During the months of September the trees are a shining example of letting go. The leaves they've grown through Spring and Summer change colours as they begin to die and then drop from the branches. The tree becomes bare, only to begin the cycle again the following Spring. There's no thought to it, there is just no more need of these leaves and so the tree simply lets them go.
We often marvel at nature as her colours turn to the reds, oranges and browns of Fall. The crunch of leaves beneath our shoes or jumping in piles of leaves that have fallen bring joy. I think though we often don't make a connection with the lesson the trees are sharing with us in the art of letting go.
For humans letting go is more difficult. We struggle with the one constant in our lives, change. It's inevitable that at points in our lives we must summon the courage to just let go and allow life to happen to us, because to do otherwise can bring feelings of desperation, guilt, anger, sadness and loss. Emotions can consume us and keep us stuck in the past chapters of our lives, when really the page has already turned...we just haven't acknowledged it yet.
In letting go we have to take some time to mourn the dream that is lost, the picture we have created of what we think our life is about, or should be, the person we thought was meant to be with us forever... For each individual the acknowledgement, acceptance and release of that dream takes time, as does the healing process and taking steps to move forward. But move forward we will, at some point, in some way, by our own definition. As natural as change is in life, so is our need for connection to something new. It's a part of what makes us human.
In the years that I have practiced the healing art of Reiki I have been witness to incredible feats of letting go. It's important to create a safe, non-judgemental space for each client to take whatever time they need, while providing a gentle and loving presence where they can feel secure to laugh, cry, rail against the unfairness, weep as acceptance comes, experience joy as they begin turning the page...and any other messy emotions that raise their heads. It's humbling to be a part of that experience as clients let go and move forward.
Reiki, loving energy that is focused, can begin the process of developing a cushion to the pain, until the client is ready to take it on, face it and release it. Often surrounded by that loving, healing energy, it can be a less painful and easier path. Reiki energy can also help in guiding us towards that new path, one that is the best and most joyful path for our being.
In the art of letting go I'm often reminded of something a friend has said to me, that
"What is meant for me will not go past me"
In acknowledging a trust in the universe and wrapping it in the loving energy of Reiki it is easier to have faith that this is so. That what is part of life's plan for us will show up...if we allow it.
Far more important than cleaning the house is cleaning up the hamster wheel of thoughts in your head that no longer serve you. Those disempowering thoughts, feelings and old worn out stories that come along with guilt, fear, anger, shame, regret, etc. that are taking up space and not paying rent to be there.
TURN IT AROUND
Take a moment to decide how these old thoughts may be serving you in some way. Do they make you feel protected? Do you feel yourself to be lacking because of them? Is the idea of letting go of them scary? Why? Are these thoughts true?
You can begin to declutter the space these useless thoughts take up by looking for more positive thoughts to replace them with. Did you learn something from the old story? Is it a lesson that has served you well since? Does that old thought fit with who you are today?
GET THEM OUT!
Look for ways to get the thoughts out of your head. Put them down on paper with as much detail as possible (you may need some kleenex handy because this can often bring up emotions too. But, that is a good thing). Is everything down? All of it? Now burn that paper and watch those old thoughts disintegrate into ash. (you can type and delete but it is not nearly as powerful)
Are there scraps of old thoughts left churning around in your head? Go and do something physical and get out of your head and into your body. Notice how your body feels while you're doing it. Notice your heart beat and the rhythm of your breath. Physical activity can be like a cleansing breeze for the mind, cleaning itself out while your focus is elsewhere.
Seek out positive, uplifting people, experiences and activities to create new memories to think about. Get together with good friends and enjoy great conversation, open up a new thought provoking book, create a new adventure for yourself and just try new things.
Your mind will have a whole load of new and positive things to occupy itself with.
The ever typical peace keeper, despite best efforts not to be, I find myself slipping into that role time and again. Boundaries were never something I learned. Growing up in an alcoholic home they just didn't exist. I earned my gold medal in peacekeeping just to try to maintain some space between myself and the chaos that surrounded me. Unfortunately it's a tough role to break...but I will continue to make it a work in progress.
With a lot of self work and reflection, boundaries have become something more familiar and I've identified a number of them that work for me. The difficult thing about having boundaries is knowing when to set them. For myself, it's usually after I've allowed them to be pushed, a number of times, in my efforts to keep the peace and oh yes, did I mention I'm also working towards becoming a reformed people pleaser as well?
I usually will get to the point of being in exhausted tears before I realize I haven't held my boundaries and have overextended myself to please. The stress of people pleasing is finally outweighing everything. Once again, I've let myself down. Any of this sounding familiar? I suspect it does because I meet a number of others in this life who will tell me of similar circumstances. So what do I tell them and what do I tell myself?
1. FORGIVE YOURSELF
First and foremost cut yourself some slack. After I've kicked myself a couple of times and wiped the tears away I remember to tell myself that yes, I caught myself again, I messed up, but I did catch myself and perhaps next time I will catch myself sooner. That does happen.
2. STOP IT!
As soon as you realize the boundaries have been breached put them back in place. Take a few moments to recognize where you've been lax in holding your own space and gift yourself by putting those boundaries up. Then take a breath.
I use to feel that I couldn't, that it was too late, that people wouldn't like it...yeah, the people pleaser raises it's loud and ugly voice to say "What will others think of me?". But the more important question is how will you feel about yourself if you don't? I thought so...nail those things up if have to, but put them up.
3. Say NO
Say no and don't justify it. You really don't owe anyone a reason or justification for putting your boundaries up and beginning to say no. Yes, it means you have switched gears, people may not like it, but is it worth the stress to not do it? Certainly if people ask and you feel as though you want to explain, you can, however at times that can be exhausting. Right now you're doing the work of holding the boundaries in place and rebuilding yourself, and that needs to come first.
4. Celebrate you
Hey, you were successful, you figured it out, you caught up with your boundaries, set them, took a breath and now it's time to celebrate that amazingness that is your achievement. Yes, there will likely be more occurrences of boundary violation and people pleasing mishaps, but not today.
You're only human and that is something to celebrate. Give yourself the pat on the back, the toast with champagne or whatever way you celebrate you!