Every January, I share a piece of writing meant to imbue myself and others with curiosity, hope, enthusiasm and wonder for the great potential that lies in the days, weeks and months of the new year ahead. I’ve found inspiration for the upcoming year by reflecting on my accomplishments for the meaningful changes I made the previous year; the focus on gratitude has been key. I’ve written about setting goals and aspirations for the months to come, while highlighting how we can increase the likelihood of achieving those resolutions. And then, I’ve ditched resolutions outright, instead focusing on resetting mindset to manifest meaningful change in our lives and to help actualize our highest selves. But this past year, in the weeks and months leading up to turning 40, I’ve realized just how important it is to, first, let go of the old in order to make room for the new.
Letting Go Sets Me Free
It is true that I’d paid lip service to embracing the new year by bidding adieu to the old, bad habits and toxic thought patterns of the past. Yet, time and again, old rumination would resurface, and I’ve find myself stuck reliving the past. That old adage comes to mind: “Where you go, there you are.” This phrase is repeated so often because we know, deep down, the truth of it. We can move to new locations, trade jobs, shift out of one economic bracket into another, change marital status and even our names, but we will always find ourselves back facing issues we’ve failed to resolve and confronting old demons from which we’ve tried to hide.
So, this past year, I’ve spent a lot of time revamping my perspective on the past and the paths not taken. I decided to confront those past hurts, deep regrets and snuffed-out dreams head on and to continue rewriting the narrative of my life story from one of dread, sadness, and victimhood to one of excitement, joy and empowerment. Thread by thread, I unraveled my old wounds, and I found myself finally making true and lasting peace with my former life and letting go of what no longer serves me.
The past is over and done with–or at least, it should be. Life cannot be led in reverse. When we feed all energy into the past, we wind up stuck there instead of being fully present in the moment and enjoying our current path.
The future is an unknown journey still yet to come. We can also become paralyzed by expectation of the future–trapped in an endless chase for shiny objects, derailed by distracting fantasies, and living our days with our heads stuck in the clouds. When we’re so eager and anxious over what lies ahead, we pause time by living with bated breath. We literally lessen the quality of our breaths, putting our lives on hold, waiting to see what our path might be. We fear being fully present in the present when focus our attention fully on the uncertain future.
How can we fully experience and enjoy the now if we’re in a constant tug of war between the past and the future? The simple truth is that we can’t. So much energy is wasted when we continually relive staid thoughts and old emotions. So much valuable time is lost when we nurse regrets for the mistakes we’ve made and when we repeatedly wallow grief for the detours we’ve been forced to take along the way. Time is far better served expressing gratitude for the lessons we’ve learned and appreciating the journey that has brought us to this present. Life is far better lived when we’ve made our peace with the past and let go of our fears and expectations for the future, committing to fully living in the present, appreciating each moment and experience as they come.
Commit to Being Here, Now in 2018
A prevailing theme that threads through my work and my writing is the concept of change and one’s ability to transform him or herself at any time or point in one’s life. It’s not surprising, really, when you consider that my name, Renée, literally means ‘reborn’ in French. Whether by necessity or by choice, I feel like I’m perennially giving birth to revised (and hopefully improved) versions of myself. I believe this drive comes not from an unrelenting disappointment with who I am and what I’ve accomplished; instead, it recognizes the seemingly unlimited potential for which I–and all of us–have the capacity.
This is not to say that I’ve deluded myself into thinking or wanting to be someone other than myself. Rather, I truly seek to be the best version of me as I can be. Different periods of time and changing circumstances necessitate revisioning what that best self is.
Believing that humans are hardwired for self-actualization, psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote: ‘I think of the self-actualizing man not as an ordinary man with something added, but rather as the ordinary man with nothing taken away.” When I envision a life where nothing is taken away from my greatest self, I see a life freed from the outgrown models and perceived failures of the past and the rose-colored ideals and absurd expectations of the future. When I let go of whom I think I should be, I set myself free.
So for 2018, I am tossing out unrealistic New Year’s resolutions that are nigh impossible to attain. I am dismissing outrageous declarations that ignore the natural, inevitable changes of life. Instead, I align myself with the cyclical flow, creative force and unlimited potential of the extraordinary universe. I commit to completely being present–right here, right now. I commit to living with mindfulness, allowing my deepest desires, most authentic joys and divinely inspired purpose to guide my actions. I make the most of who I am in every moment as it comes, soaking in every experience with all my senses. Wholly present, centered and grounded, and fully embodying my body, mind and soul–I am. So Hum
She Let Go
“She Let Go”
A Poem by Rev. Safire Rose
She let go.
Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely,
without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a
book on how to let go… She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about
how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyse whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.