“Breathe in what you need, and breathe out what you don’t need… let go…” — Lea, the self-compassion teacher, would guide us during our community workshops together.
I sat there wondering, a bit perplexed: “Letting go sounds really nice. But how do I actually doooooo that?”
I mustered the courage to ask during a half-day retreat, after her mentioning this “letting go” for weeks on end: “Lea, ummm… you keep talking about this letting go. What does that mean in practice? How do you actually do that?”
She responded: “Well, maybe it’s less about letting go — and more about reorienting. Instead of thinking about the thing you’re trying to let go of, reorienting to the heart…”
I had been sitting with more conflicts in relationships — with a dear friend, with a family member — than I had ever experienced in my 38-years of living. I was showing up more fully, more real and with my own needs and being open to more feedback of what they each experienced from me. Openings and conditions for truth were being created. And in them, also came this messiness, discomfort, and new territory of exploring intimacy and challenges in relationships.
I tried on this reorientation that Lea said — essentially it was trying on feeling more and thinking less. It worked. Not like a total magic pill, but close — it did bring a momentary peace, and a direction that was waaaaay more liberating than the circular, repetitive thinking and digging I often do in my mind. This “figuring out” I try so frequently to do when stuff that comes up — trying to “figure out” who’s right and who’s wrong, and how I’m entitled to this and that, and so on and so on…
I felt a sense of sadness, a shifting sensation, then a lightness… a spaciousness that came from pausing the mentaL ruminating.
Instead of the habitual spin cycle of thinking, thinking, thinking, worrying, worrying, worrying, followed by anger, stuck, anger, stuck, stuck, stuck… there is a softening, less burden of responsibility to figure things out, and a letting go — a trust that all of this will unravel and unfold as it will. And it isn’t up to me.
I’m seeing that I’m not in control. As one of my girlfriends recently said, “We’re just a blip on this planet and in this universe. So insignificant!” She laughed with a full heart and delight. We really are just a blip. And also the entire universe at the same time. This life, our limited time here, it’s all so precious — and so I’m asking myself these days: “how do I want to meet what shows up?”