Friday Inspiration: The Pain of Holding On—And the Promise of Letting Go

Published: Fri, 03/31/17

Dear ,

I met with someone recently who was in a tremendous amount of emotional pain. Going through a breakup, she felt hurt, disappointed, left, lost, and all the other feelings that you might expect.

And in the middle of all this pain, came the golden insight: “The only way out of this pain is to let go.”

Sounds easy, but how to do that?

This insight prompted an interesting line of inquiry to identify the hook that was causing the pain:
  • What was she holding on to?
  • What endings did she not want to face?
  • What was she hoping for that wasn’t happening?
  • What expectations were hidden below the surface of her awareness?
The answers to these questions revealed so many ways that her attention was stuck in wanting things to be different than they are. No wonder she was in so much pain.

The letting go of these hooks happened without too much struggle because she really, really wanted the pain to stop. She went through each one, and asked, “Can I let go of this?” Each time, her wise mind pictured holding on then letting go, and said, “Yes.”

In fact, she felt the relief of finally being more aligned with the truth of how things are.

As humans, it’s natural to hold on. We want control, we resist change—and we want what we want. We get into a certain groove and expect things to stay that way forever.

Change is scary and pushes us out of our comfort zone.

But here’s the truth that we’re all aware of: things change. And our job is to figure out how we want to move with those changes. We can go forward kicking and screaming, not accepting what’s happened.

Or we can look within to see where we’re holding on, and ask if letting go is possible.

So here are some questions for you to contemplate—but only if you’re suffering.
  • Are you holding on, attached to how you want things to be?
  • What could you let go of?
  • Are you willing to let go and open fully to the life that is being offered to you now?
Don’t rush this process. Take time to let the pain—and all the “I want’s” behind the pain—rise to the surface. Let it all be seen in the light of conscious awareness so nothing festers.

Then go through each one. Contemplate holding on…then letting go, and experience what happens.

Letting go isn’t something you do. If it were that simple, we’d all be doing it. But here’s what you can do:
  • Recognize you’re suffering,
  • Become aware of the thoughts behind the pain,
  • Feel what it would be like to hold on,
  • And welcome in the possibility of letting go.
When you’re ready, when grace shines on you, you’ll leave the limited world of hopes and expectations and awaken into expanded consciousness, clear seeing, and the luminous truth of present moment experience. 

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Always in love,