By Amanda Votto
“Just let it go” seems to be a common cliché that we hear often. However, there can be danger in just “letting it go.” First of all, have you honestly really ever been able to let something go when you’ve told yourself to? I know for me, if I try to “let something go,” it seems to want to stay around even longer.
I hear it a lot in my classes that people will say, “I wish I could just let go of x, y, or z” – a person, a situation, a challenge, an uncomfortable feeling.
When we wish something to be different than what it is, we are fighting with our reality. When there is struggle, there is no room for healing. We can’t access our wisdom from a place of struggle. When we finally accept what is (with compassion towards ourselves and our situation), we can begin to heal. When we are striving to let something go, we are really ensuring for it to stick around. The saying “what we resist, persists” holds a lot of truth.
So what should we let go of? Here is what we need to work on letting go of- our expectations, our fantasies of how things should be, our fixed mindset, our attachments to the outcome, our judgement, our resistance to what is and are desire for our moment to be any different than it is. When we are able to see all the ways in which we perpetuate our suffering, we can start to learn to recognize and release what is not serving us. In letting go of these, we allow what actually is to just be. This is where we can no longer “bypass” our feelings and wish them away by “letting them go.” When all of our resistance is released, we come face to face with our discomfort. It is in this space of letting it be that we are eventually able to let it go. We will come to learn that our discomfort has wisdom in it and if we can stay long enough to feel it and allow it to release naturally, we can begin to piece all of our parts back together again. There is much to learn from our suffering. If we just “let it go” or will it away, we will bypass the opportunity to learn what we need in order to heal. If we bypass, the lesson will continue to come to us in many different forms until we eventually learn how to be with it. So let’s not create more work for ourselves- it is the very act of allowing and meeting of discomfort with open arms, that we will eventually be able to let it go naturally.
Here is one of my favorite poems:
By Danna Faulds
There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.