Feel the feeling, but don’t become the emotion. Witness it. Allow it. Release it. ~ Crystal Andrus
During Kerry Armstrong’s visit to Mind Body Flow Yoga this past month, I had the pleasure of having lots of conversation with her…about yoga and life. I love being in connection this way. I always walk away from my time with Kerry feeling inspired and in reflection on life.
One of the life topics we spoke about was that of letting go. We spoke at length about circumstances in our lives that were heartbreaking and challenging to move past.
We both agreed that while letting go can be very difficult, it’s so much easier when you do and it provides so much ease and peace when you do. You feel light…you feel free…you feel at peace.
During the first workshop that Kerry led on Friday night, she mentioned that a number of emotions might come up, as the practice that evening would move deeply into hip openers and heart openers.
She invited students to say to themselves, “I see you, I release you,” when and if emotions came up. I really love this invitation. It’s simple, yet speaks volumes of what letting go is all about. We first must see/acknowledge that it’s there, and then, we must choose to release it.
The key word being “choose.”
We have all experienced heartbreaking situations in life, where people have wronged us or things haven’t gone the way we would have liked. Moving past such things is undoubtedly difficult. Part of what makes it so difficult is the fact that the mind wants to hold onto it. You start to think of all the “what if’s” and “if only’s,” and your mind re-plays these thoughts over and over again, like a broken record, which only creates more drama and negative emotions.
It would be a lot easier to just let go and move on, but your mind won’t let you. Just when you think you have everything under control, the old thoughts start to re-surface – dis-empowering you.
So, what do we do? Why is it so hard to let go?
Letting go is hard because it means letting go of parts of your past – parts of you. It also means letting go of your expectations of how things should have been.
Letting go often occurs for us as being wrong or allowing someone else to be right (when you know what they did was wrong).
But the fact of the matter is, it’s all in the past and there is nothing we can do to change the past. The holding on and the drama is in your own mind. You are the only one with the power to let it go. No one else can do it for you.
The process of letting go is like peeling layers of an onion. Self-care, such as your yoga practice, is a powerful tool that allows you to see/acknowledge what’s there, and then, release the turnings of the mind and mental chatter around it. Self-care aids so much in stripping away the layers and getting to the core of releasing the matter.
There’s that saying, “In order to heal, you must feel.” Feeling the difficult feelings of something you want to let go of, and feeling how it shows up in your body, is a powerful, healing process of moving through and past where you’re stuck and creating an empowered life.
The past is the past and can’t be changed. But, you have the ability to create more empowering stories about it. Everyone lives their life and their reality based on the stories they tell themselves about who and how they are. It is up to you to let go, and in doing so, re-write your story.
It’s like sitting in easy pose. We try our best to be at ease – with what is and what isn’t. We ground down into the earth from our seat (creating stability), we sit tall through the spine (creating space), and we do our best to focus on opening our heart to what’s true, versus a story our mind is conjuring up (creating shift).
What do you want to let go off?
Can you imagine how freeing it would be to release what is keeping you stuck, bound, and dis-empowered?
What new story can you write about the past, in order to be free and live peacefully and joyfully?
How will you aid yourself TODAY in creating an empowering story and way of being?
What are three concrete steps you will take TODAY?
Perhaps you get on your mat today, and when those feelings start to come up for you…you close your eyes for a moment…take a deep breath…and say lovingly to yourself,
“I see you, I release you.”