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 Pexels.com

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?

Here’s a Quick, Easy Way to Stay Sane

I loathe forced positivity, or hollow advice to “think positive”. It doesn’t really work, have you noticed? Too often, forcing positivity when you’re stressed just creates failure and frustration.

Instead, the most effective thing I can think of as we socially distance and manage the anxiety of this corona pandemic is to live in the NOW. Right now, so this very second becomes your only focus. When you’re truly present, then you can introduce positive thoughts, ideas and feelings. Choose them deliberately and authentically. Find music you love, focus on your beloved pet or loved one, or a place you find safe and comfortable. Then, authentic positivity becomes more available. Screen Shot 2020-03-19 at 1.30.50 PM

Since no one can truly predict the future, or control outside events, driving yourself nuts with fear is utterly useless—and you have the power to try something else. Choose to focus in on only now, imagine your spirit/energy/whatever you want to call it, surging strong, and remember all the things that you love, which can give you an immediate sense of joy no matter what’s on your Twitter feed.

Try it, just for 5 minutes, right now. (Or you can freak out, imagine the worst outcomes, and turn into a crazed beast, which won’t make things better, not even a little bit). Try focus on the now, right now. Reach out to support others, or ask for help if you need it. Download my free eBook, or get in touch with me here. Be safe and well, and in the now.

SWIHA Spotlight: How to ‘Get Out of Your Own Way’

This feature story originally appeared on the SWIHA website:

Mitch Rustad’s journey to becoming a Life Coach was a natural evolution of his passion for personal development and transformation. After a profound experience helping a close friend navigate a severe life crisis, he was inspired to take his interest a step further and pursue an education at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts.

Mitch-Rustad-Life-Coaching-Month-feat“I thought it was time to get some formal training and put my personal passions and communications skills to work,” Mitch explains, “I loved the idea of helping others break negative patterns and ‘get out of their own way.’ I now use that phrase on my business cards and that sums up what the work is all about.”


Mitch has served clients from all walks of life and has observed that everyone’s blocks, or what keeps them stuck, are similar: “It doesn’t matter if you’re single, married, widowed, straight, gay or younger or older. We’re all the same, and we all ultimately want to experience the same things – happiness, harmony, love and abundance. “

His favorite way to start a meaningful dialogue in his sessions is through the use of the “More or Less” tool, where clients list things they’d like more of in their life and things they’d like less of and identify the connection between the two.

“It’s super simple for even skeptical people to grasp and dive into,” he says, “and it makes the road going forward much clearer. In my experience, often people are initially intimidated or skeptical, and this helps them drop their guard and start talking about their life and goals. It immediately opens doors that have been closed for people who never gave themselves permission to dream outside the box.”

Mitch shares this story with us: “I coached a close friend through a personal and professional impasse, which was the most challenging experience I’ve ever had. Despite severe negative blocks and procrastination, we ended up making tremendous progress and profound transformations. It’s because of this experience I know that almost anything is possible and no situation is hopeless if someone’s willing to open up to positive change.”

Life Coaching hasn’t just advanced Mitch professionally; it’s also helped him on a deeply personal level.  He says he comes away from every session with a client feeling like he’s benefited from the experience as well.

“It’s really helped me focus and create real-world changes in myself and others I’ve worked with and to believe profound change is not only possible, it’s inevitable, with this work,” he tells us, “if you’re inspired or intrigued by the idea of Life Coaching, take an introductory class. Do it first and foremost for yourself, because the courses at SWIHA are as much about your own personal growth as about the skills you learn. Open up to the possibilities, have fun, and see where it leads you — to surprising places, I’m willing to bet!”

To register for your free 30-minute consult, go HERE.

 

Beyond Politics: Creating Harmony in a World Gone Mad

Can a Trump voter live in harmony with a liberal? Can red and blue America truly find common ground in these trying times? These questions are even more pertinent given that the holidays (gasp!) are upon us.

But now that this agonizing election is behind us, I’m thinking it’s time to tackle this tricky topic, because I can answer with certainty – YES.

Controversial, I know!

In a nutshell, you CAN transcend politics, you CAN be happier and more harmonious now (no matter what your shows up on social media), and NO, you can’t wait to do this until the right party wins, or when things calm down. What if that magical day takes years to arrive? As always, our focus has to be on the NOW, and what we can do today.

In the last few days, despite the anger, toxicity and insanity surrounding all things politics — and I’ve felt plenty of that myself at times — I realize that through the use of relatively simple coaching tools, anyone can transcend these very real agonies.

 

Life is short, so can anyone really afford to put their life on hold until politics gets sorted out? Talk about a dead end!

What makes me so sure? The bottom line is, the human desire for greater joy, wellness and personal peace is universal, and doesn’t have a political party. We can all agree on that, right?

Like most of us, I’ve found it perplexing at times to realize that so many neighbors, friends, relatives and co-workers might have a wildly different view of our country or President than I do. It’s a temptation to run to avoid, shun or judge those people, and blame them for any anxiety or suffering that comes from our toxic politics in this country. At times, we rightfully feel out blood boil, and find the toxic levels of lying and corruption intolerable. I’ve been there, who hasn’t in the last few years, right?

But as I return each day to the basic principles of coaching work with my clients, I realize this work transcends politics (or any other topic, for that matter). I have learned that coaching exercises bring us to deep, more universal places, where we really ARE the same, because we all want more happiness, success, and love in our lives. Amidst the chaos and confusion, it gets really simple. All it takes is a willingness to try, to change, which goes far beyond today’s political winds.

Of course, we all have to address the negative blocks, resistance, anxieties and distortions that hold us back — and THOSE issues very likely have nothing to do with who you vote for — and I find that vastly encouraging in these unstable days. That work probably involves (pardon the pun) liberal doses of detachment and non-judgment, which is easier said than done, of course.

Without a doubt, we all need to stay active and involved in our duty as citizens to create a better country for everyone. But in the meantime, we have lives to live, goals to reach and moment-by-moment fulfillment to grab onto. Life is short, who can afford to put life on hold until politics gets sorted out?  Talk about a dead end!

With the arrival of the holiday season, we all probably will have to interact with various people who may offend our values as citizens and human beings. But as coaching reveals, the ultimate freedom from that angst comes from doing our work, and keeping politics in its proper context. I’ve seen it with others, and in myself. We all DO have the power to sit at a dinner table, or in a social gathering, and NOT be triggered by offensive points of view, and that work isn’t in changing the other person. It’s all about taking charge of yourself.

That MIGHT ultimately mean, you just don’t hang out with people you find toxic to your beliefs. Fair enough. But when you DO have to — family dinners, work parties, etc. — discovering ways to feel SO good, and secure in your own worth, that other people’s anger and discontent dissolves at your feet, is what I call real power. I want more of that, don’t you?

This power doesn’t mean you’ll ever have to compromise core beliefs, morals, and tolerate what you view as bad or offensive behavior. But this power also means that all of us, beneath whatever comfortable armor we may have around our political identities, can reach higher levels of happiness, peace, joy and success, regardless of the latest political chaos around us.

Want to learn more about creating this kind of freedom in your life? For a complimentary, 30-minute coaching session, GO HERE and let’s get started! Here are some testimonials and additional blog posts, too.

Do You Try to Criticize Your Way to Success?

Ready for a shock? Take a few minutes right now, slow down and detach momentarily from your routine, tasks, and to do list, and contemplate this: As you go throughout your day, try to monitor/write down the thoughts going through your mind AS you try to attain those goals. Go ahead, try it now, just for a few minutes.

Did any of the following usually unconscious, autopilot, often socially conditioned responses come up for you?

Why can’t you do it right? Do it faster! You sure about that? What if you’re making a mistake? Maybe they know better than you? Watch out! You’ll never be good enough. You better wait, what if it doesn’t work?

Yikes! This programmed self-critic isn’t HELPING you in any way, but this issue has been coming up some recent coaching sessions, and because my coaching mantra is ‘It’s time to get out of your own way’ that means putting an end to any mindless, autopilot self-criticism.

The mind has thousands of thoughts a day, so we can’t possibly correct EVERY thought that comes up, but we CAN notice them, without attaching judgment. Then, try to let them just dissolve like a passing cloud on the horizon. Casually notice, then dismiss that harsh inner critic, and pay attention enough to interrupt any stream of thoughts that drag you down, de-energize you as you move towards what you want. Try it today, and see how you do. Do these thoughts HELP you in any way?

Are self-criticism, punishment, admonishment, etc., really the BEST you can do to move towards your goals?

You can’t criticize your way to ‘success’ and even if you can temporarily motivate yourself via this kind of negativity, it will be short-lived, and unsatisfying. Is that really how you want to live your life, turning against yourself, cracking that whip, as your best option for achieving your goals? When we understand there are far better ways to self-motivate, which actually make us feel GOOD, fill us with vibrant energy and self-worth (and thus, self-confidence), we can tell that inner critic to take a hike, because we’ve found a better, far more satisfying (and effective) way to be successful.

Try this exercise today, and identify three of your most common forms of self-criticism. Take a hard look at them, and then decide you’re going to release them and choose a more satisfying means of filling up your fuel tank. Write your own mantra, to train your brain to believe success is NOT attached to self-criticism. Before long, you’ll start ticking off that ‘to do’ list with greater ease, and FEEL good in the process. That’s the kind of ‘success’ I’m looking to experience, what about you?

For more information on coaching or to set up a consultation, CLICK HERE