Learning How To Let “It” Go

“…We have to learn to let go, because we just can’t control it all…” 

Just over two weeks ago, I was part of a group of women who gathered together to discuss the topic of shame and guilt for the first Red Tent After Dark session. Before the discussion opened, we were all asked to close our eyes and reflect on something that we hold on to that brings us shame and/or guilt. Many life experiences that I have tucked in various corners of my mind came flooding to the surface. They were immediately followed by thoughts ranging from “maybe it’s time for me to share that” to “girl, you need to continue the healing process but keep that one thing to yourself…these folks don’t need to know all your business.” Not that I needed the reminder, but what this showed me was how much stuff I actually hold on to.

Anyone who knows me and loves me, knows how much how I worry. I am a mother. A daughter. A sister. A friend. A co-parent. A girlfriend. An employee. A humanitarian. This is in addition to the many other hats I try to wear on any given day. And I worry about how I function in each. Am I doing a good enough job? Did I say this the right way? Did I demonstrate understanding? Was I too hard on my son? I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore, bona-fide control freak, but I definitely have controlling tendencies where I try hard to shape the outcome of certain situations. I believe in the saying “let go and let God,” but I have a hard time putting that saying into practice. I am more than willing to take risks, but I also tend to worry about the outcome every step of the way. I often find myself saying lately that I am in a place of transition and transformation. As such, I recognize how debilitating worrying can be. I realize how worrying enables other people and situations to have control over my life, and I am starting to physically and mentally feel how exhausting it is to be in a constant state of worry. It drains me of the energy that is necessary for enhancing the positive aspects of my life.

Ever since that Red Tent gathering, I feel like letting go is a theme I am hearing more and more often. I can recall when we were wrapping up, and the organizer of the group explained to us the significance of focusing on healing at the beginning of the new moon. She said that we put things out into the Universe at the beginning of the new moon, and when the monthly lunar cycle comes to an end, those things will have manifested themselves in some way. Although I shared a specific story that night about something that caused me guilt, perhaps I subconsciously put into the Universe my need to let go and this is why it seems to be a recurring theme in my life lately.

I am a doting mother of a most precocious 4 year-old boy. I consider myself to be dutiful as the only daughter and youngest of 4 children to my mother. There is a man who has my heart in a special way. These three different relationships all require love, compassion, patience and understanding. In addition to my relationships with other family members and close friends, these three relationships are closest to my heart, and it can be challenging at times as I learn to let go in each of them.

During the After Dark session, the story I shared was about my challenge of disciplining my son. I know it is a necessary tool for parenting, but I discipline with guilt. I often worry that something will happen to my son and this at times can prevent me from being more consistent with my disciplinary actions. During the session, as I expressed this, I came to the realization that by holding on to fear, I allow it, and even my son in a way, to have control over me. It is almost the same with my mother. I still tend to seek her approval and worry about hurting her or not making her happy as part of my fear of not having her in my life. My love interest is an artist and I tend to have a fear that when he reaches his level of success, he will find that he no longer has room for me and my son in his new life. The worry manifests and at times creates an unnecessary energy which doesn’t need to exist in an otherwise fun, natural and happy relationship. I have been told more than once that I need to learn how to let go and just live. I try hard and I have my good days, but it is definitely still a work in progress for me. Instead of allowing life to play out, and focusing on simply cherishing every single moment with the people who are special in my life, I give energy to worrying about a future and situations I have no control over.  Conversely, even when I feel people have wronged me in some manner, I manage to find a way to blame myself or spend more than ample time trying to figure out what I could have done differently. I allow myself to shoulder guilt instead of just learning the lesson, letting go and moving on.

The quote I opened this blog with is from my at-home yoga DVD. I’ve played it a million times, but for some reason, when I used it the other day, it really stuck out to me when the yoga instructor said those words. So much so, that I hit pause and broke my moment of zen to write the quote down. This Friday will make the third week since we met at that new moon. For me, it is clear learning how to let go is the theme in my life lately. I am interested in seeing how I will have progressed by time we gather again for the next After Dark session.

One of my favorite songs is “Let Go” by Frou Frou. There’s a line in it that says, “just let go…it’s alright, ‘cause there’s beauty in the breakdown…” I embrace the breakdown. To me, it means freeing yourself; finding that place where you finally let go, and let God. We (I) only need to remember that we just can’t control it all…