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Lessons From My Year of Letting Go

You know what’s hard? Letting go.

Like you, I’m R E S I S T A N T to this process. We’re a pretty grabby lot, we humans. Once we’ve called something ours — be it a relationship, an identity, an accomplishment, a story or a dress– we want to hold it close. Squeeze it tight. It belongs to us, after all. 

Holding on is comfortable, known and safe. The things we gather around ourselves define us. They give us contours and fill us in. Perhaps, if we collect people and roles and memories and photographs and experiences and things, things, things… perhaps then, we’ll understand ourselves. We’ll be understood. We won’t be capable of being annihilated.

In the past year, I’ve learned a thing or two about letting go. I set out to find new levels of harmony and wholeness, first within myself and then in relationship to the world around me. Little did I know, what was to follow would be a crash course in letting go. I’ve let go of a marriage to an incredible human (with much love and clarity, but… ouch), a support system, a beloved apartment, half my stuff (so many beautiful and carefully selected things!), a city, a way of working, a hidey hole, a comfort zone.

I felt something awakening within me. A deeper, realer, more creative iteration of myself asking to be born. I wanted to walk into newness and, it turns out, letting go comes with that territory.

When we’re expanding into something fresh, we can’t take along those pieces that don’t resonate with where we’re headed. We have to lay them down in order to welcome what we’re moving toward. 

And so, here’s what I’ve learned:

You can let go. It won’t kill you. It will hurt like hell, most likely, but on the other side… oh, the grace. Always the grace.

Loosen your grip, watch it slip from your fingers, feel the jagged pain of the loss. (It’s okay, really feel it. Grief is an absolutely necessary part of this process and you can’t skip over it.) That pain has information for you about yourself. It will show you where you’ve been mistakenly placing your power. Where you’ve been squeezing so tight you’re shutting down the flow.

Give it the space it needs and be very compassionate with yourself. There have been moments when letting go has felt like my full-time job. From the outside, it might not look like you’re being your most productive or exuberantly creative self. It’s okay. Huge renovations are happening underground.

When we release what we’re attached to, we miraculously create room to let go of the confusing stuff we’ve been TRYING like hell to shed. I found pieces of self-loathing I was hoarding underneath all that misaligned stuff. (It felt delicious to say goodbye to that.) Illness. Dis-ease. Heaviness, of all kinds. These things get stuck in the cracks of the piles we hang onto. They too will evaporate if you do the work.

Crying is a great way to move energy. So are acupuncture, music, massage and baths with loads of epsom salts.

And then… let the wound heal. Fill the hollow space up with You-ness. Feel how much lighter you are, how much more free. Last week I visited Machu Picchu as part of a retreat I’m co-leading in Peru. As I dangled my feet over the edge of Apu Machu Picchu, the towering mountain that overlooks that miraculous and sacred site, I finally felt the softness and buoyancy I’ve been waiting for.

You’ll see: you wont be less. You can’t be less.

You’re still here. Clearer. Undiminished. And so: ready for more.

It’s a gorgeous, powerful New Moon today. Ideal for releasing the old and welcoming in the new. Death and rebirth and transformation abound. I wonder what you’re making space to become?

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