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To Let Go is Not to Deny, but to Accept

It’s been about a week now I have felt the niggling of unknown emotions moving in me. As with so many other emotions, this niggling has a pattern.

A deep feeling of unrest, dis-ease, discomfort I can’t name. I have learned to watch and wait, unlike past times I would find something or someone to blame my tumultuous feelings on and lash out.

When I am in process, it sometimes feels like a slow turning water wheel, filling and incrementally turning until there’s movement beyond each individual chamber. The whole lumbering wheel moves forward. And there’s other times a tsunami strikes my insides and emotional explosions occur.

Catharsis is the process of releasing strong or repressed emotions. Whether the process is incremental slow movement or an explosive tsunami, catharsis is good – sometimes scary and good.

The first time I had awareness of the power of catharsis was a weekend in the early 90’s when I faced the fact that my parents will never love me like I need them to. It hurt. I felt the devastation and cried through a whole weekend.

Yesterday, I surrendered. I cried most of the day. it was a windy day and when I sat outside in the sunshine, I closed my eyes and saw sands blowing in the wind. The sands are me and the high winds are blowing away what I no longer need to hang on to.

I am at a threshold of change. I feel it deeply within. The inner niggling is the untethering of past regrets, if onlys, and most importantly, my relationship with fear. Three facets I identify with that are no longer useful for me. They hold me back and keep me small in their controlled chambers.

I have had a relationship with fear my whole life. Pre-verbal to my present self, fear has defined me. As I step over the threshold, I realize both emotionally and physically, fear no longer takes a front row seat. I have befriended fear by training my mind to go beyond my fear. I let fear go.

I’m a spiritual being in a human body and I will feel fear again. The cathartic change is in my relationship to fear, for it no longer drives my car. I am at the wheel.

I decided over two months ago I needed a ritual to mark the threshold I am standing before. I have enlisted my intentions to define my needs. Words are powerful and my entire being is listening. I continue to clear and ready myself for what I’ve been waiting for, preparing for, all guided by my Higher Self, my light within.

Thank you for bearing witness to my journey. No doubt a journey you will have, have had or continue to have. I acknowledge each of you for the hard work you do feeling your way through your journey. To let go is not to deny, but to accept.

Letting go by Nelson Mandela

To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring: it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off; it is the realization that I can’t control another.

To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences. To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another;

I can only change myself.

To let go is not to care for, but to care about. To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging outcomes, but to allow others to effect their own outcomes. To let go is not to be protective; it is to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to deny, but to accept.

To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue, but to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and to cherish the moment.

To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone, but to try to become what I dream I can be. To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and love more.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • This was hugely significant for me. Thank you ever so much. This time in my life I’ve had two relationships that seemed like they might not last. I’ve been wrestling with how much energy to put towards it or not. Yesterday, I mentioned pruning as a significant concept. Today, your phrase ‘fear no longer drives my car.’ I think the fear of letting go of long-time relationships with people. The Nelson Mandela poem was all about pruning. Pruning how hard I work to make a relationship work. Pruning is not about killing something. It’s about getting rid of what you don’t need anymore so that new growth can come. So that poem met right up with my front burner. I’m feeling much lighter now because I’m not killing off or closing a door but pruning. Thank you.

  • Thank you. That was a great reading. I loved the Mandela poem about letting go. Letting go is so hard. I’m struggling with it. It is hard to detach but when you turn the words around, it opens a door. Instead of being in the pain of letting go, it’s the opening of acceptance and gratitude, all these other things that are a way to open your heart and detach with love. Not killing something off, but accepting it. It’s a huge difference. Thank you.

  • Thank you so much. The synchronicity of what you said is amazing. This was so powerful for me. I’m feeling a shift with my adult children and part of that is letting go. Making more room for myself and know they are okay. They’re doing their own thing. Letting go of children is challenging. I wanted to do something yesterday but said no because one of my kids could only do something at a certain time. It shifted for me, putting myself on the back burner for my children. So thank you, it’s a journey I’m still on. Looking at the layers, so this was timely. Thank you.

  • Thank you. It’s gratifying for me to hear people who are in the midst of letting go. Hearing about it and being able to accept. Nelson Mandela’s poem was so meaningful for me because I’ve done that process in the past with my son who is an alcoholic. I never got that detachment with love when I was in the middle of it. But when you come out on the other side and accept them for who they are and let go of your worries, it’s a whole freeing experience. The freeing for something new was a relationship with him that was not based on my wanting to fix him and worry about him. It’s more of a relationship between two people who love each other. It’s made all the difference in the world. But it was hard for me to see that when I was in the middle of it. I don’t know if hearing Mandela’s poem would have helped when I was in it. When I’m in the situation again, I want to remember the wisdom and not have to learn it again. Which happens if we don’t learn it completely the first time.

  • Thank you. I’m going to print that poem and put it up, a whole poem of affirmations. The one that spoke to me was that it’s not my job to fix but to support. I always try to do that with my son. When a child is learning to walk or ride a bike, you let them do it but you are there if they fall. My son is an adult now and grappling with things. It’s difficult for me to not want to fix because it affects my life. I keep trying to send love and support. I’m not kicking him out. It’s hard to know the balance, of when to support, when to fix, when to shut up, when to really say something. And their perception of a parent’s job is often I pay their way. I’ve made it clear my job is to support him not fix his problems. It’s hard, there are so many things I want to do. What the Universe puts in front of us. It’s a struggle.

  • I go through that with my spouse, try to be supportive but to not fix. I watch what she goes through and I want to make it all better for her. But it’s her lessons. So I observe and listen and deal with the emotions I feel.

  • Living with my chronically-ill daughter, there was a point in time when she had to live with me while we were waiting for her transplant. One of the things I realized in hindsight is that my sensitivity and empathic abilities were in my way. I was practicing boundaries physically but emotionally I was being trounced on because I was extending my emotions. As I work with people who tell me similar things, more often than not it’s their empathy that is so far reaching, they feel like they are exercising physical boundaries but they are still extending them beyond their own boundaries inside in their emotions. I found Judith Orloff’s book An Empath’s Survival Guide helpful in educating myself regarding my inside boundaries and inside sensitivities when I feel walked on by someone. I may practice good boundaries physically but emotionally, I’m all over them trying to figure out what they need to do, in my head and heart. And then living with the expectation if they only did this. It’s exhausting. Putting a boundary on the inside emotions is really helpful in these types of situations. It helped me. Going through stuff is hard. We are always learning.

  • The text reminds me again of letting go of expectations. Which is wonderful if you can do it. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t.

  • And sometimes I can’t as well, when I have a strong hold on what I feel should be the outcome and it’s the hum underneath everything. Thank you. Good old expectations.

  • A family member had wise words yesterday. We surprised her with a party and she thought she was coming to visit us physically. She was looking forward to going out to dinner and socializing. When she found out the plans were different, she said ‘I’m just trying to readjust my expectations.’ It’s about going with the flow. I’d never heard anyone say it like that. She was readjusting her mindset.

  • Thank you. I have five adult children whom I launched. That was my aim to launch them. They are adults out there living their own lives trying to figure life out for themselves. I get stuck. There’s that phrase ‘if you love something, you let it go.’ But there are times emotionally I want them back. It’s an emotional want, it’s not a need. Three weeks will go by and then they will check in. If I’m missing them more than that, then I wonder if I still matter to them. It’s an emotional reaction. I know they love me. But there’s that expectation, if you love your mother, how often would you check in.

  • Thank you for saying what you said about your daughter. I certainly find that myself with my family member. I believe we are both extremely sensitive. It’s hard to keep my emotions in check. Even if I’m not saying anything about how I’m feeling inside, he perceives it immediately. It’s hard. You’ve said it before, be present in the moment. I think by being present, even though the feelings of fear and worry come up, they’re not as upfront. I certainly suspect that he is sensing them. And maybe there is an unspoken agreement that right now we are going to focus on the present issue. And he asks me if I’m worried and I say no and try to project that I’m not.

  • I hear what you are saying. More than likely, he’s got his own fears without feeling yours. When yours are in the forefront, that’s all he gets. So being present means you are with him without dragging all this stuff you are feeling in the background. One thing I’ve learned is that I don’t always have to answer the question that is posed to me. If someone says, ‘You’re not worried, are you?” I will answer, “I’d like to focus on the present moment.” So therefore, I don’t have to answer what they are asking and I’m pulling back to the present. It’s a win-win. It’s a journey and it’s hard.

  • Thank you for joining me on this journey we are all on. It is quite a journey. Practicing presence is a key to staying with ourselves. We practice presence with authenticity here, which I have tremendous gratitude for. It’s the key to running my engine every day and my breath helps keep me there. I hope you all have a gentle, present, authentic day. If you don’t, the next breath can bring you back. There is no failing. There is only witnessing and going forward.

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