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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