this time of year when many in the western world abandon regular order and
routine in the spirit of celebration. In contrast many find this time of year challenging as all our
efforts and work spirals into a finite point of focus related to a series of significant traditional and sacred events in the calendar. The contradiction of our intensity and
rush to enjoy the celebrations creates some heightened emotional states. Many of these states are wonderful and
joyous and others can be filled with anxiety. Especially where celebration blends with tradition and
expectations. My three part post under this topic is to offer you some thoughts on how to handle the joy and challenges of
this time in a way that best serves you and all those who you connect with in
your life and work.
Let go of the past
dates fly by and people remind us of countdowns to the end of the year you
would think we are running out of time.
On the contrary we are still filled with time, it just seems to be a
matter of perspective.
aspect of this time of year that we all encounter is the opportunity to reflect
on the past year’s experiences. It
is a time to contemplate with a whole range of emotions what actually took
place in our busy or not so busy life. For some this reflection can be about
what was and was not accomplished. For others it is relief. And for another group this
time is about celebrating and acknowledging what transpired. For me letting go is about all of these aspects.
of a year
amusing when I hear people say I can’t wait until 2008 is over. As if the year itself were the cause of
their problems or worries. However
the attachment that we give to a period in time can be significant. So my first point is to
acknowledge this fact and then work with it.
How do we
work with it? Well we acknowledge
the year and then let it go. We
let go of the past as they say.
The meaning of letting go
does it mean to ‘let go of the past’? To completely disregard the past doesn’t mean it goes away. Instead it
means to honour and accept it before moving on. So much of the past stays in our mind because it is what we
know. Being what we know it is
familiar and easy to bring to mind.
It is nice, well and good to be able to recall and learn from this
period. However to live in the past has no relevance to where you are right
now. To live from where we have
come or were means we simply stay there.
We can express our attachment to the past in both supportive and non supportive ways. For example we may label ourselves the victim or play the blame game when things go wrong. We may also hold onto accomplishments that defined us in our past as a person we used to be. For example the athlete that won the awards but doesn't compete or even engage in the sport anymore, the best student at school even though you no longer work in a field related to that study, the single person with no kids even though now you have a family. These are identities that you have evolved from, shaped you but do not represent who you are now. So letting go is about being who you are now as well. Any time you say I am...and fill in the blank from an aspect of who you used to be means you are not really being true to yourself. A truth is that where I have been shapes and makes me the person I am today. That person is...?
many of you this comment will be challenging. I know. The past is verifiable, evidence and real. It has happened therefore it is real.
observation is that the past can also have a hold on us. So unless we work with it and allow
ourselves to move on from it we remain disempowered. No matter what the current
moment or new year brings.
perspective there is a time and place for reminiscing and one for letting
go. What we hold on to is the joy
and learning from the past that helps us be more of who we are, or helps us be
happier and whole. What we let go
of are the parts of the past that no longer help us or that which gets in the
way of us being who we really want to be.
A suggested process or two or
three or so
can you actually do? Well much more than I can give proper attention to in this
post. However here are a few suggestions with varying levels of commitment,
effort and results. I am going to
limit this conversation to the context of reviewing your 2008.
time for this process!!!!!!! If
indoors, be as drastic as locking the door of your room and putting out the do
not disturb sign (they aren’t just for hotels). Ideally go somewhere in nature where you won’t be disturbed (I like the beach or amongst some trees and rocks).
air to breathe is ideal – being in nature even more ideal.Set
the intention for what you want to get from the process of reflecting on 2008
and letting go.
have some relaxing music to listen to – you can take your Ipod – or enjoy the
sounds of nature.
suggestion with the above process is to have fun with it and be gentle with yourself. Try not to make this
too serious or burdensome.
Contemplation can be a source of peace too.
also want to use this opportunity to build the bridge in your relationships by
sharing some of your insights (that's another whole post in itself). I
encourage you to be an example for others so that others feel the opportunity
to let go as a choice in their life.
Conscious thoughts make the
way just the act of thinking about letting go and consciously being aware of
this as you move from 2008 to 2009 will be a step in the right direction.
thoughts are incredibly powerful so choose to use them wisely and create what
you wish from them.
NOTE: Part Two: Enjoy the Present will be