The hardest thing I may never truly master in my life is the art of letting go. I have this idea that letting go is simple yet when the moment comes, I can be at a total loss. If I wrote out all of the things in my life I have chosen to let go of it would be an incredibly brief list.
I have to laugh at myself because it is kind of ridiculous. Letting go of things that do not serve purpose in my life should be easy so why is it so damn hard? I hang on to things that are not helpful, not inspiring, not even rationale at times. I wonder how long I can hold on to these familiar emotions and continue to let them saturate my heart with sadness and frustration. I witness other people’s struggles and can easily identify the things they could let go…and often think “why do they continue to have the same struggle within themselves, can’t they see it gets them nowhere?” Yet, I often fail to remember or maybe even comprehend the same magnitude of power for my own struggles.
I know that I only need to let go of things that have no value for me. When I’m sitting in the car stuck in traffic, I can let go of my frustration or I can sit there and hold it in and express it through various explicit salutations and exasperation. When a family member demonstrates their inability to consider an alternative viewpoint I can choose to let go of my expectation that they will gain a new perspective or stay stuck in that place of irritation and disgust that their values conflict with my own. Yes, I can choose to let go of these things yet I often choose to stay in that space of anxiety or pain.
The problem with letting go is that if I let something go there is this fear of “what will fill that space?” I am only now realizing that when I let things go that have no importance in my life, it is quickly filled with something much more powerful and amazing. It is replaced with hope. Because then I am hopeful that the space that was holding on to all of that useless emotion and energy will be replaced with inspiration and love and even acceptance. And let’s face it, those things simply feel better than anger, frustration, worry, and stress. Through letting go, I can release this need to control things/events and how people respond to me. Don’t get me wrong, I like control. Control makes me feel safe. Control makes me feel powerful. The problem with all that control is that it takes up way too much time trying organize things, maintain order, and such. In turn, when I am holding on to things I am unable to be in the present moment for what it is. When I let go I am actually being more thoughtful and present in my life than any other time I choose to ‘stay stuck’ in all that negative space. I am able to see the beauty in something or open my heart to an experience that would have otherwise been shut down.
I value being present in my life, I value experiencing hope and love, and I value seeing the good in people. Next time I find myself wrapped up in an inner struggle that I could choose to let go, I will simply remind myself of what it is I value and let anything that doesn’t match up with those values simply go. The best thing that I can remember, and anyone for that matter, is that letting go is a practice. And sometimes our practice will be awesome and sometimes our practice will have lots of room for improvement. I do believe that as long as we are willing to engage in a practice, we will grow no matter how difficult it may feel or awkward it may be. As long as I’m growing, regardless of the pace, all will be okay. In retrospect, maybe this isn’t something that I need to master after all; I simply need to practice and keep practicing until the art of letting go no longer feels like a struggle and instead feels like an amazing opportunity for peace within myself.