You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles. C. JoyBell C.
Ahh, let it go. The answer to everything isn’t it? So easy to say, almost impossible to do. For some reason we really like to hold on to things. Life asks us to let go in three ways: let go of the past, let go in the present and let go of the future. Lets talk about the past.
We are our own worst enemies when it comes to our pasts. Conversations are replayed in our minds over and over again till we dissect every word. When we make mistakes, we wallow in them. We remember how things used to be, howpeople used to make us feel, trying desperately to remember when things started to change. If only we could close our eyes, whisper some magic words, and wish away the past that consumes us?
Well I learned you can, in a sense.
When it comes to conversations and mistakes, we can acknowledge where we were at the time they occurred. We did the best with what we had in that moment. We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it. Looking at the past with a lense of understanding and forgiveness versus condemning and regret can change your perspective in an instant.
But what about when we look towards the past so much that we deny the present? How do we let go? I learned this lesson when I was pregnant.
My daughter is a gift from the angels. I know this for a lot of reasons, better saved for a different post. Basically she was a surprise, and we shouldn’t have gotten pregnant. “Shouldn’t” in the physical sense, but in the spiritual, Universal sense she was absolutely meant to be.
We were so excited; the miracle of even being able to have a baby was not lost on us. We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to get pregnant! Though at the same time, I was scared and of course my husband wasn’t at all. He said getting pregnant gave us direction and was going to help us make decisions about our future; he’s logical that way. I, on the other hand, am emotional. Emotional down to my bones. And I couldn’t get over my fear.
I was becoming a mother. I was aware of the sacred responsibility handed to me. And honestly, I was afraid of how my life was going to change. I knew my life wasn’t over, it would just be different. Having a baby was going to change all my relationships, my priorities, everything. Not in a bad way of course, just a different way. A new way.
I was overwhelmed. And on top of that I was guilty for feeling overwhelmed. Thousands of women struggle to get pregnant and here I was pretty much just given a baby. In my mind it was wrong of me to feel this way. I didn’t have the right to be scared.
The undeniable truth is, when you have a baby, planned or unplanned, your life changes. And its not just having a baby. Our lives are constantly changing. Graduating, getting a job, moving, getting engaged, marriage, divorce, death. When you walk down a new path in your life, you inevitably leave the old path behind.
So how do we let go of our past and accept our present?
I learned we have to mourn. We have to mourn our pasts.
I vividly remember my mourning moment. I was hanging up clothes in my closet and started looking around at all my shoes. I have some pretty fabulous shoes. I keep them in their boxes and organize them carefully by priority. I have so many I forget about a lot of them and every time I unpack them after a move its like I’m going shoe shopping. I can tell you where I’ve worn each pair. I tie my memories to them. Some pairs I’ve only worn once because the time I spent in them was so wonderful I don’t want to wear them again and cheapen the memory. I have a relationship with my shoes, and its serious.
So there I was, pregnant, sitting in my closet, looking at my shoes and I realized, I wouldn’t be able to wear most of them for a very long time. Then came the tears, and the pity party. I hormonally vented to my husband as he sat on our bed wondering what the heck was going on “You don’t understand! Your life isn’t changing at all!” His life was changing, and I knew that. I was just too busy feeling sorry for myself to admit it. And of course I wasn’t crying over shoes, I was crying because I knew my life as I had lived it was over.
Denying the fact that our lives are changing will only bring us confusion. When a loved one’s life on Earth ends we mourn. We move through the stages of grief to eventually (hopefully) reach acceptance. We can use this idea to let go of our pasts. As hard and uncomfortable as it was, I had to let myself feel the pain of moving on.
I’m not saying we need to stop thinking of our pasts completely. Our pasts are full of happy moments, and experiences we can learn from. What I’m saying is that we can’t live in our pasts. The longer we live in the past, the less we will notice how amazing our lives are now. So have your mourning moment. You’re allowed to.
And just as with a loved one lost, you will learn to accept it, as best you can. You’ll find the sun still rises and the Earth still turns. Life keeps moving on whether we like it or not. No matter how long I stayed in that closet crying with my shoes, it wasn’t going to change the fact that my life was going to be different. I know now if I hadn’t allowed myself to really grieve the past, I never would have been able to enjoy my pregnancy. Accepting the journey I was on made my fears disappear. And I never would have gotten there if I didn’t let go.
Allow yourself to look back one last time, mourn the loss of your old self, accept the loss of your old self, look forward as your new self, and be free.
Next week, Let It Go: In The Present