Liberation Through Letting Go
"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. "
~ Joseph Campbell
That was the quote that greeted me as I started reading "Shapeshifting Into Higher Consciousness" by Llyn Roberts, in preparation to begin my Shamanic Reiki Master Teacher training. It struck me because I've found myself not only doing this for myself but also suggesting it to others for a long time now. I know I have struggled with the idea that I have to control whatever I can in my life, in order to be safe and not lose what I think I need to be happy or successful, etc. The struggle for control did not help me, instead it created high blood pressure, tension headaches, and a sore neck and back from carrying too much stress. Turned out, the control has pretty much always been an illusion anyway. If you stop and think about your life, how often do the things you plan turn out the way you planned? Are the things that truly make you happiest in your life, things you planned for or did they come to you when you needed them, sometimes unexpectedly? Or have things you wished for or needed come to you in ways that you never would have planned for? I know some of the most amazing things that have happened to me and the people that are most important to me, were presented to me in ways I would never have considered in all my planning.
Since I've begun working with more people using Reiki, as well as developing my intuition, I've had people tell me that I'm really gifted with both intuition and with Reiki. It always makes me smile internally because I know what I'm really gifted at is letting go. As far as Reiki goes, I am simply a tool to help move and transmit energy. The only way for me to do that really well, is to let go completely of my ego and of what I think needs to happen in a session. I work on making sure that the person is comfortable, that I have the tools I need, and am in a receptive state for the session. Then I just let the energy flow and do as I'm directed. It would be a complete waste of my time to sit down before a session and try to plan out each minute of the hour I spend with a person on the table. That would leave me completely up in my head and thoughts during a session which actually blocks the energy flow.
As far as intuition, I listen to my body. My stomach is very chatty when intuition needs to speak with me and it's become much more so since I've actively worked on developing my intuition. When I read Tarot and divination cards (which just read the present energy in a visual way, like I read the energy with my hands when I do a Reiki session), I pay attention to when my stomach is moving up and down like I'm on a roller coaster. That means I'm on the right track as far as what questions I'm asking and how I'm interpreting the answers. If I get confused and my body feels constricted, I know it's my head and my fear that are doing the talking instead of intuition.
Please believe me when I say that it took work to develop the skill of letting go. It's basically untraining myself from the way our society teaches us to live. It's not easy and it wasn't for me. I've been through depression and some very painful times to learn this lesson. But I know that when I do let go of trying to control, even if I don't know what's coming next or understand why a situation is happening, I feel a kind of liberation that makes it completely worth it. The stress goes, my neck pain goes, I feel lighter, and I feel FREE. And you know what? Everything works out ok even without me trying to puppet master the outcome (for a real life example, ask me about my rather spontaneous move to Maine six years ago!).
Letting go can be learned and it can help in many areas of life. Those areas that I have noticed particularly weigh me and others down and can benefit from some letting go energy: toxic relationships (or at least toxic elements of relationships), judgement toward self and others, expectations of how others should live, expectations of how you should live based on what others think of you, beliefs that keep your worldview restrictive, wants that may be blocking what you actually need, actions that you know hurt instead of help.
Look to nature for lessons on letting go. This autumn, I took my dog out for a walk one morning after the first heavy frost. There was not a breath of wind in the air yet the leaves were cascading down from the trees in sheets. They knew it was their time to let go and they did so gracefully and in breathtaking splendor, as the rising sun sparkled off the frost that still clung to them. There was such beauty in their letting go and yet nothing was lost. Those leaves will feed the earth as they decay, making for rich and lush foliage again in the spring. Nothing lost, only transformed. That is liberation through letting go.