Autumn is always bittersweet. It's a time of savoring the growth and wisdom gained during the year, and, letting go of what has passed...
In Energy Medicine, fall corresponds to the element of Metal, which represents letting go of what no longer serves you, and allowing space for new inspirations that will germinate throughout the winter and be ready to sprout in the spring.
In this newsletter, I'll look at the concept of Letting Go from three different viewpoints - Mindfulness, Coaching and Energy Medicine - and the practical applications of each.
But first, we should take time to savor. So pause for a moment of reflection - what do you want to savor most from the year that is coming to a close?
Remember to acknowledge and celebrate the abundance that has come your way!
Mindfulness and Letting Go
The concept of 'Letting Go' is prevalent in Mindfulness teachings. It is the continual challenge we face, of sitting in awareness of our thoughts without allowing ourselves to be pulled in. It is the moment of recognizing which thought patterns and emotions control our thinking, and choosing to release those patterns, to free ourselves from the effects they have on our mental and emotional states. The problem is, letting go isn't easy. How can we let go when we're still angry about something? How can we let go of our pain - past and present? The biggest battle is often with our own resistance to letting go, our need to cling to something that is unresolved. Because letting something go means we don't get to be right. It often means we have to forgive someone we don't want to forgive, admit that we were wrong, or accept a reality we don't want to accept.
The choice to let go is always ours - always present, always available.
The next time you meditate and become aware of a pattern that has you 'hooked,' ask yourself what keeps pulling you back in, and what it would be like to let it go. Try it. See how it feels. Any resistance?
Sit with what shows up, with what is, and then open your grasp, and let it go.
Coaching and Letting Go
How often have you decided to let something go, only to find that it comes right back?
The concept of letting go is a surprisingly slippery one. It's so simple, it should be easy, right? Wrong. Because inevitably what we are trying to let go of is unresolved. We haven't made peace with it yet, sometimes for lack of trying, but more often because we haven't heard what it is trying to tell us.
I had a very wise teacher in New York who taught me that you can't let something go until you've heard what it's trying to tell you. Those things that hang on are actually trying to teach you something. You can't let them go if you haven't heard them out.
How do you figure out what the message is? Talk to them! Journaling is an excellent way to do this. This should take the form of a dialogue, between you as you, and you as the thing that won't let go (aka, your baggage ;). You might ask it questions like 'why are you still here?', or put differently, 'why won't you go away?,' 'what do you want me to learn?,' 'what are you trying to tell me?,' etc. Write in a stream of consciousness, don't over think it or try to figure it out. Forcing won't do it, you have to allow it to emerge. Keep going, even if it seems weird or unrelated. Once the conversation is exhausted, it will likely resolve itself and leave on it's own. Just be sure to leave the door open!
Energy Medicine and Letting Go
In Energy Medicine, 'Letting Go' belongs to the Metal element, and specifically to Large Intestine meridian. Large Intestine governs the removal of solid waste, and the disposal of things that do not support our health. These are things that the body has sorted out as unnecessary or not beneficial, and they must be removed or they will become toxic. We all know how unpleasant life can become when they aren't!
The same concept can be applied to emotions, particularly, holding on to things that no longer serve us - resentment, anger, sadness, regrets, etc. Holding On can also manifest as nostalgia for different phases of our lives, memories we can't release, or keeping the belongings of someone who has left. The energetic accumulation of these emotions can become toxic to our system.
Here are a couple of exercises to help you release what no longer serves you and bring in fresh inspiration:
The Metal Element Neurovascular Hold:
Hold one hand across your forehead, and the other across the top of your head (side to side, not front to back). Bring to mind something that you have a difficult time letting go of. Hold for a minimum of 3-5 min., or until you feel better. This is best done lying down with your arm propped with a pillow.
*This hold balances the emotional aspect of the Large Intestine and Lung meridians, letting go and inspiration, respectively.
Connecting Heaven and Earth:
Begin with your hands on your thighs, pointing down. Take a deep breath. On the next inhale, reach out wide to the sides and bring your arms up over your head in prayer pose. Exhaling, bring them down to your heart. Inhale, and reach one arm up and the other down - imagine you are connecting Heaven to Earth! On the exhale, bring hands back together in prayer pose in front of your heart. Repeat on the other side. Repeat both sides one more time, and on the final exhale, bend forward and reach your palms towards the ground. Take two deep breaths here. Then, scoop up the energy from the earth, and pull it up over your head. Imagine you are pouring it over your whole body!
*This exercise brings fresh energy in and moves old, stagnant energy out. It's also great for the joints!
Resetting the Illeocecal and Houston Valves:
See the column on the left for a link to a pdf of this great exercise!