October 19, 2013

The Constant Practice of Letting Go. ~ Vanessa Fleming

In the last three months of my life, my capacity to hold myself together has been tested in a major way.

I have had a fair share of extremely challenging situations, frustrations, obstacles and sadness. All of them were eye- opening, the last one completely shocking.

The last one happened only three days ago, and while on the trip of my life, taken all to help myself let go.

All of these challenges are extremely personal in nature, and I can’t help but think that they all somehow stemmed from each other, even when they seem so completely different.

I’ve been holding on to the idea of letting go, which is counter-intuitive.

I acknowledge that many of these situations were for the best, and I have not tried to control their outcomes. But I was holding on to each one of these ideas or things without realizing how tightly I was gripping.

A little voice in the back of my head keeps saying ‘let go…let go,’ and I do—partially.

I’m attached to some made up concept of who I am supposed to be, where I’m supposed to be, and what I want in that life.

I am not there and I don’t have what I want.

This last little bit has made me realize that I’m just forcing things to happen by my own nonchalance or inability to give up control. These two different behaviours are completely cancelling each other out, leaving me in a state of questioning and ambiguity.

I sit here, thinking about this concept, after spending day two in Thai massage training, which has been overwhelming and stressful but oddly rewarding. I find my mind wandering to the event from three days ago, and I keep asking myself the same question: if you had known the end result, would you still have done it?

And I keep coming up with the same answer: yes.

So why can’t I let that go? I know I would have consciously ended up with the same result. I can’t let go because, as humans, it’s been drilled into our innate beings that we must constantly be in charge of our own fate and destiny.

And all this does is give us an unofficial license to want to take control of the uncontrollable.

While the last three months have forced me to face my challenges, and every single one of my fears (and I mean every single one), I can’t help but hear that voice in the back, saying, “Let go…let go.”

I can talk about the concept of letting go for years and years, but this doesn’t mean that I can make myself do it. I’ve held on too much.

That’s why I feel that in some way, something out there—the universe or what have you—has decided to throw me to the wolves, like it has been forcing me to learn the lesson of letting go over the last three months. The things I’ve learned so far, in abstraction:

1. A push out is exactly what you need to regain your step.

2. Never let anyone steer you out of the path that has been laid out in gold and finely plated bricks for your journey. The path they will lead you down is dirt-filled and a dead end. You’ll end up right where you started, just without clean shoes or clothes and you’re now not presentable.

3. Sometimes unfortunate situations arise and there is nothing you can do. Nothing. Absolutely and positively nothing. So don’t try.

4. Sometimes amazing situations or opportunities arise and you can’t ignore them, no matter what it might cost. The cost is most likely worth it. I mean that monetarily and metaphorically.

5. If you feel yourself falling, don’t try to hold on to the ledge. It will crumble. Don’t stiffen up. Lay loose and free fall instead—something will catch you.

6. Hard decisions have to be made. Forgive yourself in those decisions.

7. If you have to ask why, then it wasn’t right, no matter what the situation. Accept it.

8. Love yourself. Love yourself wholeheartedly and sweetly, with tenderness and grace. No matter how ugly it gets or how you feel on the inside, find a mirror or a reflection, stare yourself in the eyes, and smile. Fake it until it’s real, and see the love in your heart.

9. If you feel like crying, just do it. Fall down on the ground and scream if you have to. Someone might think you are crazy, but someone might send some compassion your way. Just remember to love yourself, forgive yourself, and love yourself again. And receive the compassion with open arms.

10. Look ahead, not backwards, and see whatever is coming your way. Pick and choose wisely. If something jumps out in front, hug it, embrace it, integrate it.

I am constantly facing the challenge of letting go. Each time is getting a little easier, but I have a very long way to go. I look to the mantra playing in the back of my head, and I continuously will practice coming back to the present. Not the past, not the future—just the right now.

Right now is the only guarantee in this life that I have. And I am okay with that.


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Assist Ed: Renée Picard


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