January 6, 2015

Letting go

Letting go is a common theme when starting the New Year, especially as we think about what happened in the year prior. We mull over the lessons that we learned to move us forward, and decide which habits or situations we want to leave behind.

Many of us set goals and intentions and are very optimistic about the year to come. However, sometimes circumstances come into the new year with us. What do we do then? 

For me, it is to let go and surrender to what is.

Let's be honest here: the concept of letting go is weird. How many of you looked at your sponsor or friend in recovery like they were from another planet when you heard those words for the first time. I can only imagine what I said: “Um, I'm not holding anything!” Or, “That won't work, my situation is unique.”

A definition that Melody Beattie uses is “Letting go is a spiritual, emotional, mental and physical process, a sometimes mysterious metaphysical process or releasing to God and the Universe that which we are clinging to so tightly.” 

What this means to me is letting go is an awareness, an acknowledgement of the situation and fear of not knowing the outcome, and returning to the present moment. It doesn't help to continue to ruminate about what will be; the answers will come, the situation is what it is. This can still be a very hard concept to grasp. 

A great tangible tool is the idea of a God Box, Surrender Box, or The Letting Go Basket—name it anything you like. Another tool or ritual would be to write down your fears and burn them.  These tools work well for me because when anxiety crops up, when I start trying to figure it all out, I think about the thoughts actually being burned or they are safe and sound in their little box.

Maybe as you come into the new year you develop your own ritual around this. I have read stories of friends getting together and having “letting go” parties. 

I have been doing a lot of work the past couple months on letting go of the “old me.” I had been living life too long based on old messages that do not serve who I am today. Now, I formally will let go of the approval seeking, the shutting down, the not speaking my truth, and the ever present self judgment (I was surprised when I found that out about myself) by writing down these old behaviors and burning them.

Dust to dust as they say. 


Other articles you might be interested in… 

Realistic resolutions 

(Really) Understanding addiction 

Rebounding from the holiday hangover 

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