4 Steps to Letting Go

StoryPeopleIf there are two phrases that have led this year’s sabbatical for me, they are “Stepping Into” and “Letting Go.”

What I’m learning is that we can’t step into what’s next until we figure out how to let go of some of the stuff that has stopped us from those very steps in the past.

We humans seem to spend a lot of time dancing around the edges of “what’s next” for us. Each time, as we get close to the edge, something stops us. We take a baby step, congratulate ourselves on that baby step, and then stay there – sometimes for a very very long time. Or at least that’s been the case for me (is it for you, too?).

This summer’s sabbatical has included not just “stepping into” but LEAPING into what’s next for me. Lest you label that a leap of faith, it is not. It is a leap of knowing, of certainty, of clarity. 

That certainty and steadfastness has been made possible by a simple practice that has helped me to let go of roadblock after roadblock. I share it here in the hope that it is helpful to you, in your own letting go and stepping into your own “what’s next. “

1) What is the “if only” I am attached to? Whether it’s for me or for someone else – what is the result that, if it would only occur, I know would make things better? (If only I had more money, more time, a more supportive boss. If only my colleague would get over feeling victimized…)

2) What is the worst that can happen if that “if only” doesn’t occur? (If I don’t get more money, more support, etc.)

3) Now the fun one: If that worst case scenario becomes reality, what would that make possible? (For me, or perhaps for someone else?) What possibilities would that worst case open up?

4) Breathe in all those possibilities that exist in the worst possible scenario. Breathe it deep.

Through this practice this summer, I have realized how many worst cases could really be best cases. Which really just shows that those situations are neither worst nor best. That I am the one who brings that judgment – that story – to those scenarios!

Each time I have asked these questions, one more supposed obstacle has vanished before my eyes. One by one, I am greeting my demons, offering them some tea, and chatting with them about what life would be like if we decided to live together forever. One by one, those demons have vanished. I keep picturing a cartoon bubble above the puff of smoke that remains, saying, “Curses! Foiled again!”

The StoryPeople painting at the top of this post is on the wall across from my bed. It says…

“This is a giant block of whatever is most difficult for you to carry & trust me on this, you’ll carry it more times than you can count until you decide that’s exactly what you want to do most & then it won’t weigh a thing anymore.”

I hope that practicing these 4 steps helps you step into what’s next for you – that the load you’ve been carrying suddenly weighs nothing at all, and that you feel that delicious sigh that comes with letting go.

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