Why is change so hard? Have you ever found yourself clinging to a relationship or a job, or felt disappointment or despair when your dreams and expectations didn’t pan out the way you imagined?
What is it that prevents us from letting go? Is it safety in what we know, and fear of not knowing the future? Change can be a huge challenge whether it’s a career, family circumstances, your home or the break-up of a relationship.
Whenever we let go of something familiar, there is an uncomfortable space or period where we step onto unfamiliar ground. While the old path may have had dull scenery, or difficult terrain, the ground was firm and you knew the route. The new path for all you know, may have a gaping big hole just up ahead which you could plunge into, and be lost forever!
The safety of something or someone familiar can be incredibly appealing, so when we do let go, there is bound to be a degree of suffering. ‘Bound’ being the operative word. In relationship to a person, a job, a hope or a dream, we in some way bind or attach ourselves. Cutting that cord can be anything from uncomfortable to being a deep dark abyss of grief.
So how do we manage the transition? Well we can look at why what we’re letting go of was appropriate for us in the past. What it offered us… safety, security, love, hope, joy… and why we needed that back then. Then allow ourselves to feel gratitude for what we received, rather than feeling only its loss. At the same time, we need to allow the uncomfortable feelings. When we practise yoga poses, there is always an element of discomfort. Without discomfort we don’t move on in our practise, we don’t progress. With time, discomfort provides an opening, a softening, a release and newfound strength. So being with discomfort is in itself the path to growth.
On the other hand, if we push beyond the pain barrier in a yoga pose the muscles contract to protect themselves from going somewhere they’re not ready to go. And so it is that when we transition in life or break a bond, we also need to be kind to ourselves. Yes we need to push and challenge ourselves, and then we need to make time to love and nurture ourselves.
Life is full of uncomfortable moments. When we fight to hold on to something familiar we ultimately create more discomfort. Can you discover the fine line between accepting where you are and not clinging to where you were, or even where you are going? When you hit a tight spot, breathe deeply and exhale fully. Embody the act of letting go and open to embrace the unfamiliar.
Please share your experiences of letting go and how you have dealt with change and the discomfort.
Written by Rachael Wharton www.yogawithrachael.com