Monday, September 16, 2013

What are you holding onto?

Is there anything in your life that you are holding onto even though it no longer brings you joy or serves you in any way? I am. And just admitting that brings a sense of relief. I believe I may do so partly out of obligation, partly out of responsibility, but really, if I'm being the end of the day...I hold onto it out of fear. But what could make someone so fearful that they would go against their inner knowing, go against their alignment and hold on to something so as not to face that fear? Maybe the question must first we even realize we're holding onto something unnecessarily? Maybe I have so thoroughly convinced myself that I need that item, or behavior, or action, or belief, or feeling, or ...person...that I don't even recognize the wool I've pulled over my own eyes. True, it is easier to keep some of our real feelings in check, or swept under the rug. But in the long run, that extra baggage is always vying for our attention somewhere deep in our (sub)conscious.Things that no longer serve us, bring us true joy, or worse yet, create heartache in any way, are like an annoying presence constantly tapping on our shoulder, whispering in our ear..."I'm still here, I'm still here. Pay attention to me, even if you don't want to. I'm not going anywhere..." This message repeats over and over and over again,, whether we are aware of it or not. Unless we drown it out with other things. But even if we do, it's still there, chipping away....until we pay attention to it. And make no mistake. It's not just the big things that steal our time and attention. Everything...everything...has an energy and a life of its own.

So what would happen...worst case scenario, if you let go of that one thing that you just can't seem to part with? Would you feel pain? Guilt? Mourn the loss of a precious memory? Be ridiculed or judged by someone...or yourself? Go bankrupt? Die? Chances are, the projected outcomes are far worse than what would truly happen. 

It is true I  have gotten better and made a real habit over the last few years to let go of as much as I can, both physically and emotionally. I have learned to say to over-scheduling myself. No to over-committing my services and time. No to even my children, my husband, my friends. And I have learned to say yes to myself. I have given much greater importance to the things I want to see, learn and experience. I have also thoroughly enjoyed letting go of as much material possession as possible (for now). I do not keep anything that does not bring me a true sense of joy. If I don't love something, it goes to Goodwill, someone I know who will take joy in it, or hits the trash. Period. There is no longer an obligatory sense about keeping an article of clothing that I may have spent a lot of money on or that holds a memory of an event or a time in my life that I will never be able to recreate. The things I display in my home are not items that I showcase simply because Great Aunt Matilda gave them to us at our wedding or they were inherited and must be kept in the family. Best yet, are the ways in which the company I keep has been sculpted down to those that best reflect who I am and how I want to surround myself. All of this creates more time and space to breathe and to be with myself. Which is something we all need to do more of...just be with ourselves. Don't you think?

However, within all of this paring down, I still hold on to some things. I am afraid to let go of certain things, because within that letting go, there is expansion and the unknown. This is where we can broaden this idea of letting go. Most of the things I still hold onto aren't really things at all. They are ideas, or habits, or outdated beliefs about myself and others and the big wide world we live in. I have said it before and undoubtedly I will say it again...everything we think we know, we don't. At least not in its entirety. There is great evolution in letting go. Less really is more. Less makes space for an expanded experience. And who doesn't want that?

So I'd like to challenge you...and to further challenge myself this week. Lets each let go of one physical thing, one item that we have grappled with for far too long. Give it away or throw it away. Take a picture of it if you must or if you can't bear the thought of living 100% without it. Then lets each take one thing from the inside...a belief, a feeling, a recurring thought, a resentment...anything that no longer serves us...and let it go. At the very least, lets agree to sit in the understanding that perhaps we don't need to give it quite as much importance...or that we can change it to suit our needs more specifically. And finally...lets each let go of one behavior or regular action that we know deep down inside our core, no longer brings us joy or serves our best and highest good. It could be anything...simple or complex, small or large...chances are you already have something in mind. Let us take these things, both physical and non-physical, thank them for their purpose in our lives (even if we don't know what their purpose was) and release them into the world to serve elsewhere or to end with us.

Below are two great links to help you with the letting go process of both physical and non-physical attachments. I have read/used each at various times and have found them quite helpful.

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