The following quote is hanging in my bathroom and I see it at least 2 times a day if not more:
In the end what matters most is
How well did you live?
How well did you love?
How well did you learn to let go?
It has become a mantra for me, causing me to take pause and reflect on a daily basis. Am I living well? Yes, I truly feel that I am. Check. Am I loving well? Definitely. I do my best to show love to all parts of my life as consistently as I can. I can honestly say I am doing pretty well on that one too. Check.
Then there’s the last question. How well do I let go? Uh oh. This one is definitely much more of a challenge for me. I imagine it is for most of us. We hold onto all sorts of things: people, material items, ideas, regrets, arguments, bad habits, resentments, guilt, fear…the list goes on and on. Why is this letting go so difficult? Because the ego grows bigger the more it identifies with something. It holds on to things to make itself stronger and in this case, stronger is not better. In fact, this strength of ego comes with a huge price and that price is suffering.
According to yoga, the kleshas are the reason we suffer. Avidya or misperception is one of the kleshas and is said to be the root cause of all suffering. From misperception the other kleshas arise. One of which is over-identification or attachment to form (asmita). When we mistake the value of some ‘thing’ for who we are, we suffer. We hold onto things because we think they are a part of who we are and cannot imagine that ‘thing’ not being there or being real. We identify with it. Then we hold on for dear life. And when we hold on too tightly, it is really, really hard to let go.
Fortunately, the practice of yoga is all about letting go. Yoga reminds us that form is always changing so we practice letting go of what once was and connect to what is. We find our stability and strength in a pose and then let go of excess tension and effort. We let go of getting it ‘right’ and instead focus on getting to know who we are right now in a way that balances both the effort and the ease.
No matter what we are trying to let go of, the best way to do it is via the exhale. The exhale is directly linked to letting go. When we let go of the breath and focus on making it slow, smooth and deep, we will get better at letting go. So, if you find yourself holding on too tightly try getting on your mat and practice letting go in each pose. Or simply just watch your breath and let the exhale guide your way.
How well are you living?
How well are you loving?
How well are you letting go?
We have some great workshops and events coming up in the next few months, so please check it all out. I am really excited to explore the Chakra System in a 12 hour immersion this weekend. If you are curious about the Chakras and are looking for ways to enhance your yoga practice and your everyday life, come join us. Also, I am thrilled to have Vicki Noble back to Yoga Blend once again at the end of the month. She is an incredible teacher of the Divine Feminine and this is a rare opportunity to work with such an inspiring teacher. Come join us for this sacred women’s work as we explore the Motherpeace Tarot!
With infinite love and gratitude…