The Art of Letting Go

Keen Category: Spiritual Advice

A woman throwing blank papers towards the viewer, representing letting go of something she's been obsessing over

Imagine yourself as a large city with all this activity going on. The highways leading to and from you (the city) are pathways of energy. The highways are set up to flow smoothly – sending energy in and out of the city – to the Universe, other people, etc.

Let's say you send out a messenger (one of the highways to and from the city) and you tell him, "Get me this!" But rather than give the messenger his instructions and allow him to go and get what you requested, you decide to micromanage his every move. You tell him which direction to take, check on him repeatedly to make sure he's making progress, and ask him what's taking so long.

While you are micromanaging him, the other roads leading in and out of the city are beginning to suffer from a lack of attention because you're focusing so much on this one messenger and his travels.

When you focus on a particular road (hang on to energy), you begin to put other roads "under construction," and energy has to take an alternate route to get where it wants to go. You slow down traffic (what you want or don't want) and you cause pileups (confusion, imbalance), and may even cause a few collisions (sadness, anger).

Mass confusion results; roads are blocked, cars are overheating, detours aren't properly marked … no one knows where they are going. Well, this picture of chaos represents you when you try to control the direction of traffic rather than trust your messenger to fetch whatever you ordered.

Now let's look at the flip side: you give the messenger a task and allow him to take care of business. While the messenger follows orders, you give your attention to managing the activity in your city and you make sure that all of the roadways run smoothly. Is it possible that the city will run just great … even more efficiently, and your messenger will deliver to you what you requested … without you even noticing how long it all took?

Everything is energy. It is neither created nor destroyed. You are filled with energy. But let's say you are only allotted so much energy to run your life. Out of your 100% energy allotment, what if you are focusing 50% on the object/person you want and are now running at 50% capacity? Perhaps of this 50% that is left, you allow 20% energy for family/friends, 20% for your job, and 10% to attend to yourself. If that is the case, you have a few problems:

  1. You have no room for new energy to come in because you are using it all up. The continual flow of energy that comes and goes – the flow that allows newness and renewal – is stopped.
  2. You are using half your energy reserves to pull what you want toward you. Under the terms of the law of physics, the force of energy you are using in an attempt to pull what you want toward you actually pushes away that which you want most.
  3. You are using so much energy focusing on one object, that the other areas of your life are not getting their "fair share." As a result, your life is really out of balance … and no one can have a healthy relationship, healthy job atmosphere, or healthy self if they are using so much of their allotted energy on one item. Happy, healthy, well-balanced people pull more happiness toward them.

This brings us to…

The Art Of Letting Go

"Letting go" is not just for the big-ticket items in your life – it's for everyone and everything. It's about flow and allowing the energy to move as it is supposed to. It's a wonderful process that, once you get in the habit of doing, puts you in a much happier and more peaceful place. You also find that what you want comes to you much easier, regardless of the size of what it is you focus your energy on. Letting go opens up the highways of energy that were previously under construction.

No one likes to let go of anything. However, when we let go we discover the following:

  1. We give up the illusion of control and we actually gain control.
  2. We trust in something bigger than ourselves.
  3. We bet on ourselves and believe in ourselves and our happiness, without any restraints.
  4. We free ourselves from worry and fear.
  5. We free ourselves from the emotional pain/harm that we often cause ourselves with our behavior and our expectations.
  6. We show we believe in "Divine Timing" – what comes will come when it's supposed to and not before.
  7. We trust & believe in a Higher Power.
  8. We believe that Higher Power will care for us (which gives us a sense of security that we do not have when we neither trust nor believe).
  9. We gain the knowledge that we only suffer by our own choices and our own hand, no one else's.
  10. We gain strength – it takes strength to walk away from something you want for what you know is right (but this lends to our self-confidence in all areas of our life).

Learning the art of letting go is like winning the lottery of life. Everything I mentioned above that we gain is so positive. There actually is nothing negative about letting go – truly! We almost always feel a sense of loss in letting go of something. However, if you concentrate on all that you gain from letting go, the gains often bring about what you want. What you perceive as a loss no longer needs to be felt as such.

Consider this scenario: You have an interest in a particular person that doesn't seem to be going anywhere. In all the time you are around this person, it never quite manifests into an actual relationship, or if it does, it is riddled with problems. And you either spend a lot of time focusing on wanting this person, or wanting "things to get better" until you finally can't take it anymore, shut the door and walk away. And then … this person wants to be with you.

There is a saying: "They come around when you no longer want them." Actually, this saying is inaccurate. The accurate saying should be: "People come around when you no longer focus your energy on them."

It happens because you release the energy that was choking the life out of what you wanted most. You begin focusing on yourself and put your energy into other areas, which causes you to become more balanced and happy, which frees up the energy around that man or woman you finally gave up on.

The sad and interesting thing about the scenario above is that it never has to happen that way. We never have to build up the negative "baggage" (resentment, pain, insecurity, etc.) that we often carry as a result of focusing so much energy on an unresponsive person. We never have to put our life on hold. Our life never has to be out of balance and we never have to "wait." The person will come to us if it is meant to be and will come into our life much stronger, if we just "let go" of our need to control the situation.

This is an important lesson because it doesn't just pertain to relationships; it pertains to every area of our lives. Letting go is a life lesson that allows us to be very happy people.

So why do we have such difficulty letting go?

First and foremost, letting go is very, very scary. In letting go of anything, be it a job, relationship or something in another life area, we are giving our complete trust. Most of us have difficulty with trust. When we let go, we are basically doing that old exercise where we close our eyes, keep our hands at our sides and fall backwards, and hope that the people behind us will catch us. However, in this particular exercise, it's not a person, per se, that is behind waiting to catch us – it's ourselves and whatever pantheon of a Higher Power we believe in.

Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that we can "fake it." We think we can "trick" the Universe into believing we have given up and that we are concentrating on other areas of our lives. We think that if we just stay quiet, try to busy ourselves, and deny to everyone (and ourselves) that we are waiting and putting our lives on hold, then the object/person we want will come forward for us. But all the while, we are really keeping our eye on what we want, fearing that if we release our energy, it will get away. And in the end, it does get away.

The need to control makes it hard to let go. But what exactly are you controlling if you put your life on hold, hang on to energy you know you have to release, and allow the other areas of your life to get out of balance because of your intense focus in one area? You're right – you aren't controlling anything.

On top of not getting the object/person you focus on so intently, you also waste a period of time in your life that you will never get back. We've all done this, so don't beat yourself up about it. Life is about learning and enjoying. Learning to just enjoy life can actually be very difficult.

Letting go is a process and each person releases when they are ready, and not before. One cannot be forced into a "release" of anything and oftentimes, when there is an attempt to force a release, we try to hold on the tightest.

But when we decide to release that desired object … what freedom we find! The ability to breathe deeply comes to us again. We start to see possibilities in everything around us. We realize how silly we are for hanging on so tightly and "waiting" for something to happen.

So what are you holding onto in life that if you were just able to release it, you'd breathe deeper, find more control, and maybe, just maybe allow something really good to come to you?

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