What happens if you let go?
Learning to embrace the unknown. By Sue Clark
Too often, faced with new opportunities we freeze, procrastinate, then do nothing. That critical voice of self-doubt needles, reminding where we failed before…remember how stupid you felt… you’re too old… too fat… too thin…too…
Will this matter when on our death bed? Will we regret the things never tried or said? When does this start, this voice, the fear of failure? Consider childhood: did you wait before jumping into that glorious muddy puddle? We lived in the moment as yet unaware of Eckhart Tolle and The Power of Now. Where does that carefree child go? What age do values kick in that stop us?
Now jumping in puddles is not for everyone but the idea of letting go is something many consider and some actually do it. Apple founder Steve Jobs let go of university, joined a calligraphy course, and the rest is history. How long was the Apple gestation period? Personally, no idea…but for me, life would look very different had Apple products not been born.
Nature abhors a vacuum (‘horror vacui’) — attributed to Aristotle — sounds deep, even too hard to grasp if considered through the language of physics, but easier looking at a cleared garden, knowing new weeds take over if not kept up. The laws of nature do not seem to allow letting go to be an unending nothingness, like floating in space forever and ever. Amen.
Letting go allows unimagined ideas, things, people, stuff, opportunities, as you throw out what no longer serves and explore new things, new ideas, new…you fill in the gaps. Why? Simple: there is now space for the new to arrive, before it was too full of old.
If the recent pandemic teaches humanity nothing as a collective, the individual will — maybe for the first time — have paused, creating a vacuum, space, time to write, think about things in a new way, clear the spare room, create a home office, learn Spanish, do online yoga or consider ayurveda for better health. This has been a forced ‘letting go’, raising more questions than answers and leaving many fearful as the old norm gives way to a new paradigm we cannot yet grasp.
The forced shut down made us let go even if we did not want to. Letting go of the commute to work. Letting go of image, as hair cuts were confined to memory. Letting go of office gossip and companionship; learning to work alone from home.
Did letting go show confusion over health? Perhaps considering diet changes, suspecting that bloating could be helped by letting go of certain food? “Oh but I love bread” or “pasta is my comfort food”…yes, the inner voice will kick in, holding on tight to old habits and resisting new ideas at all costs. That voice, while trying to keep you safe, sadly holds you in a prison of old that may no longer serve the emerging new you.
What happens if you try letting go and find that it works? How much more energy would you have? Less time on the loo, or sofa, and more time with friends and family. The inner voice will gradually be reassured: It’s okay, I’m safe, letting go was needed.
Letting go is personal and not prescribed. Letting go led me here, writing this. Scared? Yes. Confident? Not at all! Making mistakes? Feeling vulnerable? Of course. All birthing is messy and carries risks and delight. Birthing a new project using ayurveda brings change with old demons, screaming ’No, no, no’!
So, does letting go work? History tells us yes — just look at Apple. Or Eckhart Tolle, the best-selling spiritual teacher who sat on a bench and just let go.
But for the rest of us, here today, only time and perseverance will tell. Steve Jobs delivering that now infamous Stanford graduation speech helped me understand: “you will only understand what happened looking backwards”. You have to believe he was right. Let go and may the force be unleashed within you.
The 2021 Let it Go Retreat may resonate with you. If you are on the cusp of jumping into that puddle, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Come to the edge”, he said “We can’t, we’re afraid”! they responded. “Come to the edge”, he said. “We can’t, we will fall”! they responded. “Come to the edge”, he said. And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew.