With the changing of a season, the turning of a year or other life transitions so comes often the wish for many to change something in our own lives, to make our time and our year count differently or to finally reach certain goals.
A little heads-up right away: this article isn’t an invitation to define yet another objective of yours and help you get there.
In a world where productivity, achievement and growth are praised on all levels and where we have been taught to strive towards that…where many people actually get exhausted and burnt out from continuously running towards a sense of “more”… maybe we for once do not ask the question of: What can I do more of? But rather: What can I let go of?
You are enough
Whereas growth and personal development can of course bring much satisfaction and joy, let’s set aside the idea that we need to improve or better ourselves. Just for a moment, just for this moment.
When we are faced with moments of transition in our life, let’s take the opportunity. Let’s choose to tap into a sense of what is enough, right here right now. This very idea might feel strange to you or it might bring a sense of relief. Simply notice what’s there.
And then, instead of adding more things to our often already full plate, bringing awareness to what no longer serves us.
Maybe it’s the self-critical and harsh thoughts that can bounce around the inside walls of your head, maybe it’s the constant dwelling on the past or worrying about the future? Perhaps it’s an urge to always compare yourself to others or to focus only on what is not right in your life, with yourself?
Whatever it may be for you…how much more joy, lightness, presence and calm would it bring to your life if you were to let go of some of these unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviours?
Pausing and reflecting
Let’s take a moment together to pause and reflect.
What would I wish to let go of? What no longer serves me? What stands in the way of the things that I really want?
There’s no rush to get an immediate answer, let the question really sink in and perhaps even take pen and paper and jot down what comes to mind.
Let’s not pretend that this should feel easy or be within immediate reach. Because let’s face it, it feels a little bit like swimming upstream, going against the idea of doing more. We are used to setting goals, but how used are we to face these more deeper level hindering blocks that can stand in the way of our contentment?
Taking a first step
Being with it requires the willingness to stop, to tune in and listen deeply to ourselves and to be open to trying something different.
And then we can bring in acceptance, sitting with the awareness of the sensations and feelings that this topic brings up. No need to find a solution right away but rather leaning into whatever comes up.
Once you’ve identified and felt into your wish to let go, you may notice that a whirlwind of thoughts are spinning around in your head. “I would like to let go of worrying all the time, it feels so draining” “But I don’t know how” “This is so hard” “I’ll never be able to do that”… It’s OK, this is part of it. Can you bring in some kindness at this stage?
These thoughts can be so quick to show up that it can be overwhelming and even hard to notice them. Taking a breath and telling yourself “This is hard and that’s OK. I don’t need to get anywhere right here, right now. I am practicing to let go”.
You may wish to practice also while listening to a short meditation on letting go, such as this short 4-minute practice.
For now, these steps can be more than enough to get started. Because as most things in life, this too takes practice. When things start to pile up or when life feels overwhelming, know that you can come back to this practice.
Starting with one inhale and one exhale, knowing that you don’t need to do anything more or that you don’t necessarily need to get anywhere.
Breathing into this moment, letting go one breath at a time.