This simple phrase is loaded with meaning. I am of a certain age, with an empty nest, and I have done quite a bit of letting go. I have written before about selling most of our household items and moving to an apartment in a new state. I continue to enjoy my minimalist lifestyle, and letting go of those items helps me feel light and unencumbered.
As we get older, I realize how much of life involves letting go. As we watch our daughter’s new family grow, I am reminded of our time as new parents. Infants are completely dependent on their caretakers. Yet with each new milestone, that baby is making his way to independence, and so begins the process of letting them go. The reward is seeing our children become independent adults. Now our role is supporter and cheerleader. We do our best to only offer advice when asked (easier said than done).
I have also been thinking lately about being too emotionally attached to “things.” For example, when we lose someone close to us, it’s obviously heartbreaking. But as the grieving eases, we sometimes find ourselves clinging to items they have left behind. There is true comfort in treasures from a loved one. They can be touchstones in the grieving process. But clinging to them can be unhealthy. I have small remembrances from my great grandmother, my grandparents, my dad, my brother, and my mother. These tokens do not bring back their love for me. That is stored in my heart and never, ever leaves me. Do I need every sweater, every piece of jewelry, every item that reminds me of them? No. I choose to let go instead.
So let’s let go:
- Let go of the story of your past. Let the present moment define who you are.
- Let go of material items that no longer serve you. Less clutter, less to dust.
- Let go of people that are too much work. You will know who they are if they deplete your energy rather than bring you joy.
- Let go of habits that have become ingrained simply because of repetition, not because they actually make you better.
- Let go of lingering hurt and hostilities. Holding on to these feelings only causes you harm.
- Let go of long held grief. Some losses are too big to ever get over, but consider trying to pivot to a place of gratitude for what that person brought to your life.
- Let go of the idea that you can control your future. Worrying about the future is the root cause of anxiety. When has worry every changed an outcome? Life does not happen in a predictable way. Never has and never will.
The heart yearns to feel light. Let go to make room for whatever is coming next. Most likely it is bigger and better than you can even imagine.
“You can’t reach what’s in from of you until you let go of what’s behind you.” ~Unknown