How I Learned To Let Go

March 16, 2015 § 4 Comments

Flickr Photo Credit: Randy Heinitz

Flickr Photo Credit: Randy Heinitz

I’ve been back in Canada for nearly two months after my year long adventure through 14 countries on 5 continents. I’m having a hard time grasping that year, it’s almost as though it didn’t really happen, like I kidnapped myself from my surroundings for just a brief second and then inserted myself back into my life–but with one difference.

All that baggage I held on to for so long, a lot of it isn’t there anymore.

I’ve come home and Calgary feels different. As I lay in bed this morning pondering what it’s become, it occurred to me that it might not be the city that has changed so much, the Wendy who left for Bangladesh in January, 2014 is not the one who returned from Costa Rica in January, 2015.

Somebody (me) messed with my insides last year, or rather, cleaned them all up!

The woman who has returned is a sharper version of myself, and one who’s developed a knack for standing up for herself and not putting up with my bullshit.

The biggest piece of me that’s missing (not to say that I miss it), is the guilt of being the sibling who lived after the accident that killed my brother. I grappled with that for many months, in fact I still have a lot of emotion tied into moving forward, but that’s more sadness and remorse for my former self, that I let her suffer with that guilt for as long as she did.

I know I’ve made a change in the way I take on guilt because I’m not switching one guilt only to shoulder another. I allow myself to feel emotion and find ways to move through it, sometimes that’s journalling, sometimes it’s giving myself a pj and junk food day, other days it’s treating myself to exercise and as many vitamin-packed foods as I can handle.

It also took me some time to figure out my process of letting go. Moving past the guilt involved feeling it first, and I mean bringing it right up close to me and embracing every ounce of it. Those are not my favourite moments, I can assure you. What drove me at first to stick it out was just being fed up with the way I had set up my life, the lack of support I nurtured for myself and trying to make up for a life that held so much promise, but that wasn’t even my own. I didn’t know if where I was headed was any better, but I knew it would be different. That was enough.

I spent time watching what happens when I physically let go of something. I’d hang on to a pen from my bag and let it drop onto the table or the bed, just to give my mind a visual of what letting go looks like. It’s quite literally a decision to relax and open up.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

– Mark Twain

Letting go in an emotional sense for me involves forgiveness, and has a lot to do with the tattoo I got in Bali last year. When I visited my step-sister, Laura, in Costa Rica, she shared a mantra that’s helped me take this further. She strives to simply meet people where they’re at, and wherever that is is just dandy.

Laura also shared a video interview of Wayne Dyer with me. The interview is about EFT tapping and has a lot of great points, but I found a different message in the video as Nick Ortner and Wayne Dyer talk about what emotion they’re beginning to release as they complete the EFT tapping:

Wayne Dyer: “I was thinking about someone else who has done some things that I’ve felt upset about…”
Nick Ortner: “You mean you still get upset at people?”
Wayne Dyer: “Absolutely.”
Nick Ortner: “I thought you had reached enlightenment.”
Wayne Dyer: “I have! Enlightenment is part of it.”

Woah, Wayne Dyer still gets annoyed with people? I drew a new conclusion and direction to my healing–and it’s made all the difference. Eradication of the emotion or the issue is not the way through. I will always have experiences that bring me happiness, sadness, guilt, pleasure and a plethora of feelings. But they’re just that, experiences to be lived through with as much of myself as I can muster and when they’ve ended, it’s time to let them go and to make room for more life to move through me.

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§ 4 Responses to How I Learned To Let Go

  • Wow! Thanks for sharing your story Wendy. I do agree it is hard to let go especially when something so tragic happened in life such a death. Just recently I lost my grandmother, which has been the hardest for me to cope. When finding out my grandmother passed away it was difficult for me to accept the fact that she was gone. But I know if she was here she would want to move on and be a strong independent women today. I know that your brother would not want you to be miserable or being upset for the rest of the life. He would want you be happy and to enjoy life. Staying strong is what you need to do and just let go and look at life is positive way! Stay Strong and Stay beautiful Wendy! 🙂

  • Catherine says:

    Thanks for your honesty and vulnerability, Wendy.

  • We love it Wendy. So grateful for our chats and time we spent in Costa Rica. Love your vulnerability and know it allows a space for healing. Much love to you, sister!

  • Erin Stashko says:

    Wendy, I was very sorry to read of the passing of your brother! May cherished memories of him spring quickly to mind, bringing a smile to your face.

    Your blog was very interesting to me. A year long adventure, through 14 countries on 5 continents has got to be an amazing, life altering experience. You painted the scenario so well I could envision it: “It’s almost as though it didn’t really happen, like I kidnapped myself from my surroundings for just a brief second and then inserted myself back into my life–but with one difference – All that baggage I held on to for so long, a lot of it isn’t there anymore.”

    Odd isn’t it, how after a trip, everything seems foreign, as in, unfamiliar.(?) You noted that Calgary, your home city, felt different. You also observed that you are the change, not so much the city and that you would no longer put up with ‘your bullshit.’ That being, the guilt that you had placed upon yourself, with the sad, very difficult passing of your sibling.

    What a profound manner of viewing your guilt: You described it as “No longer shifting from one shoulder, to another.” I likened your guilt to be a heavy shoulder-bag that gets more and more full, thus heavier, as time goes on. But no! After you got rid of ‘the bullshit’, you have found a way to feel the emotion, then move through it!!

    You are inspiring, Wendy. I am familiar with anxiety (different from your emotion, yet, a negative emotion none-the-less) – and understand there is no holding on to it, it must be plowed through, basically. No going around, under, or over it. It has to be mowed right down. Until it is, it’s always like an elephant in the room that ensures only the anxiety is thought of.

    Your tips sound like wise ones to get through something, which in your case was guilt, and even grief: “Sometimes that’s journaling, sometimes it’s giving myself a pj and junk food day, other days it’s treating myself to exercise and as many vitamin-packed foods as I can handle.”

    You are brave to explore the feelings associated with your sibling’s passing. You did not lightly feel the emotions. You

    Took.
    Them.
    On.

    Finally, you had a desire to move forward so you could become the person you needed to be.

    I have not tried this concept you speak of to aid in letting go of emotion, but I can only imagine it would become an essential part of you making it through all of this: “I spent time watching what happens when I physically let go of something. I’d hang on to a pen from my bag and let it drop onto the table or the bed, just to give my mind a visual of what letting go looks like. It’s quite literally a decision to relax and open up.”

    Mark Twain’s quote pertaining to forgiveness also showed you that you could not longer hold onto guilt; forgiveness would allow healing to commence. You spoke of your meaningful tattoo, yet another step in the course of healing. The mantra which provides comfort, to ‘meet people where they’re at’ sounds like one you still would hold close to your heart today.

    Wayne Dyer speaking in an interview about still feeling upset at people, but sharing that enlightenment of that fact is part of it, just goes to show – we are all human. You have learned on your own, through a long journey, that you can experience your feelings, then let them go to make way for more of them.

    Your writing style is one full of self-discovery and shows a young lady who is willing to embrace change and move forward. You have a positive manner that shines through, bright and clear, in your blogs.

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