The New Definition of Letting Go: Advice for Real Life Self-Care
Regardless of who we are or where we are in life, all of us will face challenges. By using the practices of yoga, we learn how to walk through these struggles in a whole new way. We can learn to embrace the storms of life with radical acceptance, fully understanding the nature of ourselves and each other.
I’ve been reflecting on the mantra “Let Go” lately, and have realized that we may be looking at this phrase all wrong. For so many of us, the idea of “letting go” is simply a form of “spiritual bypassing”, giving us a foundation to stand on as we dive deeper into our patterns of aversion and desire.
We use phrases like “I just need to let that go” in order to avoid reflecting about things about ourselves, our states, or our lives that may cause us pain. In doing this, we limit our experience to learn, grow, and love in this life.
It’s time to recognize the sacredness in our fear, anger, doubt and grief. All of these emotions are living proof of our humanity. All of this is a way to compassionately connect to the other seven billion angels on earth.
Rather than “letting go” of these emotions, what if we chose to welcome all of the messiness, the pain, the loneliness, the anger back in? These feelings are not shameful and there is no reason to suppress this human side of us all. In fact, by not allowing ourselves to feel like this, we are telling others that they shouldn’t either.
What if instead of “letting go” we choose to “let go” into everything. Let yourself go into your humanness, to your divinity, to the sacred work of being alive.
For so many, the thought of this is scary because we often think that we will be swallowed up by the dark and lost in it forever. But, through my own experience and willingness to experience it, I have found that the waves of darkness pass. And, when I emerge, I resurface with an entirely new, more profound capacity to love.
There is a Buddhist teaching I love to remind myself of:
“That by which we fall is that by which we rise.”
Let’s give ourselves, and others, the opportunity to rise by letting go into all of life’s experiences and honoring the beauty of real self-care.
Below are a few of my tips for daily living that will allow you to embrace this new definition of letting go and truly take care of yourselves and others.
Rest. Be sure you get enough rest and have a full reservoir of prana, vital life force. Nourish yourself with sleep, food, movements, thoughts and experiences that feed your body, mind and spirit. If not, you will not have the vitality necessary to meet your challenges with grace. Self-care is essential for self-discovery.
Make Time for Silence. Take some time first thing in the morning, even if it is just one to five minutes. Give yourself a moment to be alone with yourself and your thoughts. Throughout your day, you will be accompanied by this enduring silence. From this place, you can meet all resistance with an open and loving presence.
Acknowledge the Divine in All. Give yourself time throughout your day to acknowledge the divine in all things, especially the challenging things. Remind yourself of the ocean and how all the waves you see come from the same source. We are no different. Have patience with yourself and everyone else; we are all simply doing the best that we can with the tools we’ve got.
If you’re ready to dive deeper into these ideas, I suggest two wonderful series that Gaia offers, each with one of the world’s most exceptional teachers: Sally Kempton and Paul Muller Ortega.
“If you touch the hardness, you will find fear. If you are willing to touch the heart of the fear, you will find sadness. And if you move in to touch the heart of the sadness, you will find the vast, blue sky.” – Rick Fields