Letting Go of What Doesn’t Serve You and Embracing What Does

At a yoga class during the last week of 2014, my fellow students and I were asked to focus on something that no longer served us, something we wanted to let go of as we move into the new year. Suspecting this theme would come up, I already had some ideas in mind when I got to class that morning.

Letting Go

There are many things in my life that don’t serve me. I hold on to most of them because I’m not sure what the alternatives are and because most of them don’t really harm me either. It would be easy to let go of the old if we knew where we wanted to go and how to get there.

That said, there are certainly things I need to release, like regret. Regret serves no purpose; it’s not even filling space until I figure out what to do next with my life. It just makes me miserable. I can’t change the experiences I’ve had or the choices of made in the past. So I need to let go of regret and accept that what’s done (or not done) is history.

After regret, I want to let go of apologizing for who I am. I’ve had some great practice at this recently. I said no more than once without feeling (too) guilty about it, something that isn’t easy for me to do. I was being pulled in too many directions, and I was overwhelmed, so I had to say a few nos so I’d have the energy to be fully present when I did say yes.

Message from the Angels

At the end of class, we all picked from a deck of angel cards, an activity that always gets me thinking and often writing too. I wondered if I’d pick the word “regret” or “guilt.” That would be an awesome clear sign from the universe that I’m on the right track.

Instead, my word was “support.”

I stared at the card for a few moments because it didn’t seem right at all. Was this card suggesting I need to be more supportive? I quickly eliminated that idea. It seems (to me anyway) that one thing I do a lot of is listen to and support others. In fact, I’d been deep into support mode the last few weeks following an event that caused a swell of emotional turmoil for some of the people in my life. I found myself listening a lot, and I was told more than once it was good talking to me.

So why was I holding this card? It wasn’t telling me I should let go of my role of being supportive, was it? That didn’t seem right either.

Then it dawned on me that support was the right word for me after all. It’s not that I need to be more or less supportive, but that I need to stop denying I also need support. I’ve been cast in the role of listener for so long that I’ve learned to act like I don’t need to be heard. What is that really about?

Know What You Need

For me, acknowledging that I also need support presents a problem because of how good I’ve gotten at not seeking it. It’s probably the same for you, whether maybe with the same issue or maybe with something completely different.

Once you acknowledge what you need to release and what you want to embrace, the real work begins.

Maybe the best thing I can do right now is put the intention out to the universe. Rather than asking specific people to support me, I can ask the universe for support and see where it leads me. The universe is much more likely to come through, though I’m sure that when it does it will send me people who can help me find my way. My job is be open to that.

Lifting each other up

In case I had any doubts that I gotten the right message in class that morning, the song playing during savasana drove it home for me in that awesome way that things have of coming together when you’re open it. The chorus goes like this:

We shall lift each other up.

Higher and higher,

We shall lift each other up.

Lifting each other up is a great way to think about support. It doesn’t have to be one-sided. Just think how high we all could climb if we helped each other along the way! So I ask the universe for support in letting go of regret and learning to be myself without apology.

What Will You Let Go Of?

As you move into the new year, what will you release? And once you release it, what will you embrace? You may not know exactly what you need or how you’ll get it, but now is the time to take a new step. Set an intention and let the universe support you.

A very Happy New Year to all!

Giving Up Control and Letting Life Happen

This morning, I went to an early yoga class. I thought about skipping the class since I didn’t sleep well, but I managed to get myself up and ready anyway. At 7:40 am, tired not only from lack of sleep but because of lingering sadness over the issue that had kept me awake, I pushed myself out the door.

The issue that stole my slumber is one I’ve been struggling with for a while now. I don’t give up on things easily, but in this case, I’ve begun to feel like it really is time to stop trying. Some things are too draining and too difficult, and it serves us better to just let them go. At least that’s what my “yoga brain” was telling me as I headed to class feeling resigned to the fact that it was time to stop trying to solve the problem on my mind.

Giving up Control

Yoga has a way of calling us to the mat for very specific reasons. Of course, this doesn’t happen every time, but it’s up to us to notice when it does. Today was one of those days. The teacher began, as she usually does, by sharing a reading. This one was about letting go of control. “So often we feel like we need to be in control of everything in our lives,” she began.

I smiled, because this was right in line with the conversation I’d had with myself earlier. I’d set (again) my intention to stop trying to make something happen, because I knew there was no hope. I was just going sit (really, hide) and let whatever was going to happen (or not happen) unfold.

“Can you relate to this?” the teacher asked me. She’d noticed my smile.

“I just had this conversation with myself this morning,” I replied.

At least I’d thought I did.

My teacher continued to read a passage about things that challenge us in life and how we often want to put ourselves right into them and take control and direct the outcome. We just want to say, “Enough! I don’t like the way this is going.”

In my case, the control I thought about taking was going to look more like giving up. I would stop struggling with something that wasn’t going the way I needed it to go.

“But sometimes things are hard because they are meant to teach us something,” was the message my teacher was reading this morning.

It surprised me, because I thought the “control issue” reading would be more about walking away from things that are too hard to control instead of trying to control them.

When the reading suggested things are supposed to be hard sometimes, I was really annoyed! This wasn’t the message I wanted. I didn’t want to be told to keep enduring something that felt way too difficult really to deal with.

So I did what any good yogi would do. I bit my proverbial tongue (the one that wanted rebut this crazy thing I was hearing) and listened to the rest of the passage. If there’s any truth to the idea that things come to us when we need to hear them, this was one example.

Staying in the Storm

It’s tough to think there are some things in our lives that may always be difficult and that the difficulty is meant to be because without those challenges, we won’t grow in important ways.

I don’t know if I’ll eventually come back to my conviction that it’s time to give up on this one thing, but for now, I’m going to try again, maybe just this one time more, and maybe many more times.

I’ll try again, because I was reminded this morning that accepting difficult things without trying to control them is a powerful way to awaken. It’s another opportunity to flex a spiritual muscle. And we need all those muscles to be strong to stay on the path to enlightenment.

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