Recently I received an email from a client who had thrown out her back and was laid up on the couch. She was FREAKING OUT about all the areas of her life that needed tending but was literally paralyzed to take action on. She asked:
“I can’t help feeling like this is a sign that I need to let go. I know there is a part of me that needs to soften, but I’m so afraid that if I do that it will all fall apart.”
I think we can all relate.
Just the other day I was recalling a time when I was deep in the trenches of my eating disorder, and how I used to pray for body acceptance. When I look back on it now, I can see that what I was really praying for was to lose weight. I had read somewhere that once you accept your body as it is, that is when you start magically dropping the pounds!
I certainly wasn’t praying to love myself as I was, because that would mean “letting myself go”.
I never in a million years thought I could accept, much less love, much less want to have sex with myself exactly as I was, the way I do now.
I wrote back to my client with an assignment to help separate letting go from letting yourself go, two concepts that easily become enmeshed.
I’d like to invite you to do this exercise with me now.
- On the left side of a page of paper, write one or two different areas of your life: job, career, family, love, friendships, body, etc.
- Next to that column, make two new columns – one that says “Let Go”, and one that says “Give Up”.
- For the next five minutes, fill in the two columns on the right. Just let your consciousness take a big, fat dump. Ready? Go!
What I find every time I do this exercise, and what I hope you found too, is that letting go is in fact quite different from giving up.
We think letting go will turn our lives into a hot mess.
But in fact, letting go is often the most GRACEFUL thing a person can do.
Letting go means being like the gorgeous river stone that allows water to shape it into smooth, polished perfection.
Letting go means taking an elegant bow to the power of being fluid over being solid.
Letting go means WE, instead of just me.
Letting go means admitting that the my human mind is in fact limited in what it has the power to do, and that if I’m willing to loosen my grip, even just a little, I make room for help to arrive.
You know who really ROCKS at letting go? A rose.
As the Mae West of the floral world she arrives tight and closed, concealing soul-quenching beauty beneath her folds. The price of admission to that big burlesque of a bloom? To just…patiently….wait.
The definition of the word “let” is: “to allow”.
The definition of the word “go” is: “to move from one place to another”.
Imagine if all you had to do to make real progress, and move from one place to another, was to slow down and allow?
(To my client who asked the question: makes the couch seem a hell of alot more productive, hey?)
With A Wet Handful of Smooth Pebbles,
Image via Flirty Fleurs