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Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Art of Letting Go

 By: Marlene Lockwood


Have you ever had one of those days where everything is going ok and then, boom, life turns upside down? I’m sure you have. It seems to be a part of life, doesn’t it?

Not too long ago I had just finished co-teaching the first day of a two-day facilitation course, when loaded up with purse and computer bag I turned to say good bye to my colleague, twisted my knee and it was all over. I literally couldn’t walk and was in terrible pain . . . and the hassle began: trying to get me and my car home, spending the evening in an emergency room, letting my friend and co-worker know that I wouldn’t be there to teach the last day with him, waiting the next day – all day – for the orthopedic doctor to call, managing the pain without sedating my self completely, keeping the ice cold, walking w/ crutches and a knee immobilizer, intruding on my son and his wife’s home because mine has stairs. . . . Well, you’re getting the picture . . . things were out of control. I imagine you have had days like this as well.

What I am discovering, once again, is how hard it is for me to let go. No, I couldn’t, with a brace, crutches & drugged, go back to the workshop the next day. No, I will not be able to make up the lost revenue on this one. No, I can’t keep my other appointments-over the next 7 days at least. No, I can’t walk my dog. No, I can’t stay in my home with stairs, at least for now, etc. I had to let it all go and ask for help!

I found it helpful to reflect on my understanding of the ART of Letting Go. And, I do believe it is an ART. I define ART as acceptance, responsibility and trust. Acceptance of what is; responsibility for my experience of what is; and trusts in the outcome.

Acceptance of What Is

While I am responsible for changing what I can, I must let go of the rest if I want peace of mind. I must accept things as they are not how I may want them to be. To ACCEPT something is not the same as judging it good. Acceptance is empowering because it brings to light the choices I do have. "By yielding we may find victory." Author unknown

Responsibility For My Experience of It

I define my own experience of things - we all do. We make that choice in every situation. I can choose how I want to experience it. Our reactions to life do not need to be controlled by unconscious programming. No one said it better then Viktor Frankl, "That last of one’s freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance." It is worth contemplating that for just a second or two and absorb the deep empowering message that concept holds.

Trust in the Outcome

I cannot know what the future will bring. But I do know that gifts come to us out of challenging situations. Over time I have discovered that I can live and even bloom in the most difficult of times. I can delight in a whole new way of being in this world. I trust my higher power to give me the courage to move through the challenges of life with grace and hope.

I’m feeling a little chagrined having responded to my knee as such a major issue. Certainly writing this note has brought me back to what I know works in challenging times: acceptance, responsibility and trust.

So let me reframe my story. For that is what it is, my story. And I can tell it anyway I choose. My knee is out of wrack, I may need surgery or I may not; I’m going take responsibility to create this as a great opportunity to get some writing done; and I trust my colleagues will cover in my absence and that my doctor and I will choose the right treatment.

There you have it. It seems fairly simple but how very empowering. Again I quote Viktor Frankl, "When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves." And that is where the real beauty and the best of outcomes are found.

Take a few minutes sometime today to reflect on your own understanding of letting go. I hope what I have shared on the ART of Letting Go will support you in working through the difficulties you may be facing in today’s challenging world.

And that you may find a few pearls of your own.

Transition Coach Marlene Lockwood helps individuals and groups navigate through life change and transition with more ease, increased balance, enhanced inner peace and improved creativity and vitality. Marlene is a certified health and wellness coach, and is certified as a Professional Facilitator by the International Association of Facilitators.

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