From the Harmony Habit Tip Archives (July 2011):
“By letting go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.”
~ Lao Tzu
Recently, I found myself getting upset because things weren’t going my way. My idea of how life was “supposed” to be was not matching up with what was actually happening. The more I objected the more frustrated and stressed I became. I was arguing with reality and wasn’t winning!
Then I came across this quote. “By letting go it all gets done…” It was on the wall of a restaurant I was sitting at, waiting rather impatiently for takeout. I read the words, sunk back in my chair and let out a sigh of relief. It was exactly the message I needed!
Over the next few days, as I practiced at “letting go,” things started to fall into place more naturally and easily. It was like “winning” at life again!
Just a few days later, I shared this story with my dear friend, Robin. “Of course!” she said, “Let go! It’s become my mantra, especially as I get older!” Robin and I laughed and then repeated the words over and over again, applying them to dozens of situations that might have otherwise made us feel crazy. And you know what? We lightened up! We “let go!”
I once heard it said that, “arguing with reality is like expecting a cat to bark.” The point is we drive ourselves crazy!
Accepting “what’s so” makes sense on many levels. Yet no one likes to have their dreams messed with; so learning to accept life on its own terms can be challenging. However, if we wish to succeed in life, it behooves us to stop protesting and start accepting our current reality. That way we can move more freely into the life that’s meant for us. The practice of “letting go” helps us arrive there more gracefully and joyfully. That’s a much better state of mind to be in, especially if we want to positively influence or change things.
This week’s practice:
Notice if you are “arguing with reality.” Are you holding onto a picture of how things “should” be rather than how they actually are – and protesting? Make a list of the people or events in your life you wish were different. Ask yourself: “Am I willing to stop resisting ‘what’s so?’ Am I willing to let go of any anger, fear or frustration I may be holding onto? Am I willing to accept things as they are?” Then notice your response.
There may be a payoff for holding on. Your feelings may “justify” some inaction on your part; or provide “proof” that you just can’t “win” at life. See instead if you can allow yourself to move into a greater place of acceptance, no matter what is going on. Then notice if there’s any greater ease that comes with letting go. See if this new acceptance helps you relax or even frees up a solution that may have been blocked. Lastly, ask yourself: “Am I willing to simply let go and allow my life to more move more freely, more gracefully into the life that’s meant for me?”
From this greater place of equanimity, you’ll be better able to evaluate your situation more wisely and then choose the next best step to take!
Conflict Resolution Program
on Audio CD