With the fall leaves dropping, I am reminded of the importance of letting go.
A tree has to let go in order for its leaves to fall to the earth. It is necessary for the leaves to drop to the earth in order to enrich our soil as compost and give space for new buds to emerge next spring.
As humans who experience a myriad of emotions, letting go can be one of the most difficult things to do.
I know we can all relate: We don’t want to give up eating junk food even though we know it would be a better choice for our health and fitness. We don’t want to give up on a relationship even though we know the other person isn’t the right match. We don’t want to give up drinking alcohol even though we are binge drinking every night. We don’t want to give up a job even though it’s not our passion. We don’t want to give up the resentment of feeling like a victim of our past even though it creates constriction in our bodies.
Get real with yourself right now—what is it that you are still holding onto?
What do you need to let go of?
In the jungles of Africa, monkey’s are trapped by hunters using jars which are staked to the ground. A piece of fruit is placed inside of the jar. The neck of the jar is long and narrow, big enough for a hand, but too small for a fist. A monkey can smell the fruit inside of the jar and sticks its hand in to grab the fruit. Once a monkey’s hand is in the jar, it immediately clenches its fist, holding onto the fruit. A monkey can not pull it’s hand out of the jar while making a fist.
In order to be free, all a monkey has to do is let go of the fruit and slide its hand out. It’s then free to go eat as much fruit as it wants elsewhere. However, a monkey will stay clenching that fruit for hours, even when the threat of hunters come.
Can’t we all relate? How many times have you held onto something so tightly even though it’s literally killing you?
It’s time to let go and stop trapping ourselves.
Steps for letting go:
1. Have the courage and willingness to be open to releasing that which no longer serves you.
Say out loud, “I am willing to release what no longer serves me.” Keep saying it until it feels real for you. You can also write this out and leave yourself reminders.
2. Identify the physical sensation inside of your body where the discomfort of your holding on exists (it may be in your belly or your chest).
Bravely feel and breathe into this place. Feel all of the emotions and sensations that arise. You have to feel it to heal it. As each emotion and sensation arises, allow your breath to slowly begin to penetrate and soften the pain and discomfort.
3. Honestly ask yourself what is beneath the emotions and sensations that arise.
For example, if you are having a hard time letting go of a boyfriend, ask yourself what is it that’s so hard about it? Are you afraid of being alone? Do you think no one else will ever love you? Not wanting to let go is a symptom and a cover up for something else that is really going on. If you don’t want to let go of your boyfriend because you’re afraid that no one else will ever love you, then the real issue going on is that you don’t love yourself. You want someone else to do it for you, hence why you don’t want to let go.
4. Give to yourself what you are hoping to get by holding on.
With the example of holding onto a boyfriend to receive love, ask yourself, how can you love yourself instead? Everyone is unique and different, so how you love yourself may be different than the person next to you. Perhaps you’ve been meaning to join a meet-up group or you’ve been wanting to commit to a yoga practice but can’t seem to get your butt in gear. Take a baby step of giving to yourself that which you are seeking by holding on.
We hold on so tightly to things, people, situations and circumstances because we are looking for something outside of ourselves to meet our needs. We feel incomplete, so we think that something out there will complete us. Once we begin to give to ourselves from the inside, we become less reliant on the need to hold onto something from the outside.
The next time you feel that gripping feeling of not wanting to let go, follow these steps. You will begin to dance with the ebb and flow of life rather than trying to hold on and control it.
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Assistant Editor: Gabriela Magana/Editor: Bryonie Wise