This past year was…intense. I could think of a whole bunch of superlatives here, but “intense” about covers it. Given what I see on social media I know I’m not alone with this assessment. I could go into it in more detail, but at this point I don’t think anybody needs to hear more ruminations about what’s wrong, painful or difficult, least of all me.
As I was trying to make sense of all that intensity I realized that for many (many) years I have basically been moving from burnout to burnout. Always either recovering from or headed towards one. Surviving, never thriving.
Finding myself in yet another burnout I knew my usual way of dealing with life was no longer sustainable. The old way of doing things had to go. Unfortunately old habits really do die hard. It’s been a long and painful process, but a necessary one.
Since we are nearing the end of the year, it seemed like the perfect time to consider all the things that no longer serve me. A good time to let go.
I am letting go of my painful story. Yes, it was hard for a while. Yes, I’ve had cause to be upset. Yet I refuse to keep it alive in my mind through endless analysis. I will take with me what it taught me, but if I want my life to become light I need to let go of everything that drags me down.
I am letting go of expectations. Expectations spark comparison of how things are to how I wouldv’e liked them to be. Needing myself, others or even life itself to live up to some imaginary ideal sets me up for frustration and disappointment. Not needing life to meet my expectations I can meet life, as it is.
In particular I’d like to let go of the expectations I have for myself. Bringing me to my next one:
I am letting go of “should’s” and “supposed to’s”. These are just rules that I made up or adopted from someone else. They make life much heavier than it needs to be. It is much more empowering to focus on what I “could” do, or, better yet: what I “want” to do.
Who decided on these things anyway? Don’t I get to choose? Isn’t “because I want to” the best reason to do anything? (Okay, getting on a soapbox here. Clearly I have more to say on this subject. Stay tuned, I will write more about it in a future post.)
I am letting go of the need for control. This is a big one for me. My efforts at letting go of control sparked an actual anxiety attack at one point. The need to control was so ingrained in my being that it was not an easy thing to let go of. Yet I am determined to keep going. I am utterly done with this pattern of striving, forcing and making things happen. I cannot keep it up it anymore. I am learning to step into deeper and deeper allowing.
As I let go of my demands for life to show up the way I want
I allow life to show up the way that it does:
The way that I need.
I am letting go of resistance. Letting go of the need for this moment to be different than what it is. This can be challenging especially when there is pain or discomfort. But I have learned that the most intense pain comes from resisting what is. What is, already is and no amount of resistance will ever improve the situation. Resistance, while understandable, has yet to serve me or keep me safe. When I surrender to what is, life can work it’s magic through me.
Letting go of resistance enables me to be at ease
even in the face of disease
What I will do is honor hesitation or caution. Just because I will not listen to resistance to what is, doesn’t mean bulldozing over the parts of me that are afraid or even help to keep me safe.
I am letting go of perfectionism. Everyone and everything has flaws. That’s what makes us human. That’s where life gets interesting. I don’t need to do more to feel enough because I already AM enough. I don’t need to fix everything I judge to be “wrong” in my life, including me.
I am letting go of willpower. This might seem like a strange one. What I mean is I want to stop doing things on willpower alone as it leads to striving, pushing and making stuff happen. I have long prided myself on my willpower and power to power through. That forcefulness may worked for many years, but it has also worked against me. Two steps forward, two steps back. It gets me nowhere. Getting by isn’t enough for me anymore. No more swimming upstream, I want to learn to go with the flow.
I am letting go of the need for acknowledgment and praise. Praise from another is nice when you get it, but unfulfilling when you need it. I am the only one that really knows what it took given all that all that I am and all I’ve been through, so I am the only one who can really appreciate it.
It has always been my own acknowledgment I’ve been craving.
Taking care of my own fulfillment and empowerment enables me to go out in the world not needing anything. What I then give to the world will truly be a gift and not a disguised need.
I am letting go of the need to be productive. I am releasing this heavy need for everything I do to become anything, contribute anything or even mean anything. I now believe that being who I am is enough. That to be kind is enough. To be loving is enough. To try is enough.
Instead I long to do things for the fun of it. For the inspiration of it, the excitement of it. For the ease of it. For the joy of it.
I wonder what my life would look like, what it would naturally “produce”, if I did things for the joy of it?
I intend to find out.
I am letting go of the need to be done letting go. Letting go will always be an ongoing process. Some of the things I listed here are things I will need to let go of again and again and again. The more I let that be okay, the more I will be okay.
Every time I let go is like a dandelion seed I release to the wind. Representing my wish, the promise of who I could be without it; Light and free.
Free to move (or not move at all).
Free to explore.
Free to be me.
Free to be light.
It is my wish to be Light in the new year. Not a New Year’s resolution, but a moment to moment intention. I will write more on what that means to me in a future post.
For now let me ask you:
What do you wish to let go of? Are there patterns or habits that served you for a while, but no longer work for you? Are there things in your life, commitments perhaps that you once enjoyed, but now weigh you down? What do you need to release to be light?
As you formulate your answer, you formulate my wish for you.
My wish for you is that you be able to release all that feels heavy. My wish is for you to be light and free. And I promise you this:
When you know yourself to BE light,
darkness, when it comes,
won’t feel so heavy anymore.
Here’s to 2017 being the year of Light.
P.S. I hope to get to a point where I can blog weekly again, but (you may have guessed it) I am letting go of the need for that. I hope to see you again here.
P.P.S. I also want to give credit to my uncle Johan who made the stunning cover photo for this post.