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.


The Freedom in Letting Go

January 3, 2010 § 7 Comments

I used to think it was about letting go.  That when people left us, we had to let them go. They were gone.  They were lost.  Maybe they died, maybe they simply fell out of our lives.  My biggest challenge used to be letting go.

Before I moved to Calgary and after my brother died, I lived in his condo for a year.  I was holding on.  I was holding on so tightly.  Had it not been for my mother’s somewhat more than gentle push to get out of Millet, I would’ve stayed.  I would’ve held on.  Because I thought that if I held on tightly enough, it would mean that I wouldn’t ever forget him.  It would mean that I’d never actually have to lose him. And then maybe I wouldn’t have to miss him as much.

A voice inside my head kept telling me that I had to let go.  I had to move on with my life.  In fact that’s what we tend to hear from others trying to offer support, trying to breath some life back into us.  And maybe it is about letting go, at least to an extent.  I couldn’t hold onto what life was.  It couldn’t be the same, no matter how tightly I grasped at what I could.  When I left Millet, I hadn’t let go yet.  My parents and I kept his condo for a good six months, I went back almost every weekend and hung on.

I can’t pinpoint the exact time I began to let go, but I do remember the first time I was able to look at his picture and feel him smiling at me and be able to smile back, not from a place of sorrow, but from a place of happy memory.  I felt like he was telling me that I was okay.  I was through the woods.  I was headed uphill back to what life used to be like.

Today, I picked up his pocket watch.  It stopped ticking a long time ago, and I’ve never bothered to replace the battery.  As I thumbed the texture on the casing, examined the still hands, I realized something.  It is not the ticking of the hands that made the pocket watch a pocket watch.  I’ve carried it with me on occasion even without the ticking hands.  And just as the pocket watch remains what it is, so to does Wayne.  My brother is still my brother.  And I can bring him with me whenever I need to.  It’s not about holding on anymore.  I had to learn to let him go to get to the place that I found he is still here, though he may not tick, he can still exist as whatever I need him to be.

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