Letting Go and Moving On
One of the hardest things for many of us to do is to let go. Whether we are holding on to a pattern in a relationship, a way of doing something, or a way of seeing ourself in the world, letting go and moving on can be excruciating. Letting go feels like loss, and moving on into an unknown future feels risky. So holding on often feels like the safest and wisest choice we can make even when what we are holding onto no longer works, if ever it did.
We hold on to resentment and anger at the ways in which we were, or feel we were, wronged. We hold onto disappointment about things that didn't work out the way we wish they had. We hold onto an image of ourselves that, good or bad, is no longer accurate. We refuse to see what those around us can see because to acknowledge the new reality is scary.
In my experience dealing with my mother's Alzheimer's one of the hardest things to do was to let go of who she was and accept as reality who she is. But while that was tough, honestly, it was tougher not doing it. When I refused to accept the current reality I couldn't be present with my mother and I wasted time I could have had with her. While this is clearly an intense example it isn't more difficult than letting go of a way of seeing ourselves that is no longer true. Whether it is admitting that our youth is over and we are in a different time of life, or that we may never have achieved goals that we (or others) had set for ourselves, letting go isn't easy.
The fact is that until we let go we have no chance of finding what there is that this moment has to offer. Until we let go we are imprisoned by our picture of what was and we won't be able to find the joy and possibility in what is.
Sometimes we get stuck because we fear that moving on is a sign of disloyalty; that moving on means tossing the past away. It can feel like that until we do move on and then we recognize that we aren't throwing the past away, instead we are putting it into the larger context of life as it is now. We are allowing ourselves to move through life without the burden of pretending that things are the same as they once were.
Moving on doesn't dismiss the past, moving on gives the past its due and allows us to be fully in the present.
So the next time you feel stuck ask yourself if there is some way of being, some belief, or some fear that you are holding onto that is preventing you from fully engaging in life as it is now. If so, take a courageous step and make a single move towards letting go, then another, and another until you can feel yourself allowing what needs to be in the past to live there and to let what is waiting for you reveal itself.