The Art of Letting Go
Everyone on this planet is an individual, and we all have different coping mechanisms when it comes to letting go. Some of us may say that we have no trouble letting material possessions go, but we do have trouble releasing our attachments and bonds with people. Some of us may say that we have an attachment to our “stuff,” but have no issue closing the door on personal relationships or bonds we have spent time building. Truly, any attachment we have in our lives to things, people or even animals has shown to trigger immense feelings, and bring about some intense emotional states of mind.
“We are not our stuff. We are more than our possessions. Our memories are not under our beds.” – The Minimalists
(If you are one of those people that can say that you have an attachment to your “stuff,” I would highly suggest watching the documentary, The Minimalists.) Recently I found myself in the middle of a total upheaval whilst trying to downsize the items that I call, “my stuff.” I had made some real progress… or so I thought; sorting, tossing things in the “give to charity” box, putting things in piles. I came upon an old journal where the entries went back to 2007, that’s 10 years! I decided to sit down for a minute in my clothes hamper, in the midst of a total mess, and read my past thoughts, reflect for a moment.
I have always written poetry, since I was about 10 years old. Somehow it just came naturally, a way for me to express how I felt in written form. I enjoyed the twist I could put on my words to where I knew exactly how I was feeling in that moment, but the reader would have to really read between the lines to understand what I was saying. After reading a few entries and poems, I realized how much I loathed, yet glorified my dark descent into depression through those years. I loathed the fact that I had been in such a dark place that I had to write about it, and glorified the notion that I was speaking about myself in laymans terms, yet nobody would know how deep of a hole I was in!
At the time that I wrote those entries, I felt like they were absolute masterpieces of the hopelessness, that was me.
If anyone is interested in the poetry, which I shall deem, “depression in verbal form,” I may publish them in the future, for now I will keep them in my past where they belong. Now back to the attachment factor here. Through reading the past entries, I had an immense realization. I now understood that I had been on an endless search for happiness through human beings, pure attachment. Every time a person would direct a wrong-doing towards my direction, I would blame myself. I blamed myself for why my parents fought all the time, or why my 16 year old boyfriend decided to dump me, or why I couldn’t just be content and happy. I became very good at convincing myself that there simply HAD to be something wrong with me for all these things to happen, I mean…. it must be me…. right?
Thus, my coping mechanism was brought to the light, and in flashing lights it read: “blaming myself for the worlds problems.” See the fact of the matter is, I would attach myself to my parents, thinking that their happiness depended on me and visa versa. I would attach myself to my boyfriend, wondering if he would ever make me happy. I would attach myself to my problems, glorify them, and then wonder what I was doing wrong.
Until I learned the art of letting go.
When we are faced with an attachment issue, someone/something that we look to for strength, happiness, or monetary gain; we must learn to let it go. Sometimes we hold onto things/people with such a firm grasp that they begin to crumble in our hands. We scramble to gather the remnants of “what was,” and try to glue it back together, unequivocally consumed with our thoughts and feelings; nonetheless, “what was,” is no more.
Believe me, I understand, acceptance is a real tough thing to master. It may seem strange that accepting and letting go, are part of one notion, but it is true. When we accept that we are not part of the problem, we can begin to let go of the pre-conceived ideas we held onto for so long; the little lies we told ourselves to get by in life.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
Life after all, is a place for us to learn, to teach, to become and exude the soul that resides in our earthly bodies. Every soul is on its own journey, and yes, we affect one another to a certain extent, but only as much as the universe allows. There is a time and a place for every circumstance in life, but only as much as we allow to affect us emotionally. I find it so refreshing that we get to choose how we feel, we get to make up our own minds about how we feel about something or someone.
Instead of letting outside circumstances, people, things, stuff, affect us; make the conscious choice today to let go of what no longer serves you, and to reside in the reality you wish to create.
On my own personal journey, once I began to let go of things and people that I was allowing to affect me, I began to see the veil lifted for the first time in my life. If someone was beginning to take a toll on me emotionally I would simply picture them in my hand, with a gentle breeze blowing over me and what was in my hand, simply allowing. Not tightening my grip in fear of letting them go, simply letting the breeze flow over, and allowing a gentle calm to flow over me. I would then release them, forgive them, and wish them love.
After this exercise I began to feel and see everything in a different light. I was able to remove myself from the equation on the chalkboard and simply exist, to just be. I was no longer letting my attachments have control over me, I was just living. In this stillness of being is where I have found my utmost joy, for I AM the only one that can decide to let my joy flow, and not let the stream be interrupted by my attachment to a person or thing.
The art of letting go is truly an artform, because any artist knows that a true masterpiece comes from patience, time, persistence, willpower, and personal strength.
The true masterpiece is you, and this is your life to create. Be gentle with yourself, and do your best to not let things, people, or circumstances to consume you, for your happiness is worth much more. Release is one of the most amazing feelings, if you let it happen. The choice is yours to make!