THE SEASON OF LETTING GO
Such a fitting title for a season. All around us, we begin to see shifts in nature. The sun falls earlier in the evenings, and as a result, the leaves turn from green to red and begin to fall softly to the earth. Squirrels frantically scan the ground for fallen nuts and the temperature falls to a much welcomed (subjectively speaking ) sweater weather.
Hmm.. can we see a theme here?
There is much to learn from nature. when we flow in harmony with the world around us, mimicking nature's behaviors, we fall in line with the body's natural rhythms. Allowing nature to lead us in a dance of the seasons. Fall teaches us the art of letting go and prepares us for the inward journey to come. Winter is a time for hibernation and self-reflection, but before we can get to that place; before we can settle into our metaphorical log cabins and curl up next to our chimneys, we need to do some housekeeping. We need to prepare our cabins for the bitter cold months ahead. It's time to go chop the wood and tend to our harvest. Collecting the essentials and leaving behind that which no longer serves us.
Often times, we look at the process of letting go through the lens of failure, loss, or even abandonment. However, letting go is a necessary part of growth. Think of the snake who sheds his skin or the Hermit crab who leaves the comfort of her shell to find a new home. What would happen if the trees never dropped their leaves or if the sun never set? The trees would overextend their energy and not be able to fully harness what they need to survive the winter and the sun would not be able to communicate to all beings of life that it's time to self-preserve.
An ancient practice in China wonderfully illustrates the lesson of holding on too tightly. It involves the way they trapped and hunted monkeys. They would hollow out a coconut and cut an opening at the top that was just wide enough for a monkey's open hand. Rice was then placed inside the coconuts and left near the homes of monkeys. A monkey in pursuit of food would smell the rice inside the coconut and reach their hand inside to retrieve it. Once their hands gripped the rice they would attempt to pull their fists through the small slit. Each attempt was a failure because they would refuse to let go of the rice and therefore, became trapped. The monkeys would go berserk and become so distracted that they wouldn't even notice the hunters approaching. The monkeys were so focused on not losing what was in their hand, that they forgot about the abundance of food that was all around them. Their fear of letting go of the rice came at a great cost.
A story that comes to mind about the beauty of letting go is the tale of Moses. In this tale, there was an order by the pharaoh, that all Hebrew born males would be sentenced to drown in the river Nile. Moses's mother rebelled against this dreadful decree and placed him in a basket near the river in hopes that his life would be spared. of course, the story goes, that Moses is adopted into the Pharaoh's family, raised as an Egyptian, and one day leads his people to Freedom.
This is a wonderful depiction of letting go because it shows that it can truly be an act of love.
Leaving her crying baby in a bush may not have been the easiest thing to do, but it was the only way her son had a chance to evolve.
Where in your life could you let go in order to evolve? Is there someone or something that is holding you back from expressing yourself in your highest form? Perhaps there are aspects of yourself that need letting go? Such as bad habits, limiting beliefs, or old stories you've identified yourself with. When we stop gripping, we open ourselves up to so much more. Fall reminds us to let go of that which no longer serves us, so that we can fully express the truth of who we are.
I invite you to take a minute to explore this within yourself.
Close your eyes and take three long deep breaths.
Notice where in your body you might be clenching and name that body part aloud. Take another deep breath and ask this area to release any tension or gripping. Ask this place in your body to let go.
Continue to scan your body for any areas that feel tense and invite them to let go.
Once you feel you have addressed all the areas in your body that were holding on and gripping, you can move on to asking the mind. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and title the page What I'm Ready To Let Go Of. Don't force anything, simply see if thoughts organically come to the surface. If they do, write them down. If they don't, no worries.
This is a practice of awareness. No action is required.