Written by Anna-Marie Swan
I’ve been doing a lot of letting go recently. All my life I’ve held on to things so closely. I’ve held them tight in my chest, deep inside my heart, clutched fiercely in my hands. So very many things that hurt. I’ve been full to the brim with all sorts of poison, while dreaming of being pure and light.
So, I’ve been bringing letting go to the forefront, seeing what’s there. What it feels like to let old things go, asking myself who it is I really want to be. I’ve nudged at my resistance - gently, kindly, and with loving patience, along with trepidation and some sadness - wondering why I hold on to some things so belligerently, so completely, with the kind of focus and commitment that would be applauded if it wasn’t so very damaging.
And last night, during my yin-yoga class, I settled in to the deep breathing and the held postures, enjoying the feeling of active release and focusing deeper inside than my every day changing attention. Then she said to start breathing in ‘let’ and breathing out ‘go’. And it hit me. All this time I’d been focusing on letting go of the past, a dialogue between now and then. An active letting go of the old hurts and the righteousness and the stubbornness and the poison and the exhaustion and the confusion, yes. And oh, is that so good, and so important.
But I’d left something out, something key. I’d not been looking at what I hold on to about the future.
Because we live just as much in the future as we do in the past. We sculpt our ideal futures from where we are now and hold them as clarity, and we speak just as passionately and consistently to our hopes, to our future self and the life we hope to create, as we do to our past self and the regrets we hold. And in doing this, we have just as much chance to suffocate ourselves and our lives as we do when we hold on to the old things.
We dream from what we can imagine, our dreams locked into the structure of the image we hold of ourselves right now – what we’re capable of, where we’re going, what we can measure and touch; building our soon on the blocks of then and now. And with this we do ourselves an incredible disservice. Who you or I can be in six months, a year, ten years, could be someone so utterly different from who we are now that we look back in awe. What work we’re doing in the world, how that will look, how we can give back, how we can be with the people and communities we love, where we live, who with: it could all be unimaginable from where we are now.
Let go. Yes.
But keep letting go of the future just as much as you let go of the past. Let yourself be unrecognisable, your future unimaginable.
And when you do dream, dream of what you want your future to include but always, always let go of the specifics. Leave this to life. Dream of an extraordinary love, yes, but drop the how and when and what it will look like. Dream of a home that you feel safe and grounded and in love with, yes, but let go of the rest. Dream of living a life of deep service that enriches the world, yes!, but don’t stress if you can’t yet see how. Dream of being financially stable, yes, but let go of exactly how that will come about. Roll around in your dreams, melt into them, and be utterly moved by them; and keep letting go, letting go, letting go.
Open to life.
Instead of the details, focus instead on who you are today. Take full responsibility for the choices you make. Around money. And your time. And your relationships. And your environment. And your workplace. And your community. Make today the fullest it can be: the most purposeful, the most alive, the most self-loving. And within your day, always, always, give space to life, to creative inspiration, to deep breaths, to being present to the world around you, to giving time to what makes you happy. And stay alert for the opportunities that come your way, the ideas you have, the excited spark, the pull in your belly and in your heart. Get to know who you are.
And let go.
Let life do the rest.