Practices in Letting Go

Lately I’ve been writing a lot about the intersection between values, choices and awareness. In my last post along this same theme, I talked about how important it is to let go even as we invest our effort toward what we value.

Photo Credit: motiqua via Flickr

Photo Credit: motiqua via Flickr

This post is for those of you who read that & thought, “Great Kelly. Let’s see how well you let go when your job is threatened or your kid’s in the hospital!” Oh wait, no, it was me thinking that when I hit the publish button! The truth is, this is one of the great & difficult lessons of this human existence. One I’m a long way from mastering. But experience shows me every day it’s worth the effort.

The practical reality is that during life’s really big challenges, letting go is a lot easier said than done. We can be clear about our values, conscious in our choices and practice mindful awareness and still relationships end, loved ones get sick, the guy that stabbed you in the back gets the promotion, companies downsize or close altogether and jobs are lost. 

So how do we release that determined effort when it’s time to let go? You probably already have some tools in that particular toolbox. But here are some ideas to add to your existing resources. 

  • Do a reality check. Have you taken whatever action is timely and helpful? If so, then own that. Acknowledge that. Remind yourself you’ve done all you can.
  • Allow, embrace & welcome your imperfections. There is no perfect. In fact, the more we strive to Get. It. Right. the more we’re inclined to get stuck. Mistakes happen. Sometimes those mistakes turn out to be great gifts. We always have the opportunity to learn and grow. 
  • Call in your Council of Advisors. Remember you’re not alone. Let the supportive people in your life do what they long to do – love you! If it’s meaningful for you, connect with your source of spiritual support. Let yourself experience all this support, human and non-human, in a sensory way. Let yourself feel the experience of being held.
  • Open into Oneness. Practice allowing yourself to relax & expand into your experience. Focus on your breath and as you exhale, imagine yourself softening, muscles releasing, tension dropping away. On the inhale, imagine a sensation of expansion, feel your heart & spirit opening. You can practice this with a few breaths at any point in your day or make it a more prolonged practice.
  • Practice self-compassion. Be kind to yourself! Witness the pain or struggle you’re experiencing without pushing it away, berating or blaming yourself. Offer yourself comfort and understanding.
  • Spend some time in nature. Feel the earth beneath your feet, the sun on your skin, the fresh breeze against your face. Watch the birds, the plants the trees. Be there with all your senses open and engaged. 
  • Breathe. Come home to the innate wisdom of the body & it’s capacity to teach and soothe you. Every moment the physical body is recreating itself. Every out-breath is our natural, automatic wisdom  in action, releasing what we no longer need. Take three full, deep breaths, especially noticing the exhale. Now, allow three more.

This  is a small handful of practical steps toward greater peace in challenging times. You may find that some work great in one situation while something else is what you need in a different set of circumstances. Life gives us lots of opportunities to practice and learn.

I’d love to hear what you discover as you experiment with these & other practices.


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  1. Winnie September 28, 2015 at 7:28 am #

    I’m getting to practice this a lot right now Kelly, and its not easy. I’m still counting on an outcome and thinking, okay, if I can just get this right, letting go, I’ll maybe get what I want. So, there’s a lot of resistance to truly letting go and trusting my will and life to Higher Power… This is my truth right now.

    • Kelly September 30, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

      Thanks Winnie. I think what you’re describing is what everyone experiences from time to time, myself included. My sense is that this in one of those core lessons we get to learn & re-learn throughout life. Remember to be compassionate with yourself in the process!

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