On Monday, August 21, a solar eclipse will fully cross the United States, from coast to coast, for the first time in almost a century. Qigong master Mingtong Gu writes that a total solar eclipse has alchemical–or transformative–energy and symbolizes “the direct earthly experience of cosmic and celestial energy — pure potential and power — for good or bad.” As whatever we hold in our consciousness is magnified during this celestial event, this is the ideal time to bid adieu to limiting and outdated beliefs, stagnant habits and well-worn patterns of thought, feeling and behavior. We can tap into the expansive, creative and actualizing potential of this alignment of the sun, moon and earth to envision a more purposeful, loving and healing synergy of our body, mind and soul. According to Empower Astrology, an eclipse opens a door to unlimited possibilities, driven by “what we hold in our thought and intention.” As a result, it is the perfect time to get clear about how we truly want to think, feel and behave in relation to the world around us. A few days ago, Danielle LaPorte shared a list of things she was giving up during this period of powerful transformation. I encourage you also to tap into the power of the solar eclipse to awaken the infinite possibility available to you when you commit to living your life with mindfulness and positive intentions.
Reimagine Your Future With a Vision Board
One way to begin reimagining your future is by creating your own vision board. Grab a handful of magazines and begin flipping through the pages. Clip out any words, phrases or images that inspire you and speak to your heart as visual embodiments of the principles you wish to embrace and the desires you’d like to manifest in your life. Do you want to see more growth in your relationships, your finances, your physical wellbeing or your spiritual life? Do you want to feel more capable, more creative or more courageous? Can you identify what fills you with bliss, hope and peace? Take some time to think about the areas of your life and aspects of your personality that you’d like to spend more time exploring. Find images that speak to the dreams and goals that lie deep within your soul. Don’t be afraid to go bold, be colorful and take up space with your collage.
Now that you have a visual guide for the days ahead, it’s time to get honest and specific about what you’d like to release in your life at this time. What in your life no longer serves you? What can you let go of in to give you a greater sense of freedom, peace and joy? Now is the moment to let go of what no longer serves you in order to make room for new possibilities in your amazing future.
Letting Go Of What No Longer Serves You
So let’s identify, name and claim these behaviors, patterns and beliefs that no longer fit who we want to be. It is my personal intention to give up on giving up when the going gets hairy. Thus, for my list, instead of saying “I give up,” I will be adopting the empowering phrase, “I let go of…”
- I let go of the false belief that I am not enough. I am done with second-guessing my own intelligence and intuition. I am tired of letting self-doubt about my gifts, talents and skills keep me from moving forward with my dreams and desires. I cease wasting my time and energy questioning my worth.
- I let go of the idea that there is only one right way to do something. It’s too easy to use perfectionism as an excuse to tread the waves of indecision, to quit when things get too hard or to give up on a challenging goal before I even begin.
- I let go of the habit of taking myself too seriously. I will remember how to laugh with myself. I will let myself play, be silly and “screw up.’
- I let go of unrealistic and non-evolving beauty standards. I realize that I don’t need to still be under 100 pounds to look and feel physically attractive. I recognize that I am healthier and stronger having more healthy fat and more meat on my bones. I embrace and love my growing curves and the strength in my defined muscles.
- I let go of the notion that I’m not doing enough or being enough. I cast off the belief that I only am somebody if I do something big and showy that can be clearly observed and instantly admired by others. Who I am is so much bigger and more profound than what I do. To quote Rumi, “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
- I let go of struggling to codify my spirituality into a tidy box. I accept that meditation and affirmation are my prayer, that writing, music and art are my offerings and that nature and nurturing relationships are my church. I embrace the conception of God as accepting, compassionate, forgiving, generous, supportive and playful. The collective consciousness has a sense of humor and an appreciation for beautiful chaos.
- I let go of empty procrastination, though I do embrace idea-percolating and mindful meandering. In fact, I give myself permission to daydream, brainstorm, doodle and vomit out streams of consciousness.
- I let go of the disrespectful urge to not take my work and my writing seriously enough. I make and reserve time every day for pursuing my passions. I nurture my dreams. I conserve and prioritize my energy for what I value most. I no longer waste my talent and skills on things that don’t feed my soul. I won’t allow distractions and non-essentials to bulldoze into my sacred space of creation. I’m reclaiming my time.
- I let go of judging others. Most especially, I let go of making judgments about people based on the insecurities I have about my own inadequacies and failings or based on willful ignorance of others’ perspective, experiences and struggles. I use my empathetic superpowers to put myself in other people’s shoes before I claim to know where they are going or where they’ve been. I sincerely ask, observe and learn from my fellow travelers through time and space.
- I let go of the notion that I always have to be polite. I am done with apologizing for things for which I’m not sorry. I let go of feeling bad for doing what makes me happiest, and, in return, brings others joy.
- I let go of believing that I always have to say ‘yes.’ Saying ‘no’ is often kinder, more powerful and more honest and authentic. By saying no to the things I don’t want, I create more room in my life for the things I truly crave and desire.
- I let go of the desire to please everyone all the time. It’s impossible, improbable and annoying as hell. To be my most authentic self, I must start with what pleases and fulfills my true self. I have to honor what brings me bliss, purpose and meaning. When I do that, I can better serve others. Giving my best from my highest self, I find pride and worthiness in my own actions.
- I let go feeling as if I owe someone my friendship just because they are sometimes nice or used to be thoughtful. I allow myself to let go of friendships that no longer serve either of us, especially me. I free myself from constantly negative influences and of people who continually upset me or make me angry.
- I let go of the belief that I should or can even be all things to all people. I let go of thinking someone else should or can be all things to another person. Different people are in our lives for different reasons. I value the diversity of experiences, perspective and insight that each person brings. I celebrate them all for the unique blessings they bring to my life.
- I give up the ridiculous fantasy that I should, or am even capable of, knowing it all– of mastering all the healing modalities, learning all the languages, reading all the books, watching all the documentaries, listening to all the music, writing all the stories and eating all the food. I am allowed to be picky and prioritize. I embrace what most inspires, teaches, pleases and challenges me in a positive and life-nurturing way. I also give myself permission to seek out what tickles my funny bone.
- I let go of playing it safe, silencing my voice and making myself small in an effort to displease no one. I don’t truly please anyone by doing so–and, more significantly, I fail myself. I give myself permission to express my opinions. I let go of apologizing for being me. Even when it may feel like I am a lone voice in the dark of night, others might benefit from when I’m brave enough to share my beliefs, thoughts and feelings and grow encouraged to share their own voices.
- I let go of feeling threatened by questions seeking to sincerely understand. I cease to cop out when someone questions something I share, think or feel that is truly important to me.
- I let go of forcing myself to swallow down and choke on difficult or negative emotions, like anger, fear, pain, sadness and loneliness. Allowing myself to feel through these emotions without stuffing them down prevents them from collecting inside me like a powder keg that’s just waiting for the final strike of match to implode.
- I let go of the b.s. self-perception that I’m not funny, interesting or socially engaging enough to make and maintain more meaningful friendships. As SNL’s Stuart Smiley reminds me, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!”
- I let go of the arrogant, erroneous notion that I don’t need anybody and that there’s something weak in me if I do. We all need one another. We thrive when we get present and hold space, support and give love to one another. We can’t get through life any other way.
- I let go of denying myself opportunities to feel loved and to give love. I remind myself to be generous with my time, attention and energy with those I cherish.
- I let go of buying into the myth of scarcity and competition. I no longer let myself be pitted against other women of the sisterhood, as if there is not enough space for our unique expressions of self. There is abundance room for all of us to be our gorgeous, smart, strong, successful, kind, loving selves. We are women of worth; let’s keep remembering that.
- I let go of the urge to constantly check my phone for social media updates. Nothing so earth-shattering has happened in the last 15 minutes that can’t wait another hour. Face-to-face interactions are infinitely more fulfilling and potentially less explosive than reactionary Facebook dialogues. I take back control of my time.
- I am no longer taking everything so personally, so close to heart. I am developing a thicker skin and more tender heart. I give up caring so much about what people think of who I am, what I do and how I feel. It’s how I feel about who I am and what I do that matters most. I no longer let cricket silence prevent me from sharing my voice. I cease reacting hurtfully to honest critique. I recognize and appreciate the difference between valued feedback and trolling vitriol.
- I let go of the paralyzing fear that I have somehow misidentified my calling, that maybe I wasn’t meant to be a writer after all. There are few things I adore more than to play on the page–to artfully arrange and synthesize words, ideas and emotions in order to make connections with others. I have pages and pages and pages of my writing that prove this. The prolific creations of my youth were not just a fluke–they were a sign of my being in the “flow state,” unimpeded by insecurity, doubt and anxiety over the end product. I wasn’t trying to squeeze blood from a stone, but I wrote through the muck to get to the magic. I showed up. I nudged the dial to the channel of inspiration. I got quiet, listened and allowed my fingers to dance. I gave myself time and space to slip into what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes in his TedTalk as the “moment of ecstasy,” when we seem to spontaneously and automatically slip into the the “flow experience” of creativity:
There’s this focus that, once it becomes intense, leads to a sense of ecstasy, a sense of clarity: you know exactly what you want to do from one moment to the other; you get immediate feedback. You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears, you forget yourself, you feel part of something larger. And once the conditions are present, what you are doing becomes worth doing for its own sake. where we create something new for the pleasure of it; creating for its own sake, giving life meaning and purpose.
I don’t write because I am a writer. I write every day, and this makes me by definition a ‘writer’…still, now, always and forever.
Cast Your Fears Into The Fire
When you are done writing your own list, make a copy of it as a reminder. Then, consider casting the original list of the old ways into a flame in your own fire ceremony. Treat this as the sacred rite it is, where you are no longer looking outside yourself to find your value, worth or fulfillment. Now is the time to take back our own power. You might want to then take time to thoughtfully come up with a new list of habits, beliefs and attitudes you wish to now embrace. Tap into the power of the solar eclipse to embrace your new beginnings. Sit still, focus on your breathing and consider spending some time with this fearless heart meditation. Awaken the courage and openness to embrace the newly transformed life that awaits you.