Balloons floating away

Jack Kornfield, my favorite Buddhist monk psychologist says, loving and letting go can be the same thing because both allow us to touch each changing moment and be there fully for whatever arises next. These words resonate with me as I experience moments of hope and peace, followed by waves of overwhelm and sadness in this chaotic time of uncertainty, and loss.

This is also a time to reflect on what matters most and discern what does not serve you. When we are attached and grasping, either because something is good and we don’t want it to be over, or because it’s bad and we can’t imagine it ever being over, it creates our pain and suffering. When we learn to let go, we ease our suffering and make space for something else like an insight or new behavior to come in.

Here are five potential things to let go of:

  1. Busyness

    Let go of the constant need to be doing more and focus on being more with your thoughts, through journaling, reading or quiet time.

    COVID affords us the luxury of slowing down for more introspection, at least on our days off, since we can’t socialize or go anywhere besides the grocery.

  2. Expectations

    Let go of all the unrealistic expectations living in your head and open your heart to be more kind and tender with yourself and others.

    If you are an overachiever like me and expect to be more productive with all this extra time, remember unrealistic expectations set us up for deep disappointment.

  3. Perfection

    Let go of the need to be perfect and embrace your humanness, which is what connects us to ourselves and each other.

    Perfection gets in the way of good and is paralyzing because it keeps us from moving forward on anything. If you want a crash course, create a video of yourself and send it to your family and friends!

  4. Grief

    Let go of your grief to make space for gratitude, for everyone and everything you do have right now.

    Feel the waves of grief as you experience the loss of the way life used to be, and then let it go. We are all grieving things we used to take for granted, like meeting a friend for coffee, celebrating a family birthday, or going out to dinner.

  5. Non-Essentials

    Let go of the things and activities that are not essential in your life.

    I never imagined we could actually survive on going to the grocery store once a week. As everyone’s work shifts and the future is full of uncertainty, it’s a great time to look at all of our expenses and determine what is essential and what is not.

Like all resilience skills, letting go is a practice, not a one and done. It is not always easy, but very empowering to consciously let go of one thing to be there fully for the next.

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