Nobody holds the secrets to mastering this life, the answers to life’s big mysteries, or the shortcut to enlightenment. (And if they tell you they do, run the other way!)
What would life be like if we had all the answers? Pretty boring! What I love best about life is the unknown, the experiences, and the adventure of it all. Hear me out: I wasn’t always this way. I was a planner, an overthinker, and always wanted to know what was going to happen next. Being in control made me feel secure, but it also made me feel frustrated when things didn’t go the way I had hoped. Letting go was not my thing, until it became the only thing I had left.
My biggest lesson in letting go, and the biggest lesson in my life, came with my unexpected Stage IV cancer diagnosis. Finally, there was something in my life I could not control. It forced me out of my comfort zone and into a state of complete surrender and trust in something bigger than myself. What a lesson in humility! This experience cracked me open and made me realize that life isn’t meant to be lived through a plan or holding on to things that don’t serve us. Life is meant to LIVE, and I wasn’t doing much of that.
As I rolled with the punches, I learned a ton about letting go. Here are the three tips that helped me the most:
1. Instead of asking what’s next, ask why.
If you find yourself trying to control things, ask yourself why. Think about why you feel the need to know and what if something better than you had originally planned came along instead. Ask yourself why you’re holding on to anger from something your friend said six months ago instead of just letting it go.
2. Practice actually letting go in small steps first.
No-brainer, let’s put this into practice. Practice not making a five-year plan and see what happens instead. Practice letting someone else take the wheel, as uncomfortable as it may be. Practice letting go of that guilt you’ve been carrying around since your breakup or divorce. Practice your charged reactions to small, petty things that aren’t that important. Can we stop nagging our partners for leaving the toothbrush cap off and just accept it and let it go? Cue the Frozen movie song here.
3. Start a meditation practice.
As a yoga teacher, I do a lot of meditation. I have a daily practice that is sometimes three minutes or, on a good day, 45 minutes. We’ve all heard the benefits and seen the studies, but are we actually taking the time to let everything go and get centered? Meditation is my biggest weapon against being too much in my head. It provides clarity, release, surrender, focus, and stress reduction. We could all use more of that, right?
It is honestly the best feeling in the world. Just get out there and live life. Go on that trip, take that class, do that thing you’ve only thought about doing until now! Now that you’ve learned the hard way how not to live, let’s start letting life surprise us a little. One of the practices I’ve been doing lately is feeling the fear and then doing it anyways. I’ve been letting go of fear and expectations and just pushing myself into the unknown. Will you dare to try it out for yourself? You may be surprised at what it does for you.
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