My dear reader,
I hope this writing finds you happy and healthy, reflecting on the past year with joy and contentment. If I were to pick a “theme” for my past year, it would be hard to narrow it down to just one thing, but, one phrase that does stand out is “Let go.” This can mean a lot of things, and has.
Perhaps this is fresh in my mind due to a yoga retreat I attended in October. The subject was compassion. Now, I consider myself a pretty compassionate person, so I figured the weekend would be a breeze. You know: do some yoga, meditate, hear some interesting lectures, sleep, eat some good vegetarian food, and come home refreshed. It was a great weekend, but what I didn’t count on was work. On myself. I learned that in order to be compassionate towards others, really compassionate, you must be compassionate towards yourself. Forgive, drop the negative self-talk, and let go. Let go of whatever doesn’t serve you fully and bring you joy.
In June, my oldest son left for a three-week life-changing trip to Malawi, Africa, with our church youth group. He was sixteen. We were apprehensive. We knew he was in good hands, but would he be okay? Would he eat well? Would he be sad and overwhelmed by what he would experience? Would he sleep? In the end, he was more than fine, he loved every moment and, despite a few rough weeks of re-adjustment, he has returned to us a more introspective, grateful, open-minded and faith-filled young man. We can now breathe a sigh of relief.
I have continued to teach yoga (this past June marked my one-year anniversary as an instructor) and, having summers off, I decided to take advantage and teach as much as I could. However, the timing and location of classes didn’t work out as planned and I ended up scrapping a few, using my extra time to enjoy taking classes instead of teaching them, which, I discovered, helped to make me a better teacher in the end.
I have also continued to develop and nurture a solid meditation practice. I began meditation in the Spring of 2014 (part of my teaching certification) and have not stopped since. It has opened a window for me, spiritual and deep. It is my prayer and my connection with God every day. But to connect, to allow the stillness to let God in, I’ve had to let go. Let go of the incessant to-do lists, the “shoulds,” the racing thoughts.
Approaching 50, I’m letting go of a great many other things: the ability to do the things I used to do physically, my appearance (just who IS that person in the mirror?) and being able to adjust that changing appearance at will, the career I have (or lack of it), the friends I’ve lost (by choice or not), and, heartbreakingly, the knowledge that many people who have influenced my life in so many ways are leaving me, one by one.
As sad as all this sounds, letting go has been incredibly freeing and uplifting, but only because I’ve welcomed it and try very hard to look for the lesson, always. By letting go of something, you are opening space for something greater. By having faith in the universe, or God, or Jesus Christ, or whatever you believe, you open yourself up to possibilities greater than yourself. You give yourself a break. You let someone (or something) else take over. You let go.
“Let go of something, somewhere. Become aware, to touch what lies beneath the surface of the skin. Is there tension longing for release; a knot of fear so deep and familiar that you believe it’s part of who you are? Ease into dark corners, locked rooms, unexplored hallways. Gain entry not by force or will but only by softness. Enter by wings of breath, and turn the key of self-acceptance to let go of something, somewhere.” ~ Danna Faulds
Is there something you are holding on to too tightly? Something longing for release? We all have something: anger, perfection, the need for approval, addiction to any number of things, even the pressure of writing an entertaining and inspiring blog post.
Sometimes it’s scary to acknowledge and it can be damn uncomfortable.
Soften, slow down, breathe deeply, focus on the breath and the miraculous flow of the inhale and the exhale.
From this place, you begin creating space. If whatever isn’t serving you is deeply ingrained, it will take practice, patience and persistence. It’s scary, it’s uncomfortable, and it is work, but the gifts can be immeasurable.
Wishing you all the joys and gifts of the new year, especially the gift of letting go. May it create a space of love, peace and light within your heart.