“We must always welcome the end of all things. For sometimes, knowing nothing lasts forever, is the only way we can learn to fall in love with all the moments and all the people that are meant to take our breath away.”
“A fresh start doesn’t just involve starting something new, it means letting go of the past.” Russell C. Smith and Michael Foster
In meditation practice, we learn about the practice of “fresh start,” shaking off thoughts, ruminations or daydreams, about the past or future, regrouping, looking around the room, and starting again. This is a great practice in life as well, but often there is another layer to truly start fresh. We must consciously release the past and let go of what’s no longer serving, to step into what’s next.
“Letting go is the flip side of starting over. Most of the time it feels easier to stay with people, places, positions – until forward motion has ceased entirely, and you need a whole new way of looking at your current situation. Diminishing returns are still returns on an investment, and hanging on until something becomes unbearable sometimes feels like the only choice. It’s only later, that you shake your head and wonder how you let it go on so long.” Russell C. Smith and Micheal Foster
Here are some tips on letting go to help you release what’s no longer serving you.
- Visualize holding the situation, job, person, relationship, habit, etc. in the palm of your hand. Really see it there in full detail. Now squeeze your fist as tight as you can, until all the muscles in your arm are engaged and your hand starts to tire. Take a deep breath in, and with a big exhale, let it go and open your fist. Let yourself receive the physical and emotional release of the letting go as you imagine this object dissolving.
- Lay down somewhere comfortable and bring to mind what you are letting go of. Imagine it is inside of you, running through your body like blood or breath. Beginning with your feet, curl your toes into a ball, squeeze your feet as tightly as you can. Let this tightening come up into your calves, thighs, buttocks, belly, hands, arms, shoulders, face and forehead. As you squeeze more and more tightly, your muscles may begin to quake, just allow this to happen. Imagine you are squeezing out the object of your letting go until you finally exhale and let all your muscles release. As you do so, the object of your letting go floats off your body, out into space, and you are free to release and relax. Lay still and receive the space and freedom you created.
- Ritualize and make space for emotions around this loss or letting go.“Make space for the disappointment or grieving that’s natural when you let go of something that’s been important for you. It’s normal to feel sad about a loss. Then after a while, it occupies your mind less and less, and you move on to more fruitful things.” Rick Hanson
To fully mourn or grieve, we can include a sort of funeral or burial of the object of release. Writing down the object of release on paper and burning it or sending it down a river or creek is an embodied letting go practice. We can also write it down on a rock and throw it as far we can, or literally dig into the dirt and bury it. This creates a formal way to grieve or mourn.
When we let go, or are in the letting go process, we are making room for what’s next, for what will best serve us as we move forward in life. This is our fresh start.
“Let good things come into the space that’s been opened up by whatever you’ve let go. These could be more time, freedom, energy, peace, creativity, or love. Of course, there are many things worth pursuing, including the next breath, but you can make wholesome efforts while simultaneously letting go of attachment to their results. Let yourself be surprised—both by what might replace what you’ve released, and by the power of letting go in general.” Rick Hanson
Here are some ways to welcome the energy of fresh start and new possibility into your life:
- Greet each morning. Regardless of whether we’re an early bird morning person or a late sleeper and grumpy to rise human, we can pause. Look out the window. Recognize that this day is different, new. Notice the clouds in the sky, colors in the world around you. Let yourself take in the fresh start of the day. As Maya Angelou said, “This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before.”
- Observe nature. The life and death cycle of all living things is an ever present teacher, showing us the impermanence is the only constant. That change is happening all the time, whether we like it and agree to it or not. Watch the trees in your neighborhood give up their lovely leaves, stand bare and strong, only to bud and bloom again. Watch the squirrels grow fat and thin, the birds migrating, the foliage changing. This is the way of the world, for us as well.
- Be accountable. When we have someone or something holding us to our word, we are much more likely to show up and follow through. We can use our family, friends, counselor, coach and colleagues to support moving forward towards our goals. Are we reverting towards old habits, or veering away from what we’ve let go of and towards the fresh start we’ve invited in? When we know someone is going to check-in with us, we are more likely to accomplish what we’ve set out to do!
We sincerely hope that the shift from 2020 into 2021 is a deep letting go of so many outdated, outgrown, no longer serving ways and things, and that we can all step into the freshness of the possibility of newness in the new year.
At the Strength in Motion wellness community, we believe in a mind-body-soul approach towards finding and sustaining balance. We feel honored to be on your path in some way and are here to support you in living to your greatest potential. Click HERE to find out more information about who we are and how we may be a support to you.
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