The first step in letting go.

I hear it all the time, “just let it go”. I hear it at yoga, when I’m laying on my mat as I exhale what’s no longer serving me, I hear it from friends when something bad happens, I tell it to myself so I don’t get too worked up about things. Let it go, let it go, let it all go! In light of the new moon and new year approaching it’s gotten me thinking about the concept of really, truly letting go so I’ve decided to write about how sometimes letting it go actually isn’t the answer. Letting go can bring you to the answer, but the question itself is the first step in letting go. I learned how to meditate last year and one of the things we were taught was to “watch the thinker” or to be aware of the patterns in our brain and the way we speak to ourselves. I was told to acknowledge my thoughts as they are, with full acceptance of what is, and then let it go. You weren’t to focus too much on one single thing but simply acknowledge it’s presence and then move on. So, how can all of these things be related: letting it go, moving on, watching the thinker, and accepting what is?

I was thinking that sometimes letting it go isn’t the answer. Sometimes what we really need is a full acceptance of what is first. We need to acknowledge where these feelings are coming from and why they are there. If we don’t understand why we’re feeling this way then letting it go is easier said than done. Only if we can see these things for what they are and accept them without judgement can we eventually find our way into letting it go. And usually this comes before you even realize it, because you’ve already worked your way through by being able to subjectively “watch the thinker” and now you’ve found your way into the answers.

What I’ve been doing lately when I find myself annoyed or frustrated and in that in between state where I just want to say, “fuck it”, is instead of taking a moment to stop myself my first instinct is to quickly push the feelings out of the way. I know this doesn’t work. So I’ve been trying to ask myself the following questions:

What is it in this moment that’s making me want to “let it go”, “forget about it” or just say “fuck it”? What am I feeling right now and where does it come from? Perhaps I’m anxious because I feel rushed or because I cannot get ahold of someone right that very moment, and that’s okay! But that very moment where I acknowledge what it is I’m feeling, no matter how trivial, instead of judging myself for feeling that way, the minute I honor that part in myself that’s acting like a child, I find that more often than not the things I was feeling disappear and I can move past it with a clear head. That’s what we call, “watching the thinker”.

We’re all complex humans with our own thought patterns. We all have our own dramas we play out moment to moment and day to day, and to truly try to be objective about our own selves is no easy feat. The most important thing I’ve learned lately is it’s one thing to heighten our self awareness and acknowledge our own pity party, and it’s another thing to do it and continue to judge ourselves for the behavior. If you want to do it right make sure that the awareness stems from love. When you feel all the feels just take your moment, tell yourself it’s all okay and envision filling yourself with love or light. When you are watching the thinker you must always be coming from a place of love, not a place of judgement.

After thinking about this and reading various books and blogs over the years with different ideas of moving past things, or “letting them go” it began to raise questions for me about what I’ve learned that works the best for me, and that’s accepting what is. Accepting what is first is the only way that we can truly let things go. Accepting what is is acknowledging that things are what they are and they are out of your control. The only thing we can control is our emotional response to them, and even that cannot always be controlled but it can be understood and help bring us back to our own awareness. Then eventually we can let go of what no longer serves us from a place of love and understanding. It’s only then do we find our way into the answers without holding on to all the other baggage.

 

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Do I need a reason to write?

I haven’t written in 2 months, it’s Christmas Eve and I’m sitting on my bed in Mexico without any sheets because I’ve decided the holidays are a good time for laundry. I just spent the last hour writing about how I haven’t written lately only to accidentally delete the whole thing when it was near completion. Do you see the irony in that? Oops. So, I’ll start fresh instead of trying to rewrite the past.

In the last 5 years I’ve spent the holidays in Minnesota, Thailand, Oregon and Mexico. I’ve spent all Christmas’ except one scuba diving, and every New Years Day in the water.

But I have today off, due to the port being closed and tomorrow off because all the captains in Mexico refuse to work Christmas, which is good for them. I kind of forgot that Mexico is a Catholic country, I got used to walking amongst the Buddhists.

When I talk about Thailand I still use the word, “we” as if I’m still there, as if I’m still connected to it and identify with it, as if it’s mine somehow. I guess it is, it’ll always have my heart.

Mexico hasn’t been a smooth transition due to some unfortunate events, but I do like it here and I haven’t written because I’ve been trying to immerse myself- in the people, in the culture, in the moment, in my diving.

A customer said to me yesterday that the reason he dives is because in that moment it never matters what happened earlier that day or what you’re going to do an hour from now, all that matters is what’s right in front of you. He’s right about that, diving is the ultimate lesson in mindfulness. I’ve been spending almost 4 hours average below sea level a day since I started work a few weeks ago. I love the steady stream of bubbles, the way it sounds and feels, the weightlessness, the way the light comes through and the way the rain drops look hitting the surface as I’m coming up from a dive.

Most of all I love sharing it with people. I’m happiest here, doing this.

I’m sitting here on Christmas Eve feeling like time has stopped for the first time in 2 months. It’s a wave of emotions every time; my Taurus/Gemini cusp of energy allows me to move freely between different spheres, from diving instructor to small town girl to super Yachtie, and everywhere in between. I’m adaptable, easily swept into new things, and wherever I am I’m 100% in. It can be a bad thing or a good thing because I’m prone to burning the candle at both ends if I don’t balance properly.

So it’s almost 2016 and instead of all that “new year, new me” bullshit, I’m looking back on the previous year, 2 years, 7 years and realizing that I don’t have any massive plans for this year. I’m really happy with where I am right now and I’m feeling a maturity and trust in the universe that I haven’t felt before, not to this extent.

I’m blessed to live the life I live and be sitting where I’m sitting, even if it is Christmas Eve, my family is far away, and I’m currently sitting on a sheetless bed in an empty house in Mexico. It might sound unappreciative but I feel the most like me right now.

I can feel that 2016 is going to give me the most important relationships of my life because my heart is open to them. My intuition has shown me the importance of a daily continuous practice. I’ve finally found my groove here, a schedule again: a new appreciation for ashtanga yoga, reconnecting with my meditation practice, a love of pedaling mi bicicleta everywhere along the beach, being back under the sea…

I wrote in my journal last year 5 goals for 2015:

  • quit smoking (that didn’t last long)
  • IDC Staff Instructor (boom)
  • silent meditation retreat (boom)
  • getting off birth control and reconnecting with my body (boom)
  • AIDA freediving course (do something that scares you- boom)

For 2016 I’ve decided there’s no checklist. I’m on the ‘no plan’ plan. I don’t want to focus on the future. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a plan or that insight and goals aren’t important, I’m just saying that I’ve planted enough seeds and grown my own garden the past few years and I’m feeling a kind of internal guidance when I think about the future.

By focusing on the present moment I have every confidence that I will always end up exactly where I need to be.

So Merry Christmas to all of you! Thank you for supporting me, loving me, encouraging me and believing in me. Thank you for taking the time to read my words and thank you for the feedback I’ve received. Thank you to everyone that I don’t know that’s reached out- your words have melted my heart. Thank you to acquaintances that have turned into friends via conversation and a mutual respect.

Most of all, thank you to my family and friends. You truly are who you surround yourself with, and I’m blessed to close out 2015 surrounded by inspiring and supportive souls who spark the fire in my heart every day. YOU have made me ME.

THANK YOU. NAMASTE.

From my empty mattress in Mexico- Happiest of Holidays,
Lauryn