The art of letting go – breaking new soil

Beginning of the year 2016 I had to think about what I wanted to do with my life, how to make a living after having studied for about 6 years, where to live and with whom to spend time… actually a very comfortable situation, to choose from several options. But sometimes this is the hardest. Knowing that you could have done it differently or discovering that you took ‘wrong’ decisions.

I don’t know what the decision that I have taken out of a moment of insight and simply knowing what to do, will turn out to be. And to be honest it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I know which direction to walk and then simply start walking on the chosen path. So what is the decision that I took?

Decision No.1: Be happy

So what makes me happy? I found that I am most happy and content whenever I travel, whenever I am on the road, not knowing what comes next, receiving help and support by people that I haven’t known before and ending up in the places that I could not have imagined before. And also yoga, practicing and teaching it, leaves me very content by the end of the day. I think it is because you get in touch with yourself and others in a very different way than the day to day life would allow you to. Life-changing insights occur, healing processes get triggered and new perspectives can be taken. Mind and body can transform – a path away from pain, sorrow and problems towards freedom, peace and happiness.

So the first decision to be happy made me realize that I needed to travel more and leave home. Traveling in order to see new places but also to practice yoga and experience more the true yogic lifestyle. Having time to let body and mind relax and observe what happens when there is no possibility of identifying yourself with what you do. Just being. Breaking new soil. Choosing an unknown path and letting go of old habbits such as planning, expecting and judging. I am simply going without already knowing all stages of this trip, only ideas and positive thinking in my pockets.

…Ok, I set myself a time limit for how long to try out this way of living before reconsidering if it is realistic on a longterm view. So next year August 2017, in about 11 months time, I want to be back in Germany and attend my friend’s wedding. Then asking myself again if I want to continue walking on the chosen path…

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Decision No.2:  Be free

Freedom begins in one’s head. Limiting thoughts as ‘One should do this/ shoudn’t do that’ or ‘Am I good enough? Is it safe? What will XY think of me?’ make you stick to what the majority of people you know would do. In my case I am very lucky to know many free spirits -people that I met on my travels who seem to survive quite well and who don’t follow social conventions. And also some of my German friends inspired me to not worry about what society is expecting from you.

But wanting to be free and taking actions towards inner and outer freedom is very different. I realized this once I had to find practical solutions: Where to leave my stuff without paying for a flat that I wouldn’t use. What to do with my car? How to affort the trip etc. More and more questions, worries and doubts entered my mind. Leaving me behind in a rather depressed and overwhelmed state.

What I needed to do was changing the perspective to things. I wanted to walk on a new path, so I needed to make decisions in a new way, seeing the world in a new angle and find new solutions to problems, ‘unconventional’ and ‘creative’ solutions. Like Lao Tse knew hundreds of years ago:

When I let go of who I am, I become what I might be.

When I let go what I have,  I get what I need.

So the answer was to let go, let go of possessions and also to let go of securities. Suddenly it became very clear that I needed to let go of my flat and most of my houshold. Getting rid of furniture and only keeping a couple of things. Only things that I actually need and use! After this it was super easy… two, three messages to friends and family and 5 minutes later I had found new owners for most of my things. No waste and no worries. I decided to give it all for free because life is give and take and I found that I had recieved quite a lot in my life – time for giving! After I had let go of attachment to what I considered ‘mine’, I entered a field of flow. Just a couple of weeks later another friend offered me to use her cellar to leave smaller things without me even asking. I sorted out my stuff: I found letters, old diaries and souvenirs (even things from my childhood), books that I wouldn’t read again and clothes that I didn’t like anymore – I had not used these things in the past 5 years! This left me realizing that I also wouldn’t need it in the future and how I had ballasted myself.

So I made three piles: One to keep (for the moment!), one to ask friends if they wanted it & one for charity. After finishing this process room by room I started once more to look through things which were left in the pile ‘to keep’. In many cases I found that I could say goodbye more easily when I had it the second or even third time in my hand. Also a very helpful thought was that noone brings anything with him or her when he is born nor can take anything with when death comes!

So why clinging to such impermanent things? It is fine to enjoy some things for a while and also to own things. But as soon as the clinging and identifying yourself with the thing starts one should start investigating the reason for this. Maybe it is out of fear, or a dogma which won’t allow you to change this habbit of keeping and holding on to things or or or.

Indeed it is not an easy step to actually look at everything one accumulated over a liftime. Being reminded of the past, maybe even living through some diffidult times again. But in my opinion it is worthwhile. The fruits of it are a feeling of lightness, less hidden deamons of the past and less likliness of being overwhelmed by these deamons in some point in time. It is a way of growing up for me. Stepping out of old roles and identities. Becoming who I might be, getting what I need…

So what is it that you need to change in your life?

Which difficulties are you encountering? And do you find a way to soften into them instead of fighting in order to find a solution?

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