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Let it BE. (Or: why you haven’t yet let it go.)

For two years, I tried to let it go. I knew it wasn’t healthy. I could feel the shadow in it, the parts that were less than my highest self (and definitely the parts that were less than his). And if it’s holding you back, you’re supposed to let it go — all the good spiritual texts tell you that. All the gurus. All the smart and enlightened teachers.

Release it. Leave what’s heavy behind. If it doesn’t serve, let it goooooo. I know this is the way, ultimately.

And sweet Mary Mother of God, did I give it my best shot. I burned that man away in so many rituals. I released him with great intention into oceans, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, epsom salt baths… countless bodies of water, trying over and over again to rinse myself clean. I visited energy healers for cord cutting treatments. I tried past life regression to clear our ancient karma.

But I couldn’t shake it. We would find our way back to each other, locked in the same messy, passionate, dramatic, draining dance. So alive and almost killing each other. More than anything, our dynamic reminded me of the eating disorder I disentangled myself from years ago. Persistent. Ravenous. Abusive. Self-limiting. Dark. And sometimes, oh-so-delicious.

As my birthday approached, determined not to bring this over the threshold into my next year of life, I got serious. I sat by the fire, lit a candle, arranged an altar, called in all the forms of support I could name. Once again, the same question: what will it take to really, truly LET IT GO? All of a sudden Spotify started playing a song that was not on my playlist.

“When I find myself in times of trouble, 

Mother Mary comes to me.

Speaking words of wisdom…

Let it be.”

Huh. Not “let it go.” LET IT BE. A lightning bolt of clarity tore through me and every hair on my body stood on end.

This is the step I’ve been trying to skip over. This is not about HIM. This is about whatever is inside of ME that keeps me available for this dynamic. This is about my own pain, my own limiting beliefs. There is nothing he says to me that is any meaner than the things the secret voice in my head says to myself. If I didn’t have those parts, I would have already walked away. If I didn’t believe — somewhere in here — this is the best relationship I deserve, I would be having a better one. 

I have to actually SEE that. I have to know that. I have to let it be. 

OUCH.

It’s much easier to point the finger outside of ourselves, to blame someone else for our pain. But in that moment I saw what needed excavating, and it was inside me.

What followed was an intense week of feeling that which I’d rather not, deep grieving, breathing, twisting myself into and out of knots, crying, raging, forgiving. (And a really powerful treatment by a Mayan shamanic healer involving an egg. You gotta do the work yourself, but a little well-timed support never hurt anybody.)

And then . . . it moved.  Like, finally. And for real. Poof.

Whatever is in your life that doesn’t belong there has wisdom for you. Be it a person, a dynamic, a struggle, an addiction, a shitty story playing out over and over and over again . . . it is a teacher. Obviously, you want it gone. But if you could just let it go, you would have done that already. Real growth begins with looking at what is. Before you can let it go, you have to BE WITH IT.

The negative patterns we attract into our lives are not *us*. We — you, me, that guy, all of us — are divine beings of love. The crappy things are the result of faulty wiring and mistaken beliefs, piled on top of who we really are. But wanting the symptoms of these patterns to disappear without understanding where they come from is like wishing the kitchen would stop smelling without having to take out the trash. It’s never fun to stick your hands in it and bring it up close to your nose and possibly get garbage juice on your shoes. But intimately acknowledging its existence is the only way to get it to move.

Here is what I’ve learned, my friends: the only way out is through. Feel the excruciating pain. Breathe into it. Dance with it. Stick your hands in it. You might feel like it will kill you but I promise it won’t. This is what our wounded places want from us. Just to be known, accepted, loved. That’s what heals them.

Know. Accept. Love. 

Let it be, and it moves. It wants to move. On the other side of the knowing and accepting and loving, you can let it go. And you’ll know it’s real when it only takes one good, solid try.

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