We live our lives with certain beliefs, preferences, and desires we don’t ever think to question because they’re so seemingly essential to who we are we don’t realize they’re optional.
But eventually the day comes when you see that you’ve changed, or are in the process of such a deep change, that aspects of your life that you’d always assumed would be there to comfort you, for better or for worse, no longer feel like home base.
Sometimes this feels great. Like THANK GOD, IT’S ABOUT TIME great. Like when a self-destructive habit or false belief you’ve felt controlled by loses its hold on you and you feel like you’ve got a new lease on life. In times like these, transformation is bliss.
But when things you “like” and are invested in about yourself – dreams, wishes, hopes, preferences, expressions, beliefs, habits, stories, and routines – fall under transformation’s light of re-evaluation and release, growth can feel confronting, disorienting, and scary… unless we remember we’ve done this before, have been better off for it, and that letting go is not a death sentence but more like January clippers pruning the rosebush so it will gorgeously bloom again in the spring.
The Courage to Let Go & Let More Love In
“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.” -Rumi
Imagine: There’s a huge wave of love that’s streaming straight to you that wants to envelop every part of you, bring you into a much deeper experience of love, and help you manifest this powerful and intimate connection in all areas of your life.
When you imagine this, and the healing, elevating, relaxing, awesome goodness of it, what’s the first thing that pops to mind that you’re holding onto that would block this love from entering you and your life?
When it comes to addictions, self-defeating habits, and rigid attitudes, it’s clear where we have things to release. It’s also pretty easy to see if we’re caught up in striving, attention and approval seeking behaviors, and accumulation. But what if the wants, wishes, and dreams we’ve been holding onto have become anchors tethering us to old chapters of our lives instead of motors helping us move forward?
For instance, what if what you think you need in a relationship is actually something you made up long ago in response to a loss that you’ve carried with you for so long you now just think it’s what you need… even when you see that you and your relationships have suffered for it? Or, what if what you believe you need to express in your creative live to experience a full version of yourself is distracting you from nurturing other parts of your life that would actually give you the feeling of balance and fulfillment that you’re craving?
I firmly believe that what’s essential to us will come back to us. I could close up my coaching shop tomorrow, move to a new city or a foreign country, get a job at a restaurant, and I swear within a month I’d have people coming to me for counsel and inspiration. I know this because I’ve done it more than once.
The only way we’re going to know if the wants, preferences, and dreams we’ve been holding onto are still true for us and are doors to love instead of walls blocking greater love from entering our lives is to let them, our attachment, and our identification with them go and see if they come back to us…. whether in the form we’ve previously known them to be or in a new form that matches more closely who we’ve become or not at all.
This may be a bold (and liberating!!) move, so I’ll share with you a little story I think illustrates this well.
I had a roommate in San Francisco who had recently from the mid-west. Deep in the dance scene, his attire consisted of big jeans, big short sleeved shirts with large stripes, and big hoodies. One day I came home and he announced he’d cleaned out his closet to only have clothes that reflected the self he felt himself becoming and I swear there were FOUR items of clothing left, none of which had anything to do with his former mid-west self. Everything was more fitted, earth toned, and with personal embellishments on it. All that had been familiar was promptly taken to the Goodwill. Being a clothes horse, I was stunned – how could anyone have the guts to make such a deep cut!? But I was really impressed how he catalyzed the release of his old self’s persona and stepped into his next version. What was then inspiring to see see was that his interest in dance music very much continued and expanded to take on new forms, but he no longer had to wear the full persona of it to “be him.” He was letting his sense of self expand.
How would this apply to your life?
- How do your wants and dreams make you feel? If they do anything but boost you up and connect you with who you’re becoming, imagine who you’d be without them or without the way you’re currently relating to them. What would change?
- Make a list of your long time wants and dreams, your age when they first appeared, and a little of what was going on in your life at the time. What need was this part of you trying to meet through these wants? Is this part of you still trying to do this and does this match who you’ve become?
- Can you imagine letting go of something you’ve been so into you’ve literally worn it as your persona and trust life enough to step back and see what happens? If this is too much, how else can you signal to life that you’re ready and willing to evolve?