Levels of Letting Go

Have you ever wondered why letting go is so much harder than hanging on?

Years ago I read a quote, "Everything I let go of has claw marks on it." It made me laugh. But, I also recognized myself in those words. How easy it is to hold onto things that are familiar and comfortable, even if they are not really working for you.

Do you ever do that?

Lately I have realized that the act of surrender takes courage. It is jumping into the unknown, and taking a risk on the outcome. Hanging on to the known is far easier, even if it isn't what you truly want. Letting go, surrendering anything takes releasing it, and allowing yourself to "give up" in a sense.

The giving up is peace.

When I first starting the process of "un-busying" my life, I started letting go of some simple things - like craft projects I had started years before and piles of books I was going to read some day. It felt good, and inspired me to do more. But as the simple things were peeled away, the bigger things seemed to get bigger, and the act of letting go seemed like a mountain to climb. It felt as if I was being defeated - failing. Holding on meant that I could someday still achieve my goal or complete an unfinished project, but if I let it go, then I was admitting failure.

How wrong I was!

As I forced myself to be brutally honest with myself, I saw that I was holding on to many things because it kept me distracted. With all the unfinished projects and unnecessary clutter in my life I would have to face some things I didn't want to face. I would have to assess my life and be still. I would have space to quiet my mind and actually breathe. Without the pressure of the "have to's" and "should's" there was space for me to look at my life and explore what I really wanted. I could determine what was REALLY important.

You know what I found out?

The more I let go, the more peace I had. The more I let go, the more I understood how hanging on had been keeping me stuck. The more I let go, the more freedom I experienced. All the things that I felt were so important, suddenly seemed irrelevant. The peace and the freedom opened up space in my life that allowed me to heal. I could see that I had been using so many things to keep me distracted from finding the truth of who I am. Letting go allowed me to be honest about what wasn't working in my life, and what needed to be addressed. As I stripped away things, one-by-one, I had more time and energy to invest in myself. Time that I used for meditation and rest. Yes, rest. I had no idea how much my body and my mind needed rest. When I recognized how worn out and exhausted I had been, it encouraged me to surrender even more.

There is a relief in letting go that takes a while to experience. The space between letting go and full surrender differs depending on how tightly you hold on. And, full surrender sometimes means changing your life in big ways that at the beginning seemed nearly impossible. But, that is the victory (and the ease) of surrender.

It took me months of letting go to open up enough space to allow my world and my life to transform. When I did, I realized it was the greatest gift I had ever given myself. In that surrender I found myself. I shut down the busyness that had me preoccupied and unfocused. It allowed me to find a sense of peace that I had never felt before. It allowed me to begin to set boundaries with people in my life, and get clear on the direction I wanted to head. That is freedom.

Creating a space for self reflection is a real gift. Letting go of things in your life that keep you distracted or preoccupied opens up that space. But, it also takes courage. Courage to be honest with yourself, to be honest with others, and to put yourself first. It also takes willingness. Because without willingness you will never let go.

"Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. " - Rumi

With willingness and courage, I have continued to let go - and into that letting go I have found myself and opened up my soul. Without the clutter (physical, emotional and energetic) I have been able to allow my life to unfold in ways I never expected. Now, when I am feeling stuck I know that it may be time for a new level of letting go. It no longer scares me, because I know that on the other side is wisdom. And beyond that is the sweet feeling of freedom!