“Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.” ~ The Beatles
It’s that time of year again, when we wrap up the old and welcome in the new. A time of reflection and review; to see what worked, what didn’t, and then plan for what’s next.
Since the end of 2009, instead of setting New Year resolutions, I have chosen to use a word or phrase to serve as a touchstone. In turn, this helps shape my various decisions during the year and focuses my intentions. This incredible tool was introduced to me by Christine Kane and is much more effective than a list of things I am supposed to do and subsequently forget about in a month or so.
I have yet to arrive at a word that is simple or easy. I need to dig deep, not to settle for mediocre, or simply survive.
This year is no different.
Decades before Elsa of Frozen belted out “Let It Go” — The Beatles implored us to ease up and “Let It Be”. To my way of thinking, two totally different actions. Let me explain.
Imagine for a moment you are holding a stone in your hand, fingers wrapped tightly around it. You feel the stone in your hand, it’s not going anywhere. Even if you put your closed hand up in the air, it’s still there.
Now, imagine, opening your fingers…letting go of the stone and it falls to the ground. It’s no longer in your hand, but it’s still part of your world, lying there on the ground. Easy enough to step on, lose your balance and maybe even fall. Even if the stone falls in water, it makes a ripple effect, causing a disturbance elsewhere.
That is letting go … not as productive, at least for my purposes.
For me ‘Let it be’ puts a new spin on it. The stone can be in my hand, but who says I must do anything at all with it? I can simply notice it, know it is there, and yet not imbue it with any attention. The stone can be anything … my thoughts, emotions, sensations, sights, sounds, or anything else arising or entering my consciousness.
To me, ‘Letting go’ is about avoiding or pushing away all those emotions, thoughts, etc. And usually what happens is they don’t go away, but return containing a whole lot more energy. What if, instead, we don’t try to push those things away, and simply just “be” with them.
We all know avoidance doesn’t work … yet, it’s something we learn at a very young age. If I skin my knee, everyone rallies around me telling me it’s ok, I don’t need to cry; here, have a lollipop. I learned early on it’s not ok to cry and I must look outside myself (at things, mostly) for comfort when I feel pain. What I also learned is I had to “do” something in order to distract myself from the pain, instead of just “being” with it.
That is a paradigm shift right there … I am switching from a ‘doing’ mode to a ‘being’ mode. That will take practice! This won’t happen overnight, it might not even happen this year. However, I am going to start being with the stuff that comes up in my head, noticing it, sitting with it, feeling it. Rather than avoiding my sadness, bitterness, or resentment by indulging in eating, being way too busy, or shutting down … I will focus on the experience until it passes through me.
I know my subconscious will resist this change. I will thank it for its good intentions of trying to keep me safe from harm, and then will gently return my focus on the sensations and feelings. When discomfort comes I can look at it head on and say, bless your heart. Laugh at myself and move on.
Note: A while back, I developed a worksheet to help with this whole process of finding your Word/Phrase of the Year. It can be found by clicking here.