The Art of Letting Go

As a long-time resident of New York City — 24 years and counting — I’m all too aware of the horror raining down on this amazing city, and around our country, and the world. The grief and fear are beyond words, and the uncertainty almost unbearable.

silhouette people on beach at sunset
Photo by Dana Tentis on

But as a writer and a life coach, I inevitably found myself compartmentalizing that pain long enough to ‘self-coach’ myself, and began wracking my brain in search of any miracles in this mess. With the world basically shut down for God knows how long, what’s the opportunity here? Is there one?

Some coaches and self-help authors have been taking flack (perhaps rightfully so) lately for chirping out what many see as untimely cheerleading — hey, now is a great time to improve yourself, learn a language, earn an online degree, or start a business! — because for many (myself included) that’s the last thing we want to hear right now. We just are trying to stay sane, and manage our fear, rage and junk food intake in a world gone mad, right?

That said, I actually arrived at some clarity to my own question, about somehow finding a miracle in this mess. I came up with this:

What if this is the perfect time to just Let Go. Let go of your old crap! Let it go, once and for all.

So I did a review of some of the thoughts/beliefs/habits that don’t feel good, and I noticed they’re many of the most common “erroneous zones” — as Wayne Dyer famously called them — that create so much unnecessary suffering for us humans.

Do you feel any of these on a regular basis (or are there any others would you add to this list)?

— Guilt
— Resentment
— Shame
— Regrets
— Approval Seeking
— Blame
— Comparisons
— Grudges

Any of these ring a bell? What would happen if you used this life-altering pandemic as your excuse to finally acknowledge them, and because of life’s new uncertainties, just let them all go?

For example, imagine your life without guilt. Guilt for that mistake you made last year. Guilt for not being more successful, or some missed opportunity you keep agonizing about. Imagine if you just said, I’m letting it all go, life is too short! Imagine that for a moment.

Now try it with another topic you’ve identified in your life. Maybe you discover you’re holding on to resentment, or blame, and it’s draining your energy. How would life feel if you let them go? Keep going through your list, and asking these kinds of questions, it can actually get to be really fun and liberating.

Now ask yourself: Who would I be right now, if I ‘let go’ of even one of the items on my list? Would I be happier, healthier, more loving, filled with relief? Or will I just stay same as I am now?

I think it’s safe to say, life will be forever changed by this pandemic. Staying the same isn’t really an option, so embracing and crafting your own inner changes seems like a pretty good idea, too.

So how do you ‘let go’ of guilt, or resentment, or whatever it is you’ve identified? Acknowledge it, own it, and then practice a mantra in your own words that declares you’re letting it go now.  One example: “I have no more time or energy for _____ in my life, I’m letting this go, for my highest good.” Use your own words, but make sure it’s said in the present tense, with an “I am” context. Give thanks. It’s your decision, and you’ve made it. If you feel lighter and better, you know you’re on the right track.

Need more motivation to give this a try? Leading energy healers, mind body researchers and wellness experts have released volumes of material reflecting the immense benefits of letting go of long-held negative emotions. Check out the work of Anita Moorjani, Louise Hay and Aleta St. James, to name a few. Do some research and find out for yourself, and discover what resonates most with you.

So go ahead, make your own ‘let go’ list. Who knows where it might lead. But as we shelter in place, why not practice the art of letting go, just for the fun of it?

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