THE ART OF LETTING GO – OR BALI, VOLCANOS AND MONKEYS
[social_warfare] Bali is deserted. The volcano Agung erupted with an angry ash cloud and all the tourists left in a panic. While in Ubud, far away from the Volcano and the evacuation centers, business is running as usual and everybody just continues with their normal life, the international media and friends and family where in panic mode and I have to admit I got scared, too.
What if all the experts got it wrong and Ubud could be in danger? How bad could the ash get? Should I just pack up and leave?
The truth is, I don’t want to leave Bali. I just signed a 1-year lease for a new house and I love it. I feel I’m finally getting into a routine, I’m meeting new people and I love the healthy lifestyle here.
I got attached! I’m not ready to let go of all this…
There is a famous anecdote about the way you catch a monkey in India. You drop a handful of nuts into a jar with a small opening. The monkey puts his hand into the jar, grabs the nuts, and then finds that he can’t get his fist out through the opening. If the monkey would just let go of the nuts, he could escape. But he won’t.
I totally can relate to that monkey at the moment!
Letting go has to do with our comfort zone, fear, sometimes even ignorance.
We want to go elsewhere but we are afraid of letting go of where we are.
We want a quiet mind, but we are not ready to let go of all the thoughts and worries.
We would like to find love but it’s difficult to let go of things inside ourselves that block us from finding it.
A few years ago, I gave up my apartment in Germany and sold most of my stuff. I only left a few boxes at my mother’s home and bought a one-way ticket to Bali, with the goal of traveling around the world for the next years, until I find a place I want to settle.
It might seem brave to a lot of people. But the truth is that giving up things, stuff, is actually the easy part. It’s only the first step of the journey. Much harder is to give up our beliefs and emotions.
When we let go of something that we are holding on to, be it an old t-shirt or a self-limiting belief, we are able to reclaim our inner power. We create space, silence, a blank canvas where inspiration can manifest.
But all that space can be scary, really scary. When confronted with all of our power, we might feel the impulse to run away screaming.
This is where our yoga practice comes in. We practice for courage. We breathe. We attempt poses that are intimidating, and maybe we fail, but we can try again the next day. We develop strength, and we hold our vision and send energy toward it, moving into healthier, happier, balanced selves.
This doesn’t happen overnight. Today I don’t want to let go of my life in Bali and pray for Mount Agung to go back to sleep. I decided not to leave for now but wait and see what happens. There’s no life danger. It could get uncomfortable when there is a lot of ash and flights are cancelled, but I would still be able to leave then if necessary.
Maybe tomorrow I will be able to let go of a self-deprecating thought that has been running around in my brains for the better part of my life. Moving at a pace that feels comfortable, and whittling away at the mountain of deeply set beliefs and emotions, maybe one day I notice that I am truly free.
Here are 3 tips to help you let go:
1. You don’t HAVE to let go of anything
If you don’t feel comfortable with giving something away or letting go of a thought or relationship, don’t. It’s totally okay. You are exactly where you are supposed to be and will proceed in your own time. Also, don’t let anyone else pressurize you.
2. Seek stillness
Do nothing. Meditate. I always get inspired and find answers when I’m walking alone at a beach or in nature.
3. Ask for help
This doesn’t come easy for me but what works for me is looking for answers in a book. Whatever works, right? We are all in this together!
“BY THE OBSERVANCE OF APARIGRAHA, THE YOGI MAKES HIS LIFE AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE AND TRAINS HIS MIND NOT TO FEEL THE LOSS OR THE LACK OF ANYTHING. THEN EVERYTHING HE REALLY NEEDS WILL COME TO HIM BY ITSELF AT THE PROPER TIME.” –B.K.S. IYENGAR