The Magic in Letting Go

Letting Go

Photo Credit: frankieleon via Flickr

True freedom comes from investing fully in life. Showing up. Speaking up. Making determined, persistent, skillful effort toward what you value. And, at the very same time, releasing the struggle, the striving, the sense of force, the stress & urgency of having to have a very specific outcome.

I’m an advocate of making conscious choices. Of living from a foundation of personal values. There’s an important place for applying your best effort toward a value-centered goal.

And there’s a special magic in letting go.

Sometimes the letting go takes a practical and short-term form. We study for a test or prepare for a presentation. We get the help & support we need from others as we prepare. We do our best to get a good night’s sleep the night before. And then, when the time comes, we perform best when we release all that prep, expectation and desire and just do the thing! Like everyone else, I’ve experienced the downside of the opposite – being so attached to the outcome that I couldn’t relax into the moment. It isn’t pretty!

Sometimes it’s more of a gradual process over time.  The way we invest our hearts & souls into raising our children. Letting go in increments as they move toward the frontier of adulthood. Until eventually we let go of the child – parent relationship altogether. It’s the complete surrender of our children into their adulthood that allows a new & wholly different relationship to emerge. Without that complete letting go, the relationship will always struggle under the strain of outgrown expectations. 

The same letting go is at the heart of every honest & authentic relationship. Both people will change over time, in large and small ways. And so too, the relationship will be in constant motion. It will grow, or wane, or end altogether.

This is the nature of life. Constant change. 

It’s one thing to mentally accept this state of constant change and the value of letting go. It’s quite another to live that ideal. No one does it perfectly. We make mistakes. We miss the mark. That’s exactly what’s required. Our minds and hearts want to feel good, look good, get things right. But that desire can seriously trip us up. It’s the drive to get it right that blocks us from letting go.

If we get accustomed to checking in, to listening to our lives, we get clear signals when it’s time to let go. We feel a sense of pressure, fear, anxiety, stress or tension. Often there is a feeling of contraction, of urgency. There can be thoughts of “I have to have this.”

In stark contrast, our bodies & minds register the freedom of letting go in equally clear signs. Most people feel a quality of lightness, vibrancy and expansion. There is openness, curiosity, a sense of possibility. 

Try practicing this sometimes-subtle nuance of determined effort + letting go. And as you do, I’d love to hear what works, or doesn’t work for you!

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  1. Autumn August 23, 2015 at 8:47 am #

    A timely message, thank you Kelly. I have (recently) experienced that I need to actively work towards letting go, but I also cannot force it. A combination of accepting what is, relinquishing control, and timing. Thanks again!

    • Kelly August 28, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

      Thanks Autumn! I’m glad this found you at a time that was helpful. I agree with you about not forcing it. I hope all those conditions of acceptance, timing, and releasing control come together & serve you well!

  2. Winnie August 24, 2015 at 8:20 pm #

    I love that you help me stretch my mind! Letting go of an idea, or a person, an outcome; accepting that I cannot control or change these things but can choose simply to be present in the moment/s. To honor a moment as it is, rather than as I might wish it to be, brings the quality of lightness you describe.

    • Kelly August 28, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

      Thanks Winnie! Letting go – in lots of situations – can be challenging. It helps when we know we’ve made our best effort, and wow, the rewards are amazing.

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