I used to joke that whenever I let go of things they would have claw marks deep within them. Yes, I am not well versed in the art of letting go. I hate parting with things – unless that ‘thing’ happens to be money and I’m getting sushi, coffee or Prosecco in return. Sometimes my dogged persistence pays off. But sometimes (most times) I end up staying in situations and working towards things when it was no longer necessary or wise.
Over the past ten months or so Life has decided to give me a crash course on letting go. I’ve been a bad student, naturally and Life has been a firm and cruel teacher. For ten months I’ve resisted the lesson until I stumbled across a quote: “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” Thanks Pema Chodron. It was just what I needed to get my butt in gear. I didn’t want another ten months of Life trying to teach me what I’ve so far refused to learn. So, I decided to be a better student. Here is what I learned so far:
1. WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL
Wait, what? Yes – we aren’t in control. I know this goes against years and years of conditioning. We are taught that we control our lives but it isn’t true, is it? I’m not saying our paths in life have been predetermined at birth. What I am saying is often times the way our lives flow is out of our hands. You can put in all the work, you can do all the right things, and you can be upstanding and pure of heart yet still not end up where you strive to be. Why? Nothing in life is as simple as getting from point A to point B. The way our lives turn out have so much to do with variables we cannot see much less control. So once you’ve done all that is reasonable, wise and necessary to achieve your dreams: stop. Stop plotting. Stop fighting. Stop worrying. Stop crying. Stop. Instead, take a deep breath and let life happen.
2. LISTEN TO THE UNIVERSE
Sometimes the thing we want most is the thing to kill us. Seriously. There are times we don’t get what we want: you are turned down for that job, promotion, book deal or internship; dream boy just won’t love you back or dream girl is about to get married; you can’t afford that car and the rent on your perfect house is too high; the weight isn’t dropping fast enough and your eyebrows just do not understand the concept of being ‘on fleek’. And it sucks. Disappointment is such a horrible emotion and I’m sure we can all agree that life would be amazing if we never had to feel it again. However, sometimes not getting what we want isn’t an invitation to try harder. This is not the time to steal to afford that apartment, you are not meant to crash dream girl’s wedding and kidnap her and getting permanently tattooed eyebrows will always be a bad idea. The Universe may not even be saying ‘no’ but a gentler, wiser “not yet.” Maybe you need to learn more before you can be successful in that job and maybe dream boy still has a lot of growing up to do before you could both work. However, there are times the Universe is really holding you back from the biggest mistake of your life. Listen.
3. RESPECT YOUR JOURNEY
Things do not always go the way we plan. There will be many more frustrations, tears and periods of self-doubt than we want for ourselves. At times we will look at our lives and despair because it is nothing like we planned or wanted it to be. We hold tightly to things because letting go would mean that we are accepting that things are not going to happen the way we wanted it to. That is fine. Let go. Respect your journey. It may be a difficult and unfamiliar road but it is yours. Deep down inside you have the strength to overcome. You will carve something beautiful from the unexpected even if it isn’t what you originally planned. So, relax. Stop fighting. Let life happen. It will be beautiful.