If you’re wondering why I write a lot about letting go of our baggage, here’s the reason: It’s the most important thing we can do. I’m not being hyperbolic, either. That baggage is actually energy we’ve accumulated in our lower selves over the years that sits there and runs our lives…unless we let it go.
But here’s the thing — we have so much of it, and from so many sources, that our emotional baggage overwhelms intrepid spiritual warriors like us who decide to try and let it go. It’s simply too much to try and let go of all the enchiladas all at once.
My mom’s great idea
So what do we do? We take a page from my mom, the late great Darlene Gerken, who advised me, when faced with a big project, to bite off a small piece and work on that first.
How would that work with letting go? We pick a few areas that push our buttons and focus on those.
And by a few, I really mean a few. I recommend picking one big and one small.
For the big category, pick something central in your life that challenges you. If your spouse or significant other frequently pushes your buttons, that could be your ‘big one.’
Or maybe it’s your core issue. In my case, that’s the ‘Be big, be a doer and not a lazy shlunk’ issue I’ve dealt with since childhood. If your core issue is weight/body image issues, focus on letting those feelings go when they come up.
In the small category, choose things that come up most days but that don’t send you reeling. Things like:
-Driving. Make a point to let go when someone cuts you off, or drives too slowly, or too fast, or you get stuck in traffic.
-Waiting. I came out of the womb impatient. If that’s you, try this one. Let go when you feel that low-level seethe coming on from waiting in line at the grocery store, stopped at a red light, or waiting on hold for Delta Airlines for hours on end.
-Squabbling kids. If you have teenage and/or pre-teen kids who fight a lot, choose those situations to let go instead of losing it (a good one for me!).
How to let go
How do we actually let go? Here’s the process.
First, immediately upon noticing that your button has been pushed, RELAX. Everywhere. Your head, chest, belly, lower body.
Second, place your attention on the upset feeling…and lean away from it. Give it space. And don’t judge it, or get mad at it, or fight with it. Don’t do anything other than watch it as dispassionately as possible.
Third, visualize the feeling as a hard, rigid field of energy, which it is. Then feel that energy soften as you relax into it…and let it break loose and flow up.
Then open your eyes and go about your day.
Two essentials to help ensure success:
1. SET AN INTENTION. For this to work, you need to ingrain it in your skull. Tell yourself, for example, “Okay, I’m going to do this letting go thing. Each time my husband pushes a button and each time I feel myself losing it while waiting I’m setting the intention to become aware of that and then do the letting go process.”
2. WRITE REMINDER NOTES. This is really helpful and easy. If you’re going to let go while driving, put a note on your dashboard that says simply, “Let Go.” So when someone honks, flips you off, cuts you off or whatever, that note is there to remind you what to do. If it’s your ‘big’ topic, put those ‘Let Go’ notes in the places you most experience those button-pushing events.
Many people get the crux of spirituality all wrong. They think it’s about adding things on to themselves.
Not so. Awakening is about subtracting, not adding on. We all have a beautiful spirit made of energy inside us. And guess what blocks that energy from flowing up and making us feel great?
So all we’re doing with this letting go process is removing these layers of blockages. Each blockage removed gets us closer to feeling fantastic. A lot.
Bottom line: Pick a big, a small, set your intentions, write your reminder notes and get to it. The cost of doing so is minimal and the benefit is sky high.
I hope you’ll go for it.