As a beginning, middle, and end to this blog post, I could simply say that letting go of the past is easier said than done. Period. The end.
But that doesn’t do either of us much good.
It’s safe to say we’d both agree that no one really wants to walk around day after day holding on to anger, unable to forgive, worried about when the next shoe will drop. No, of course not. Yet how often do you find yourself doing precisely that? Holding on, unable to let go.
You’re not alone. We all do it.
Because of this, I’d like to offer a visual that you can access in under two seconds, something that will hopefully serve as a reminder, propelling you forward into a state of letting go (or at least provide a little nudge in that direction).
Earlier this week I offered a workshop to a group of women who were at various stages of treatment after being diagnosed with breast cancer. These women had been through A LOT. Each woman present agreed that she was sick-and-tired of being sick-and-tired. Although each considered herself a Survivor (deserving of a capital ‘S‘ and reason to celebrate for sure!), they wanted more…they wanted to learn how to THRIVE. They were ready to soar!
But going from sick-and-tired to soaring does not happen in one step.
Let’s look at how we might begin this process.
A very good starting place is with What IS. You would begin by:
- Identifying an example from your life to work with.
- Defining What IS (in contrast to What IF) within that example. This would be the truth of the situation, as it appears to you, in your own words. No drama. Just the facts.
- Explore more in-depth what your What IS looks like, making a bullet-point list to support your thoughts and feelings. Make sure to include physical aspects as well as emotional impacts.
- Run through a full example of What IS. Do not just list what I’ll call the “What IS of Sunshine,” but also include the “What IS of Shadow.” Practice identifying and listing all of What IS: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
As you acknowledge What IS, make sure to note the vast difference between What IS and What IF. (One little letter that makes one BIG difference.) The more you look What IS right between the eyes, the smaller the What IFs become, thus allowing you to inch farther away from sick-and-tried and closer to a middle-ground…making room for thriving and soaring to enter.
Once you have greeted and acknowledged What IS, you are grounded. It is time for letting go of the past. And time for the two-second visual to overlap this process.
Visualize this: Monkey-Bars.
Yes, visualize any set of monkey-bars you’ve seen on any playground around the world. Visualize a child hanging from the monkey-bars.
1. The first step of letting go is to state the What IS’s of the situation; the visual is of you hanging on to the monkey-bars. It may look like you’re not doing anything, hands firmly gripped, stationary in space. It’s supposed to look like that; you are becoming grounded in the truth of the situation.
2. The second step of letting go is to go beyond the acknowledgment of What IS and move a step closer, toward embracing it. In this visual, picture yourself hanging from the monkey-bars as you start to swing your hips, maybe bending at the knees as you swing your hips—whatever it takes to gain momentum.
3. The third step of letting go requires a mind-body connection. As you make your mind up to let go of the anger, bitterness, jealousy, whatever—visualize your body taking action and physically letting go of the monkey-bar rung in order to lunge forward to the next. Then the next. Then the next. Repeat this until you have practiced letting go of this exact situation in your life enough times that you are safely to the other side—all monkey-bars behind you.
As you attempt to place the monkey on your back down, continue to repeat, repeat, repeat. Practice, practice, practice. It’s through these steps that we are able to go from sick-and-tired to THRIVE.
And beyond that?
I realize letting go of the past is easier said than done. And so is trusting. “Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith first. The trust part comes later.” (Hey, if it’s good enough for the Man of Steel, then it’s good enough for me!)
I hope you enjoyed today’s post. If you haven’t signed up for your weekly dose of Love and Trust, please do! I’ll only send you original posts I hope will inspire and ignite your heart.