It’s funny how important it is to let go.
I was writing an article about lessons I have learned from my farming life and one of the primary ones is that if I don’t let go of something, it will take me over. This lesson isn’t only applicable to farming of course, it also applies to any other high stress work as well as interpersonal relationships and living in general. Hell, it applies to owning cars and running businesses and playing a card game or cooking a rack of lamb. I can’t really think of a single situation that wouldn’t benefit from an improved ability to let go.
After I finished writing the article I found myself in a situation where I was having a little bit of a problem letting go of something. My mood went to shit, my brain was on a feedback loop, and I wasn’t laughing anymore. Laughing is a good indicator of my mental health. If I stop laughing there is trouble brewing.
I knew I was a bit on edge and so I just sat with it. I didn’t like where my head was at, but I knew it wold change over time. I waited. I was hoping that I wold have an epiphany and my troubled feelings would melt away. The next day I felt like I had a better understanding of the issue. But I could still feel some blockage, I still wasn’t laughing. Finally someone asked me how I was and I opened my damned fool mouth and let my thoughts and feelings spill out. I could feel the blockage open up and I could let go.
My point is that sometimes it’s not enough to intellectually understand an issue in order to let go of it and move on, some times all it takes is the simple act of opening up your mouth and sharing your thoughts with another person.
There are other ways to work through issues and let go of them that don’t involve analysis, like drawing, cleaning, building, or writing. We forget our bodies and minds need to work together and sometimes we can’t let go until we work out excess energy both mentally and physically. Walking helps me relax my body and reminds me that I am just a small human being living on this planet. Walking stimulates all of my senses and can help get my brain to stop running around in circles, even if I’m only walking in circles.
In a broader sense, we’ve all been grasping and clinging to things since we were babies. It gets worse as we get older unless we’re taught the value of sharing. As adults, we have to make a conscious decision to let go. We have to learn somehow that grasping on to things is sometimes not the most productive way to feel happy.
I could sum up Buddhism with one simple phrase, “Let go of all your shit.” Letting go of our preconceptions and delusions helps free up space for the things that matter, like playing bocce ball with friends. Letting go of our ideas about where we were, where we are, and where we’re going allows us forge a real life, one that doesn’t depend on fantasy. Letting go just feels good.
Try letting go of one thing that you’ve held on to for a long time that doesn’t do anything for you anymore. Make a conscious effort to let it go when it comes into your thoughts Imagine that it is a small paper boat, and you are setting it in a deep and wide river. Watch it float away. Feel it disappear, minute by minute.
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