So here we are… writing and reading about letting go and I’d be willing to guess that neither you nor I do this well on a regular basis. I would love it to be as simple as unclenching our fists, letting our fingers uncurl and our palms flatten, opening up to the universe and releasing it all. Releasing and letting go of everything that does not serve us. So much of what we hang on to and strive for and present to others just does not serve us in any meaningful way. Not only does it not serve us, it damages us, or at the very least, it lessens us and moves us away from being able to “embrace who we really are.” Why is it so challenging to let go? Why are we always striving, sometimes without even realizing it, to be something else, something better, something more?
In my own life, I am often unable to let go. I think this inability to let go causes me to become less of who I truly am. I am so good at comparison it’s frightening, and it’s made worse by the fact that I am a yoga teacher! By definition, I am supposed to be in alignment with mind, body and spirit, and NOT driven by EGO. This ego is the part of me that loves to compare. Paul Selig calls ego the “small self.” I like this definition because I feel I am made smaller when I let my ego run the show. My ego tells me I am not strong enough, not flexible enough, not skinny enough, not Zen enough (oh my) and worst of all, just plain not enough. It keeps me in a place of comparison, which makes me feel small.
When I do stop comparing, I can let go of striving to be something I am not. I am content to be myself. It is important to emphasize that "letting go" does not mean giving up. It does not mean we stop being the best we can be. We continue to do our best. But we recognize that our best in that moment, with the tools and knowledge we have in that moment, really is enough. If we can show our true selves and take the risk that our best may not be perfect, or even close to perfect, we then can resist the small self, the ego. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we can begin the process of becoming our true selves. Anna Quindlen says it best, “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
To be that complete person, we all need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. When we do this we are being our true selves, with our wrinkles, our fears, our dreams. Only then, are we authentic. Living authentically. It is only in this place of vulnerability and authenticity that we are truly able to “let go.” It is actually quite freeing. Once we understand this truth, the next step is to put it into action. Brené Brown calls this “wholehearted living.” I have found that this is a lifelong journey that requires constant practice. I do this by telling my truth (my child has depression, I am worried about my marriage, I made a huge mistake doing ___, I spent the entire morning in bed, etc.) to a close friend or friends. I have chosen these friends carefully. They are my confidants. I share with them my true self, no matter how scared I am. They, in turn, love me unconditionally and in doing so they move me towards “becoming my true self.”
To remember that we are enough, we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, practice self-compassion and ignore that voice in our heads that yells what will people think? When we recognize that we are enough, we can live authentically and embrace who we are. Oprah wisely states “the whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.”
Since the ability to let go is not always easy, I have several practices to share. Some of these have been in my life for a long time and have been the source of inspiration for me. Things to try:
Journal. Keep a daily journal of gratitudes, blessings and/or joys. Write down THREE at the end of each day. Re-read this occasionally.
Meditation. Practice this 18-minute breath and presence meditation: www.tarabrach.com/meditation-breath-presence/
Mindfulness. Try this Basics of Mindfulness Meditation 28-day audio program: elishagoldstein.com/ecourses/basics-of-mindfulness-meditation/resources/
Yoga. "Using Yoga to Stretch the Mind": bit.ly/YogatoStretchtheMind
Practice self-compassion by Kristin Neff: self-compassion.org/
Listen to relaxing music. Check out Spotify: Clia Tierney's "Gentle Yoga" playlist.
Stillness. Find time each day to PAUSE and TAKE 10 DEEP BREATHS. Be still. Perhaps practice self-talk by saying to yourself "I’m feeling vulnerable. That’s okay. I’m grateful for ________."
Revel in nature. Take a walk outside. Notice the beauty all around you. Listen to the birds sing and the rustle of the leaves. Breathe deeply.
Be of service.
Say NO to something today. Take a nap.
Read anything by Brené Brown. My favorite is The Gifts of Imperfection. Another amazing author and spiritual leader is Tara Brach. One of my favorite books of hers is Radical Acceptance.
She Let Go Poem by Reverand Safire Rose: https://safire-rose.com/books-and-media/poetry/she-let-go
Clia Tierney, MA
The owner of Asante Wellness Coaching, Clia Tierney helps women move past "stuck" into possibility. She coaches people to overcome obstacles and obtain clarity about their goals. Through the process, personal transformation takes place, resulting in greater well-being, life balance and fulfillment.
Clia's professional background and life experiences as a teacher, educational therapist, yogi, wife, mother of teenagers, daughter and sister have fueled her passion for helping women of all ages identify and reduce their stress and struggle so that they can discover their purpose and confidently move forward.
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