Updated: Oct 5, 2021
October 2021: Letting Go
Falling autumn leaves remind me that there are times and places for letting go. What am I ready to release? What no longer serves me? Is there a belief, a habit, a role, a relationship, a group, an occupation, a location, or something else that depletes me more than it vitalizes my energy flow? When my answer is yes, saying goodbye can stir feelings that range from hesitancy to panic, even as I welcome the shift.
Just as the seasons of the year change in a continuing cycle, so do I as a being. I live, learn, grow, and outgrow the people, places, and activities that formerly sustained me. How do I part with gratitude, honoring the past, yet knowing my path forward will no longer include these once vital sources that contributed to making me who I am?
I have often wished that all within my world would change right along with me at my pace. Thus, I have clung to those dragging me along faster than I could keep up in directions that were not meant for me, and I have dragged others, clutching them, unwilling to leave them behind even when my direction was not meant for them. Why? Fear. Fear of being left behind. Fear of going forward alone. Fear of choosing an unknown future over the known past when the present moment requires letting go.
Sometimes I choose change. Sometimes change chooses me. Either way, the dilemma of loosening my grip can be daunting. Here is an exercise I do to practice the idea of letting go within the safety of my home. I invite you to try it and see if it eases your own process of letting go.
Find a quiet space to sit comfortably. Be aware of your hands. Clench your fingers making fists. Hold for a few seconds, noticing the tension. Release to open palms. Hold for a few seconds, noticing the relaxation. Repeat tightly closing and gently opening your hands. Now picture the object that no longer serves you. Grasp onto it tightly with your clenched fists. How does it feel to hold onto this source of depletion? With palms facing upward, release your grip and allow the object to rest, cradled in your hands. How does it feel to simply let the object be with you without grasping? (Sometimes I end the exercise here, allowing the object stay with me in this new way until I am ready to fully let it go.) If it feels appropriate, imagine the object leaving of its own accord from your open palms. Alternatively, you can use your breath to blow the object out of your hands, or you can simply turn your palms facing down, allowing the object to freefall from your hold. Notice how you feel.
There is no right or wrong way to do this exercise. If I find myself scrambling to regrasp the object after its release, this is a point of information. With this object gone, what do I fear I will no longer possess? What piece of me seems to vanish with the object? What can I put in the objects place that will serve me? Again, there are no right or wrong answers. Even if the object you are clinging to is already physically gone from you, you get to choose, in your own time and space, when you are ready for the emotional release on your end.
May the falling leaves of autumn inspire you to let go. And may your personal leaves release gently with TLC.