How To Let Go and Embrace the New

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We have to let go of the life behind us to embrace the life in front of us.

Life is ever-changing, a fluid dance that fluctuates at a moment’s notice. The only thing we can count on is that things will change. If we cannot let go of the life behind us we will miss out on the one unfolding in front of us.

Acceptance is one of the most difficult aspects of letting go; it is painful to accept what we do not want to face or see or believe. We’d rather hold onto something and stay in denial than face the facts before us: that the life we knew isn’t the life we have now, and things aren’t ever going to be the same. We can mourn the way things were and cherish the memories but to hold tight to what was prevents us from experiencing what is today and what can be tomorrow.

when we resist, we suffer twice

Change is never painful. Only resistance to change is painful.
— Buddha

It is maddening to try to move forward when holding onto the past; it piles suffering on top of suffering, creating a suffering sandwich with us stuck in the middle. We are left to experience the pain of not letting go of the past and not being able to embrace the present. We become stuck between what was and what is/could be, with nowhere to go. 

When we fight the flow of nature, moving us from one season to the next in a cycle of unending change, we become stagnant and the life force is removed from us. We are unable to renew, enjoy new experiences and grow into new versions of ourselves.

When we begin to accept the change we don’t want to face, we can see that letting it go is the only way through it. As we let go, we learn what that season was meant to teach us and attempt to grow from those lessons. We take with us what we’ve learned as wisdom for the next leg of our journey and discard the rest, whether good or bad. We can keep the love but the hurt has to go when it’s ready to leave—so we create an opening for new to grow in its place. 

The pain we carry that keeps us in the past and the attachment to how things were is our tie to some version of our life that is no longer our reality. The pain leaves bit by bit when we accept that which happened and feel the emotional response to the event. 

the process of letting go

Letting go isn’t a one time deal; it happens over time on its own time. The how is up to us. We either create opportunities to feel and release the painful emotions or we stuff them and prolong the process of suffering that stems from holding onto that which is trying to leave our mind, heart and body. 

The process is quite fluid; our mind and body know what is needed to both feel and release the remnants of the past. Healing will happen as we set the intention to let go and promote the process. To create space for healing, we will need to:

  1. Carve out time in our schedule to be still.

  2. Set unnecessary or unhealthy distractions aside.

  3. Encourage the process with whatever healing modalities we feel most drawn to: art, yoga, meditation, connecting to nature, dance, ect. (whatever we are drawn to that gets our stuck energy moving around and encourages expression will do the trick). 

There’s no magic key or quick fix to letting go, but what I’ve learned is what we let go of is always replaced by something quite miraculous—which in the end will reveal why we had to let go and accept what is: so change can happen and nature can deliver new buds of a springtime meadow into our lives.

I pray you continue to grow, thrive and enjoy all the beauty life has to offer.

Prayer for Surrender: God, I am ready to say yes to the life You have waiting for me. Please help me let go of the past and process the feelings that are standing in between the life I had and the life I desire. And so it is.