“I realise there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go.” ~Jeffrey McDaniel
Depending on where you live, it’s summer and there are things to do outside or it’s winter and it’s time to stay inside. The great thing about spiritual practice is that it’s beneficial in all seasons! It will help improve your physical, mental, emotional, social and occupational health.
Last week I presented a spiritual timeline exercise but managed to leave out one important point. Spiritual growth isn’t linear. It’s spiral, or meandering, or there are hills and vales, dark caves and bright moons. But for the ease of writing and plotting graphs, it’s linear.
Change is a part of life. It is inevitable and completely unavoidable. We create new cells all the time, we change chronologically, relationships change, people are born and they die. Yet we cling to outmoded behaviors and belief systems.
Spiritual wellness requires answering some hard questions. Sometimes the answers do not arrive readily. It takes a true champion to explore new sacred realms.
In medieval times a warrior or a knight did battle for another, specifically a king or queen, to defend their rights or honor. In today’s jargon, a champion supports a cause. We don’t need others to fight for us. The challenge is uniquely ours.
Online the word warrior is often used to describe a tribe. I prefer champion because it relates less to the idea of war and battles. Some of the imagery is similar but the intent is different here. We are talking about a mystical revolution, a magical, mystery tour where you become the champion of your own well being. You win!
Our topic this week is letting go. It’s a specific form of surrender. “Surrender does not mean just letting go of something entirely, but rather being open and unattached to how something will happen.” ~Christin Hassler
In order to live in the present, you have to be able to let go of the past and stop worrying about the future. It is an act of surrender, as in cessation but not giving up or waving a white flag. Letting go is not easy to do and it takes repeated effort.
Have you considered being willing to let go of:
- A story
- Attachment to outcomes
- An unhealthy relationship
- All of the above?
What happens when you let go? You open up space for something new. As you let go of behaviors or feelings, you create an empty space. You may know what you want to open up to; you might not have a clue. Sometimes opening up to the unknown is terrifying, sometimes it’s exhilarating. It all depends on your attitude.
Can you open up to new possibilities? What possibilities are you willing to explore?
Allow time to feel your unique emotional reaction to the new space. Returning to the present, every moment creates a new opportunity for letting go.
What did you learn by creating a spiritual timeline? Are there beliefs that you were raised with that no longer serve you? Are there spiritual practices you are clinging to that no longer work? What is the payoff you receive by not changing?
Clinging creates suffering. Suffering can be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. It is my belief that being spiritually healthy makes it easier to handle all the rest of life’s challenges. We can learn to decrease suffering with mindfulness and by increasing awareness of our self-talk and emotional reactions.
Does what you believe and practice create peace of mind? Or are you frequently anxious, agitated, or depressed?
When I was living without a spiritual compass, I was frequently confused and unhappy. As I learned skills for coping and learned to accept things the way they were, my life started to improve. So often we want to change what is – change another person, job situation, body size, living space, or whatever.
How do you feel right now?
Allow it to be what it is. Don’t push it away or try to numb it.
Can you name it?
Feel it in your body?
Sit with it?
Watch it dissipate?
What are you holding on to? Does clinging give you peace of mind? Does resistance? Try to remain neutral and examine the attachment – what serves you? What doesn’t? Do you feel uplifted? Lighter or heavier?
Create a physical representation of what you want to release. You can write it on a peace of paper, or create an object, a picture or a collage. Whatever you create, prepare to release it by burying it or burning it or setting it adrift in moving water (avoid polluting substances). Or you can get a helium balloon, write what you want to release in marker and release it.
Surrender is not defeat. Surrender makes you stronger. It is an act of humility when you give up and say, “I release my own desires to the ultimate good and ask (a power greater than me) to guide me.”
We can’t know what’s going to happen. We can control so little.
It’s a challenge for spiritual champions to try new things but we don’t throw down the gauntlet and expect someone else to take care of things for us. We create new small moments of awareness many times until change is manifest. This can occur in a most magical and mystical way.