Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future – Daphne Rose Kingma
Holding on to something that does not serve us is harmful to our mental and emotional health, yet letting go is one of the hardest things to do. To have to accept an apology where none was offered, to have to get comfortable with not having your side of the story heard, or to be gaslighted or scapegoated by individuals too cowardly to take personal responsibility for their actions.
Maybe it’s because letting go signifies that you have lost something and sometimes it’s just easier to hold on to the pain, after all, that’s real right? And while we are holding on we can at least remember what it was like to ‘feel’ a certain way. On the other side of pain is the unknown. Yet holding on can wreak havoc on our emotions. Our emotions are temporary and until we can find freedom in our suffering we remain attached to things that do not serve us in a perpetuating negative cycle.
Buddhism as well as yoga recognise there is suffering and that freedom from suffering is possible. The commonality is compassion. Compassion towards oneself and compassion towards others. Yoga and meditation are perfect tools to develop compassion. Meditation can help us claim back sovereignty over our minds, distance ourselves from our thoughts, and create ‘space’. Similarly, yoga teaches us to accept where we are, to consciously let go of limiting beliefs, and move forward towards a better version of ourselves. In the yoga studio, the biggest lesson I have learned is ‘letting go’ of the expectation of what my Practice should look like. Just this week I was in a yoga class where I was the only qualified teacher in the class. Many had been students of this particular teacher for years. However, I do not have a headstand in my Practice, and while the rest of the class was upside down, I, as a yoga teacher, was at the beginning, working on putting strength into my shoulders to take a headstand another time. But in letting go of the negative story of ‘how embarrassing is this?’, and making the conversation more compassionate, like… ‘ok, I wonder what I really can do….’ I started my headstand journey.
The same can be said of life. In changing certain patterns of behaviours and habits learned as survival skills over the years, we can create space for change. It’s scary, yes, difficult, oh yes, but to become more engaged and more connected with our own inner wisdom is the journey of change and transformation. More importantly, I trust myself more and in understanding my own suffering, I am better able to see the suffering in others. This means I can act more compassionately towards myself and others.
So you see, with compassion comes wisdom. I know I’ll never get the apology I deserve for some of the injustices that happened to me at the hands of others, but I have found the wisdom to let it go and let it be so I can step forward and claim my brilliant future. There’s power in that.