Last week I watched a life end. It was, as you can imagine a sad, beautiful and powerful experience. I was there to support people I love to say goodbye to someone they loved. So it was a surprise at how much it affected me. Somewhere inside a whole barrel of sadness I wasn’t aware of opened up and honestly it floored me. I mean to the point of spending the next day wrapped in a duvet crying and watching tv (a rare occurrence in our home). It felt strange as it wasn’t really my grief at the event. I had not lost someone I loved. Slowly I began to realise. What I was feeling was past grief. Sadness that my body had held onto without realising it.
Two days later when taking a medicine walk I realised that this grief that had lay so dormant for so many was the underlying grief that stopped me fully appreciating my present, my wonderful life which I love so much. Without knowing it my pent up grief has been stopping me from truly enjoying my life.
Which of course means it is time to let go. Now letting go is one of those buzz phrases you hear around. The internet is packed full of inspirational quotes and wise words explaining that letting go is the thing we need to do to move on with our lives. And I completely agree. However just telling a person to let go, to accept and move on is all well and good, but way to fluffy for my liking. As my regulars know I like practical, tangible solutions. So my question is how do you do it? How do you let go of acute pain, of sad memories, guilt of fears that are holding you back? The answer is unfortunately not simple. It takes 3 things action, time and bravery. Have I left behind the things that opened up for me last week. No not at all. However I have taken action. I have taken the first steps to healing my wounds. So if like me you have some seriously heavy baggage you need to throw of the train here are the 8 steps I am taking here and now to lighten my load. Why not join me on the journey?
Identify the pain
Of course you have to know what is hurting in order to let it go. So you have to investigate this. Get to the bottom of the pain. Sometimes it may be obvious sometimes not. There are a few techniques you can use to find what is your pin. To find out both what is the cause and how it makes you feel.
The universal letter
I love the technique a letter to the universe when I need to know something about myself which is unclear. Basically you write a letter starting with the sentence “ Dear universe
Please tell me what it is I need to understand about…………………” Then you write. You write and write and write. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling. Keep writing until you can do no more. During this process there will come and a ha moment that helps you understand. It is a good idea to do this in a private place. Expect tears they will come and be kind to yourself afterwards.
A medicine walk is a walk in nature that allows you to slow down, tune in, shift consciousness and receive the ‘medicine’ or guidance that your soul needs. Basically take a walk in nature with a specific question that you want to answer. When you leave the home until you return do not speak to anyone. Concentrate on your internal dialogue.
Talk to someone
Some of us prefer to talk out our pain. Talking to or sometimes at another person can help bring clarity to our searching. Explain to the person you are talking to that you are trying to understand your pain and how it affects you. The other person needs to practise actively listening and to support you to find your own answers and most importantly someone you trust implicitly. If you like to talk to people but do not have a person that can help you in the way described search out anonymous advice. There are any charities in the world that have helpline that can offer a counselling service and can support you to identify your pain.
Feel your pain
I am a very emotional person by which I mean I have very strong emotional responses. When I feel I FEEL,intensely and sometimes overwhelming. There is nothing wrong with it. Sometimes we tend to ignore our feelings. Pulling ourselves together and pushing them down. It is INCREDIBLY unhealthy to do this. If you are sad allow yourself to cry. If you are angry shout it out in an empty room, on a hill. (Basically wherever you are alone). As a child when I was an avid balletomane so when I felt to much I would put on the music and dance. A friend I know puts all of her emotions into cleaning her house when she needs to release emotions. Paint it out, draw it out, write it out, sing it out, run it out, train it out, walk it out. However you best connect with your emotions and allow yourself to feel it. Sometimes you can do this in one sitting, sometimes it takes more than one time.
Decide to let it go
Some people would say this is the first step but for me it is the third. In order to let go you have to know why you are letting go. There are some bonus in holding onto hurt, to pain. There is otherwise you wouldn’t do it. So you need to separate yourself a little. A simple list pros and cons list here helps. On one side of a piece of paper write serves me and the other doesn’t serve me. List everything here you can think of as to why it would serve you to let go (make life better) to let go or how it wouldn’t serve you to let go (not make your life better). Rationally understanding why we have to let go means that we can easier make the decision to let go.
Ugh I hate this part however it is essential. The past is in the past. No matter how much we want to we can’t change it. Putting our energy into wishing for it to change, to be different is not going to help. If you do not accept you will be resisting your emotions, and that is incredibly unhealthy. Your situation is what it is. No amount of wishing for something different or rejecting the situation (or yourself) will change anything. However, by facing your problem, you can at least begin to address it.
Sometimes it can help to look at responsibility in a situation to help with accepting. In most situations there is always something that was our responsibility. Whether it is in something we did or simply how we reacted to the situation. Accepting responsibility does not mean blaming ourselves it just means accepting our actions.It just means taking ownership for our behaviour and the consequences. Accepting our responsibility in a situation whether great or small, helps us to find understanding. And understanding makes it easier. Similarly by accepting responsibility we empower ourselves. It reminds us that we are in control of our lives not victims.
Forgiving someone for causing us pain or ourselves is challenging. However it is a path to letting go. Forgiveness is not something you do for the other person. It it something you do for you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you need to tell the person that he or she is forgiven. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any more feelings about the situation or forget it. It also doesn’t mean there is nothing further to work out in the relationship or that everything is okay now. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to continue to include the person in your life. By forgiving, you are accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to live in a state of resolution with it. Forgiving someone means usings empathy. Putting yourself in their place as well as acknowledging theirs. You may never understand why they did what they did, but it can sometimes help to see things from their eyes. Writing a letter helps. You don’t need to send it. I find forgiveness is best when it is a cathartic process, by that I mean one you can physically experience.
Looking for the teachings
Looking for what we have learnt in a painful situation helps in easing the pain. Everything in life teaches us something both the good experiences and the bad. More often than not it is the bad that teaches us the most. Look at how you have grown from the pain. Yes sometimes we are scarred but our scars make us beautiful, wiser and stronger.
The only place the past can exist anymore is in your mind. When you are ready to let go you need to shift your focus to the now. One of the best ways to do this to look at what you are grateful for in your life at this moment. A gratitude list whether a one off or a daily list helps. Counting our blessings is a great healing process
Letting go is a process that you need to take in your own time. No one can tell you to move on, you have to be ready to do it. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself and when you have done it you will feel so much better. You have a long journey ahead of you in life and you will enjoy it more by having a lighter load.
HAve a great week <3