The Beauty of Letting Go

As the trees become bare, so may we.

From our Winter 2015/2016 issue. Be the first to read the next issue of Positive Life in print – Subscribe.

Letting Go

“Slowly he celebrated the sacrament of letting go
First he surrendered his green
Then orange, yellow and red
Finally he let go of his brown
Shedding his last leaf
He stood empty and silent, stripped bare
leaning against the October sky
he began his long vigil to vulnerability and trust…”
— Anonymous

The above excerpt is from a poem that speaks deeply to me at this time of year about letting go. As you read this, trees and branches are showing their shape without the cover of foliage and it inspires me to consider the things we too can let go of, with that same level of trust.

Letting Go of Possessions

I have been preparing to move house. It’s a total surprise how much stuff I have accumulated and how many times we have had to trek to the local second hand shop, dump and dropping things off as gifts to friends. It all brought me to the question, How much do I need to have? What can I continue to let go of? Books seem to have a habit of building in my office space. Just last year I purchased a number of bookshelves to home books that I no longer read!

Letting Go of Fixed Ideas

Over the summer, sitting outside a favourite café where we live, two Buddhist monks walked by and to make a long story short, we ended up having a most inspiring conversation. I was in a turning point in the way I relate to my siblings and received such wonderful advice on how to stay in loving truth in relationships. But the part of this conversation that stood out the most, was their insights on that it can be easy to let go of possessions, the real task, is letting go of opinions and fixed ideas as to how things should be. That, I was assured, was the hardest practice.

Letting Go of Habits

I notice too that there is habitual way of showing up in the world. I can tell a similar story when I meet new people and react to others a habitual way. Pemo Chodron author, mother and nun would ask, “How could you do something differently?” She suggests holding the old reaction with a breath, wait a moment and then do or say some thing differently, letting go of old habits of interaction. For example, instead of reacting with defensiveness to a seeming put down, stand in the others shoes and say something like “Are your feeling upset about something that you would like to talk about?” How lovely to feel that there are deeper wells of self that can be accessed that the usual knee jerk reactions, all it takes to access it, it is a moment to let go and embrace the freedom to then choose our thoughts and actions.

This wintertime can be an opportunity you to be open to deeper and more reflective aspects of you. Rest into the emptiness and the vulnerability that the season and letting go offers, to emerge in spring with a different and refreshed aspect of you. May your continued beauty emerge, softer lighter and less habitual. May you have the courage to let go of what no longer serves you.


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