So we begin the lessons on Recovery this month with "Letting go," because it can be an empowering way to begin the process. And don't fret over this, but let me share with you a secret: Recovery is a lifelong process. That is in no way meant to be a negative. That's definitely a positive. It means you continually get the chance to make a fresh start. We'll never stop making mistakes, missing the mark on something, doing something we wish we wouldn't. We're human. We don't do it all 100 percent. We won't give it all 100 percent. We won't be perfect. Ever. So, it seems to me you're empowered when you realize you always have the opportunity for a fresh start. When you let go, you've gained an immediate sense of liberty. It's liberating to know you get those do-overs--however many you need.
But first you must let go of something.
So let's start with the past. You're hearing a lot of people say something like, "Thank goodness 2009's over. It was a horrible year. I'm ready to let that one go." It's a wonderful exclamation of the freedom I'm talking about today. It means these folks are focusing on moving forward. Letting go. Moving forward. It doesn't mean you forget. To me, it means not holding on to that which holds you back. It's not about pretending nothing ever happened. It's about letting go the grudges, being able to forgive someone of something, accepting what you can't control, being okay with what IS. It's about letting go the FEELINGS that can tie you down.
The great thing about "feelings" that we don't always recognize is that they are fleeting. Holding onto them essentially means you're holding onto an energy that might not even be there tomorrow. Ask yourself this question: Have I ever been worried, for instance, about something I said to someone and they didn't even remember what I said? Have I ever fought with someone, when, not one month later, neither of us could remember what we fought about? That's the kind of stuff you might be ready to let go of in 2010.
Goodman's column quoted something about the "Graceful Exit" from somewhere that I really latched onto when I read it:
"There's a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over--and to let go. It means leaving what's over without denying its validity or its past importance in our lives.
"It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving on rather than out."
I particularly related to the line about "leaving what's over without denying its validity or its past importance in our lives." That's why I say letting go isn't about forgetting. Our experiences teach us lessons. If we forget events, we may forget the lessons as well, which means we may have to learn them all over again. That might lead to uncomfortable or miserable experiences that we've already had. Keep the lessons, but let go of the hurts, if that's what led to them.
Today, let's agree to resolve to let go of what has been holding us back. If it's a friendship that's gone sour (Visit Irene's blog above to learn more about this topic), if it's a job that isn't working, if it's a bad habit, today resolve to let it go. Take it one day at a time or one step at a time, if that's what it takes, and begin to move forward rather than stay behind.
If there is something in your life that you need to let go of, beginning today, tell us what it is right here and also how it's been holding you back. Sometimes, just the act of writing this stuff down can bring about a clarity you didn't even know you needed.
Let it out and let it go.