We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.
- Joseph Campbell
Autumn is my favourite time of year in Sydney. A golden light and special stillness occur. It is the time of harvesting, but also the gateway to winter. Just as the trees shed their autumn leaves, we too at times need to let go. Whether it is letting go of expectations, beliefs that no longer serve us, behaviours, addictions, an idea, a dream, a place or a person, the process can be scary and painful. The Buddha suggested that we let go of everything and not cling to anything; that life is a constant flow and when we cling to anything, we are no longer in the "allowing". We tend to cling out of fear - fear of the unknown. Our ego minds convince us that we are not safe unless we have any manner of things from outside ourselves to keep us safe and secure. And yet it is only by letting go that we can transform our lives. We must let go of the old to bring in the new. In the Tarot, the card of Death represents just this - an ending and therefore a new beginning. How many times have we suffered a painful loss, only to look back in hindsight and see that it turned out to be a good thing? Or bravely walked away from something that no longer served us, for which we were rewarded further down the track?
If you are experiencing any kind of loss or are finding it hard to let go of something, you are not alone. After a loss there is often emptiness and uncertainty and we humans are terrified of both. But the seasons can help us trust in the process. The deciduous tree loses its leaves and its branches become bare as it waits for Spring. Many gum trees lose their bark. The fields give up their produce and are ploughed and lie fallow before the next plantation. And spring always comes, new buds always shoot, new bark always appears and new crops grow and on it goes. The key to letting go of anything is to trust.
If you have lost or let go of something, allow yourself time to grieve, and don't try to fill the empty space too quickly. It may be too soon. With some losses, we may feel that we lose our very identity. Allow the "winter" to occur and give yourself time to get to know the new you, because every loss brings with it transformation.
Here is a prayer from Marianne Williamson, to transform feelings of hopelessness or negativity:
I feel myself falling into the hole of self-pity, obsession and negativity. I know I shouldn't think this way, but I'm afraid and I cannot stop. Please replace my thoughts with higher ones. I am willing to see myself and all things differently. Please send me the miracle of new eyes and ears, that I might know my greater good.