By Jennifer Kelleher
Our theme for March at Ocean Bliss Yoga is “surrender.” In this spirit, I invite you to try something. Take a deep breath in and hold it.
Eventually you will have to let go. Life requires an exhale for each inhale. This natural balancing cycle of filling up and emptying out is necessary in all areas of life. It is impossible to gain something new if you don’t have space for it.
In a culture obsessed with adding more, we seldom stop to think about what we can release. Consider the times you’ve been discontent.
Does your mind go to what it needs in order to achieve happiness, or does it honestly look at your life and recognize what in your routine, patterns, relationships, schedule, or environment is holding you back from feeling deeply happy and centered? Perhaps we are quicker to try adding things in for life improvement because letting go, especially of something that we’ve been holding onto for a while, can feel really scary and hard. Over time, our relationships, careers, homes, and habits become part of our identity. When a deep-seated knowing tells us that an aspect of our life is no longer serving us, it is the ego that grips on and creates the inner struggle that can often be experienced before ultimately surrendering.
What else makes the idea of letting go feel so scary?
On her podcast, Krista Williams says, “When letting go, we focus so much on the difficulty of the conversation. The conversation with our boss to quit, the conversation with our partner to leave, the conversation with our friend to establish boundaries, and not the feeling of how good it feels after you choose yourself, after you make space, after you trust your intuition and speak your truth. In my life, the hardest conversations and decisions that I’ve ever made have led me to greater self-love than any self-care practice in the world.”
For me, Krista’s words provide an instantaneous shift in perspective. I can immediately remove some of the fear of surrendering by focusing not on the act of letting go, but rather on how expanded I will feel after releasing my grip. Also, if my surrender involves confrontation, I can remind myself that even if the other person is disappointed in the moment, my decision to let go is for the greater good of all parties involved. Staying so that I don’t hurt someone’s feelings is not serving them or me.
It is also important to recognize that anything we refuse to release has the potential to govern our future. Our decisions have real consequences! I don’t say this to provoke fear, but it is true. Letting go can be a process, and that’s ok. Awareness is always the first step, and it is a big one. The best we can do is honor our process, and like my good friend, mentor, and colleague Helen Kilgallen said, “If you can’t let go, just let be.”
This theme deserves so much more than a 550-word article, but for now I invite you to start to think about some smaller ways that you can let go to create space in your life and mind, and practice for surrendering the bigger things. To work more with this theme, join us at Ocean Bliss Yoga Studio for daily classes and monthly workshops. Sign up at oceanblissyoga.net.