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Letting Go

Updated: Feb 23

Letting Go for Spiritual and Mental Health Wellness

"Let Go or Be Dragged" Zen Proverb

This Zen proverb was so impactful when I first saw it several years ago. The meaning at the time was to let go of a toxic relationship where I was trauma bonded. It said, "let go or you will be dragged into the endless cycle of idealization, devaluation, discard, and hoovering." I didn't really 'let go' until several years later. But it has always stuck with me.

Now it has a few new meanings for me.

Letting Go of How

In my experience, when I have pained and slaved over every minutiae detail of a project, relationship, situation, conversation, etc, it did not go well. Yet, when I knew I had to put one foot in front of the other and figure it out along the way, things always flourished. I'm not saying do not have a goal or plan but don't be tied to the 'how' of your outcome.

What I'm saying is to know the destination but let go of the road map.

When you let go of the how you leave yourself open to opportunities. You might stumble into something far better or completely different that calls to your soul. You might find an easier path to get to where you were going in the first place. I know they often say to manifest what you want, you need to be specific. I would agree to some extent. Although some of us hyper-focus on the details to the point, we lose sight of the goal. The "how" will come so long as you are clear on where you want to go. One foot in front of the other, and the opportunities, intuitive nudges, and divine intervention will come.

Letting Go of the Picture Perfect Window

I have come to find that a lot of us (me included) have this picture-perfect window in our minds. We view the world from this window of how (see there it is!) things are supposed to be. It can look a little something like this. "My partner knows exactly what to say and do for me without even asking." "This job will be perfect so long as I get two-hour lunches and only work 2 hours a day." "The backyard will have the most beautiful tropical flowers next to the pool." Although reality informs us that we need to communicate our wants and needs, jobs have more expectations and living in a desert where the flowers may not have such good luck with surviving. The picture-perfect window is an illusion. It can wreak havoc on your reality and goals.

I understand some aspects can work out. You can work to communicate your wants and needs so that your partner can pick up on behaviors and know what to do. You can build your empire with 2-hour lunches and a 2-hour work day. You can build a greenhouse in a desert and have those amazing flowers. But it doesn't happen without letting it be messy and letting go of the perfection of the window. Splash a bucket of paint on it, take a sharpie to a wall and see how things go. The flowers don't have to be next to the pool, they go in a beautiful greenhouse at the back of the yard. The job provides an hour lunch and offers a flexible work schedule. The relationship has obstacles, but the messy, flawed, beautiful human at your side wants to make it work, and they know your favorite snack or coffee order by heart.

Letting go of the window allows you to focus on what is in the present reality, which is more manageable and pleasurable. It gets you further down the path towards what you want rather than getting caught up in planting tropical flowers in the desert heat with zero humidity.

Letting Go of Fear

Change is scary. Taking a risk is scary. But odds are, if you are reading this, you have gotten through everything in your life, good or bad, 100% of the time. Those are great odds. Fear is an amazing mechanism that often saves us. It also can hinder us. The trick is deciphering the difference. It is a process. I could go on about the knight facing the dragon, but it doesn't have to be as dramatic as that. The important part is facing fear. Of course, we don't want the worse to happen, but the more we avoid it, the grip of fear becomes tighter, and we become paralyzed. We have to face our fear. We have to admit that that is not the outcome we want and still apply for that job, start the business, ask the person out, and charge the dragon. By doing this, fear loosens its grip, and we can manage what follows. You have done this many, many times before. Remember starting school, or a job, or talking to that person? You got through it 100% of the time. Now go slay the day, the life, the dragon in the way of your goals and dreams. Letting go of the how, the window, the fear isn't easy, but there are incredible things on the other side. Trust me. Trust you!

If you are having difficulties with this or any other mental health concern, please reach out to mental health professionals and your support system. We want to help you.

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