted it even THEN because any lollipop is better than no lollipop surely, even if it was just holding the muddy lollipop but not being able to eat it…because holding a muddy lollipop was better than giving up my candy….but my mom took it and threw it in the garbage before I could even voice that I didn’t care how muddy it actually was.
I may go out kicking and screaming. I may have let go the “angry” way sometimes. But I also have become pretty good at it (at times!) and recognizing my triggers and HOW to keep the letting go cycle ebb and flow like the waves.
Step 1 is RECOGNIZING that to let go you will most likely NOT be taking in one deep breath and feel better on the exhale. I am a HUGE believer in utilizing breathing but just recognizing this concept is a great place to begin. And takes the pressure off of having to just simply “let go” like it really is a cliche social norm and EASY.
Step 2 is recognizing when your ego is stepping up and when your spirit is stepping up. Your ego will FIGHT letting go until you collapse. It will not want to give up control and surrender. Your spirit will whisper in those quiet moments. It will speak in love and patience. It will be soft with you and ask you to take a deep breath…and then another and then another. And it will sit with you all night or for 10 years if that is what it takes for you to let go. Your spirit whispers. Your ego yells.
Step 3 is accepting setbacks. Triggers will inevitably pop up and recognizing that these triggers are not your truth anymore but only a setback will keep your ego at bay. Look to your personal tools in these moments to walk with you through.
Step 4 is finding your personal tools to let go. Some do it with breathing. Every day just breathing deeply. Yoga. Journaling. A new hobby. Filling the space with something wholesome. Self-care. Reading. Meditation. Exercise. Running. Praying. Everyone will have something different that speaks to them. If you let go of something you are making room for something new. Recognizing this new and open space as welcoming and exciting will spur the actions for a healthy outlet and healthy new behaviors.
Step 5 is gentleness. Letting go is really fucking hard. And painful sometimes. So give yourself a break if it doesn’t happen overnight. Be gentle with yourself. Nobody else can soothe you like you can. You know yourself best. Let yourself be messy in the letting go process. Allow imperfections. Allow tears of unfairness and missing what you let go of. Sadness and Anger are both part of the grieving cycle and will accompany letting go. Accept them. Embrace them gently. Flow through them.
Letting go REALLY is beautiful. And quite necessary in life. We will all let go at some point of something. Some will do it more graceful than others. There is no right or wrong way. The end result of space and light are the same.
Letting go is accepting perfect imperfection. One deep breath at a time.