Each year (like many of you reading this) I set an intention, an overarching goal or desire for the year. For the past number of years they have been of a similar theme, incorporating some element of slowing down and letting go. This years’ intention was “Let Go and Let Flow”
During the past few months we have all been forced to slow down, to go at a different pace that we are all accustomed to. Even if work has been busy and you have children at home there is still a stillness that wasn’t there before.
In this time I have seen the progress that I have made while I continued to unwind the years of being wound up but I also observed that there was a lot more unravelling to do. Today I want to share the ways that I have let go so that maybe you too can continue to unravel the years of conditioned stress that we all have accepted as being part of adulthood. And as you continue to let go you will start to receive the wonderful gift of living life with more flow.
Letting go can be very challenging, especially in a world where we are conditioned to keep it together. Letting go has connotations of losing yourself, a lack of self care or even self respect. Not doing what should be done.
“She let herself go” – a cruel and damming judgement.
Maybe this is why I have struggled to let go, having spent all of my adult life trying to keep it together, it can feel somehow careless to let go.
But while we may consciously know that letting go is not a bad thing, our fast paced world of constant demands married with our cultural belief that productivity equals worth, makes it often difficult to do.
Letting go means allowing life to take you to where you need to be. Not holding on too tightly, not trying to control. Not trying to push things into the form that you believe they should take.
I’m guessing you too at some stage have struggled to let go, and the idea of slowing down and doing less seems like inaccessible fiction.
So let me share with you how it is possible to let go and that slowing down is not an idealistic fairytale.
There have been many areas of my life where I have learnt to let go but there have been two particularly significant ones in recent years, and if you feel that letting go may be of benefit to you, hopefully my experiences may help you with yours.
Firstly in parenting;
Having teenagers is challenging, that we all know. But I am blessed to have a teenager who forced me to learn to let go as a parent.
I learnt that my children are not extensions of me for me to control but that they are independent beings that have their own mission and purpose which I cannot nor should not try to control.
And I have learnt that respect flows both ways and respect does not mean discipline, it means seeing a person, acknowledging a person and allowing a person to be who they are.
I have learnt to let go of how I thought it should be, to allow someone else’s life flow in the way that it should flow.
What’s extra challenging about parenting a teenager is finding that balance between allowing them to grow into the adult they will be and nurturing the child that is still there in front of you.
The words of the Lebanese writer Kahlil Gibran echo the lesson that I am continuing to learn.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
These beautiful reaffirming words have helped me bend farther than I thought possible and let them go while they still are here beneath my roof.
In my Relationship;
In recent years I have begun to see my relationship with my husband very differently. We have always been encouraging of each other to live our own lives and to pursue our own dreams. I have always admired who he was, his values and his ideals but without consciously realising it I wanted him to be different, I encouraged him to think more like me, to see things my way.
I often battled with the irrelevant and put energy into the unimportant.
But I have learned to focus on the things I love, to ignore the things that I don’t love and to explore the things that drive me crazy because it’s there that my own growth lies. For in a relationship the triggers and the irritations are pointers in the direction to where next you should focus your attention, where next you need to heal.
My relationship internal mantra has become “Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?” I have let go of needing to be right because we both deserve happiness.
Letting go of Thoughts and Beliefs;
Part of the letting go process involves the acknowledgement of the thoughts and beliefs that have led to the situation that you are in. In the case of my parenting I believed that I needed to control every aspect of my teenager’s life, I believed he should live his life the way I had visualised it and that he would do as I say if he respected me. I had to let go of these beliefs and change the thoughts that said he did not love or respect me when he behaved in a certain way. We can only let go when we uncover the beliefs that are keeping us holding on, the ones that keep us stuck and set in our ways.
In each part of my life I am learning to let go, I can see how releasing the past and relaxing the hold on the present has allowed things to flow. When I let go of my need to control and to push, I am led to the right path. When I stop long enough to listen, I hear the next step.
Flow is effectively an extreme state of mindfulness where you are totally immersed in the moment you are experiencing. Spending more time in the present moment, regularly returning from anxious thoughts of the future or regretful thoughts of the past, the present moment is where we find joy, experience love and feel true inner peace. Practising this present moment awareness as often as I remember has allowed me to practise presence and little by little let go and let flow.
So I invite you today to look at where in your life you need to Let Go. Even start by identifying the areas of your life where you are holding on too tightly? You don’t have to do anything just yet just acknowledge it.
Are there thoughts and beliefs keeping you stuck?
Maybe you believe an 8 hour day is the only way to get things done.
Or that you will never be successful if you don’t struggle to get ahead. These beliefs are limiting and untrue and may keep you from letting go of a life of overwork.
As I continue to learn that too much control does not lead to happiness and that life like butterflies needs to be held gently, I get support and structure from my daily habits. They are like my security blanket, they help me keep things together in a relaxed and gentle way ensuring that there is a structure and support in place to allow me to relax and let go when the time is right.
If you want to learn more about how letting go of the past can help you step into your future, and how to create habits to help you to feel more organised you may be interested in my 28 Days to Habit Mastery Programme where you can learn how to let go of the limiting beliefs that keep you stuck so that you can create the positive habits that will help support you to step into the future.
You can find out more about my 28 Day Habit Mastery Programme by clicking on the image below.