The hardest thing I have ever done? To let go of my husband.
Things were going wrong, I was thinking it was just a difficult phase, a time in a marriage when things are more challenging, but I was simply fooling myself. I probably knew that the marriage could not be repaired, however, it was just too hard to admit it, both to myself and others. Stubborn as I am, I decided I would make it work. And then, a couple of years later, I realised there was no hope in keeping him with me, I had to let go. The way I see it now, that is when the real work started.
Mindfulness and yoga helped me through this challenging (or rather, extremely, excruciatingly hard) time, and truly, these practices saved me.
In mindfulness, one of the nine attitudes that are cultivated is Letting Go. You could also call it Not Clinging or Not Grasping – and all I was doing was clinging on!! I finally found the expression that worked best for me, which is this one: No Resistance. I.e. to offer no resistance to what was happening, since everything around me was telling me to let go.
In books about mindfulness meditation, you can read about how letting go of what is not serving you will help set you free, lead a happier life, and improve your life situation. However, these books also state that to get there, simply reading won’t do it. You have to have the discipline to practice every single day. So, understanding that letting go will save you is one thing, feeling it in your heart and truly knowing it, that is a completely different ordeal.
My yoga teacher at the time mentioned in a session how you can see the leaves falling off the trees in autumn as a parallel to letting go. I realised: the leaves are falling, and I can’t glue them back on, that would just be faking it! Sometimes, the only thing you can do, is to allow a situation to be as it is, and just let go. This is a choice you make for yourself, and that no one else can make for you.
There is a 4-minute clip that I wanted to share and have inserted below (I watched it over and over again for several months) where Jon Kabat-Zinn (the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) describes what he means by letting go. Here, he provides a great example involving monkeys and bananas to illustrate how letting go is the doorway to freedom. The monkey is trapped as he holds on to a banana. Letting go of the banana will set him free, but he just won’t do it. Have a look and listen carefully, it may help you see more clearly, and perhaps let go of something in your life that is not working for you right now ❤️