On Letting go for the new year

New Year’s Eve/Day is a natural time for reflection, goal-setting, gratitude, and getting clear on where you want to head for the next year. In past years, I’ve written about how to set productive resolutions, create systems which support those goals, and then rituals which allow consistent energy towards your desires. Most of past year’s posts have been focused on gaining something, or achieving something, with no focus on the importance of letting go.

Much, maybe more can be gained from the letting go of that which does not serve you. “Letting go” feels so much gentler, less judgmental, less critical than “changing”. Often, resolving to “change” something, brings with it the feeling that you’re not good enough just as you are right now. It’s almost like a fighting against that thing you want to change, an opposition to it, or an opposition to yourself. Letting go feels so much kinder, like the letting go of a balloon string, only to watch it float away. It feels gentle, possibly loving. It feels easier “just let go” sounds easier than “change”. So perhaps this concept has the same results as making New Year’s changes, but perhaps with a different internal feeling, or maybe it’s simply just another road that leads to Rome, and for some people letting go is a road that feels easier to walk than the road of “change”.

Last year, we spent New Year’s Day with dear friends and over the lunch table, one friend asked all of us “What do you want to let go of this year?” For me it was letting go of guilt. Guilt is one of my go-to’s. I feel guilty when I make a mistake, or hurt someone’s feelings. I feel guilty when there’s not enough work to keep busy during my work day, and even when someone does something nice for me, or shows generosity. Guilt is something I definitely want to let go of, and simply by acknowledging this, I was able to spend 2018 more aware of when it showed up in my life. The fact that I had committed to letting go of guilt, helped me to pause when I noticed it creep up, and then decide how I wanted to react. This year, I still want to let go of guilt. I want to let go of self-criticism. I want to allow myself to make more mistakes without shame or embarrassment. Something shifts internally when you make a pact to let go of something. This is the first step.

Sometimes it’s not about the things you do to get you where you want to be, but more about the letting go of the things that are holding you back. Guilt has held me back from taking risks, or trying new things. It’s prevented me from accepting help from others, or asking for what I truly want. We all have barriers we’ve built within us, or barriers that were installed long ago in childhood. These barriers prevent us from fully loving, or feeling loved, accepting generosity, trying new things, taking risks, accepting ourselves, achieving success, feeling successful, dreaming, having hope, practicing gratitude, feeling gratitude, seeing the beauty of this world, being kind, and receiving kindness. So, just as you think about all the things you want to achieve, all the places you want to head in this world, and what steps it will take to get you there, don’t forget about the barriers in your way, the things you need to let go of, the loads you need to unburden. What’s blocking you from your truth? Is it beliefs, or thoughts, feelings, or behavioral patterns? Is it that you push yourself too hard or not enough? What do you need to let go of this year? My wish is that you all are able to unload something in 2019 that isn’t serving you. Happy New Year!