I recently read a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn titled, Wherever You Go There You Are. In summary, the book outlines ways to be more mindful and present in your life. There was one passage in particular that opened my mind and gave me a great perspective. This passage was on “letting go”.
Prior to reading the passage, I viewed the phrase “letting go” as meaning trusting others by delegating tasks or responsibilities since I always heard the expression at work. How many times have you heard in your workplace the phrase, “letting go?” This has become an overused term in my organization as work load has increased and managers have been encouraged to empower their employees with more strategic projects.
But I’m sure we can all relate to the phrase of “letting go” in our personal lives, especially when it comes to our loved ones! A perfect example of this is my constant struggle to motivate my husband to purchase artwork and pictures for our apartment. I’m strategic in my approach, but by the end of the discussion I always “let go”; deciding it’s not worth the effort and that I am not going to win! Please note that I do win sometimes! 😉
After reading Jon Kabat-Zinn’s passage several times, I really began to think about the full meaning of this phrase. Here is one part of the passage that brought a lot of perspective to me. As he writes,
“Letting go means just what it says. It’s an invitation to cease clinging to anything—whether it be an idea, a thing, an event, a particular time, or view, or desire. It is a conscious decision to release with full acceptance into the stream of present moments as they are unfolding. To let go means to give up coercing, resisting or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes from allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction or rejection of them…”
This passage brought the meaning of “letting go” full circle for me. “Letting go” is not just trusting others to do the work for you, letting others get their way and/or detaching from something you want, it is much more than that.
“Letting go” is also the trust you have within yourself by dealing with the uncomfortable feelings that might be stirring inside of you and the circumstances that you cannot control. It’s a way of reminding ourselves that there is more to life than this one struggle and we need to empower ourselves, those around us, and the circumstance(s) we are facing by releasing the emotional attachment and our expectations.
I am now challenging myself to embrace this new perspective; knowing that I’m only going to become stronger by being present in the moment and experiencing all the emotions I am feeling without attachment.
Sometimes, that is the hardest thing for us to do; giving ourselves credit for having the right intentions and not taking any action at all except for the “letting go” of our expectations of how things should be or how we should be.
When have you truly been able to “let go?” Or what do you wish you could “let go” of?