One of my mentors gave me a list of what it means to truly let go. We are always confronted with the opportunity to let go of something. Sometimes it's an expectation of how we think something should be or the way we want something to feel, or even the experience of a relationship changing that keeps us out of the present moment and in resistance to change.
Most of the time when we're having difficulty with change, it's because we're clinging to an agenda driven by the ego. Mindfulness is a practice of attuning to the present moment which in turn increases our ability to meet change with a friendly attitude.
This is the art of non-attachment. So, what exactly are we trying to detach from and how do we notice it in the moment? Usually it starts with a judgment such as, "they ought to have..." or "they never..." or "I should or shouldn't have..." Sound familiar?
Marshall Rosenberg's teachings in Non-violent Communication remind us that sticking to the "should's" trigger a feeling of being trapped and promote defensiveness because "should" implies that there isn't a choice in the matter. And when we don't think we have a choice available to us our autonomy is automatically under a perceived threat. This can put us in a state of regret, irritation, worry, doubt, fear and more.
Fear keeps us out of the present moment...out of being present for our feelings, the feelings of another, our needs or the needs of another. And when we aren't available for what is, we're unable to attend to what needs tending. Acting from an agenda of avoidance doesn't leave much room for learning. In fact, it can be a rather limiting experience and even can create some rigidity.
Letting go is as much about learning how to be flexible and open to outcome as it is matching our expectations to our reality.
Letting go is an exercise in flexible thinking, flexible feeling, and being curious with ourselves and in our relationships. So without further ado, here's the Letting Go list once offered to me. I know I'm still working these!
By Char Sundust
Sundust Oracle Institute
To “let go” does not mean to stop caring; it means I can’t do it for someone else.
To “let go” is not to cut myself off; it’s the realization I can’t control another.
To “let go” is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To “let go” is not to try and change or blame another; it’s to make the most of my Self.
To “let go” is not to care for, but to care about.
To “let go” is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To “let go” is not to judge, but to allow another human Being.
To “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies.
To “let go” is not to be protective; it’s to permit another to face reality.
To “let go” is not to deny, but to accept.
To “let go” is not to nag, scold, or argue but instead, to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybody, but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish my Self in it.
To “let go” is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
To “let go” is to fear less and love my Self more.