Letting go is one of those topics that can trigger all sorts of responses in us. The fact you have found your way to this article would suggest that there is a heavier, more burdened part of you, that has been holding on to something for long enough now to want to let it go. That part which holds on so tightly can suffocate us with the weight of what we carry. Our emotional and physical bodies can be weakened by the pain of holding on and we all deserve to learn to let go and set ourselves free.
How then do we begin that journey and what may be some of the doorways in to allow ourselves to find peace?
A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side.
The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman.
Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on his journey.
The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After re-joining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them.
Two more hours passed, then three, finally the younger monk could contain himself any longer, and blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”
The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”
I love this story. Like all impactful moments the power lays in the simplicity of the reminder, in this case that whatever it is that we are holding onto it is in the past. It is not to say it isn’t painful, unjust, unfair, and not chosen but it has been and gone and we can’t go back and undo it.
In a way letting go assumes there is something we need to do, whereas in fact, if we can just stop holding on that is where we make space for something new to come in. And whilst the timing is your own and cannot be forced, I know for myself and the clients I work with, there comes a time in all of our journeys when we are ready to stop holding on.
I invite you now to stop for a moment. Take a deep breath, look around the room you are in, tune in to what you can hear around you, feel your feet on the floor or your body on the seat you are supported by and come into this moment. Becoming present to this moment is important because it grounds you in the here and now and allows you to connect to this simple truth.
There are two ways forward through to allow us to let go:
1. The event, person, or thing that you are holding on to can reorganise itself to undo
what occurred and gift you the peace, validation, recognition and or apology you
seek (highly unlikely).
2. Or we recognise that all we can ever work with is ourselves, our inner worlds and we
get to choose how we respond, what we carry and what we allow to take up
permanent residence in the inner chambers of our hearts.
So perhaps the part we most need to let go of is not only the event itself but the part of us
that is still in disbelief that it occurred. The part of us that is still stuck in the unfairness of it
all and who is still looking outside of ourselves to set ourselves free of it.
Can you recognise what it is for you that is keeping you locked? What is that sense of what you need? Is it to be heard, to be seen, to be understood and can you decide to stop looking outside at another to gift it to you and can you go inside to cultivate that within yourself?
It could be through creative expression, through a journal, through art, through movement, through the deliberate cultivation of a space in which you sit with and surrender into the full experience of what you need. Can you suspend the judgement towards yourself and meet yourself as you would your best friend? Most of us know what we would advise him or her and yet we fail to gift that to ourselves.
Ultimately, we can consciously choose to let it go because fighting against it no longer serves us. Because the heaviest and most haunting burdens are those we carry as thoughts in our heads. We chose to step onto a path of healing because if we really want to be at peace and let go, we accept that this is an inside job.
I believe that healing is a deeply individual journey. For each of us what brought us here will be unique and so too is our best path to healing. To step towards our hurts and chose to move through differently can feel much tougher than staying put amongst it all, but I believe if you have the strength to see it then you have the courage to change it.
The good news is it is never too late to start and like physical muscle we can learn to recognise, strengthen, and grow our emotional muscle and ultimately live less resentful, happier, and healthier lives.
As a PACFA registered Psychotherapist, I specialise in supporting people journey deeper into their own truth and letting go. From my consulting room in Bowral in NSW or online from the comfort of your own home, I work with you to look inward, reclaim your inner power and find true joy again. Get in touch with me to start your journey back to yourself.
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