We have made it to the end of another year. This time of the year is typically used for goal setting and projecting our positive energy forward. It is also a time to let go of things that are not needed and to create an environment to welcome new things that will serve us in the upcoming year.
In the gardening within metaphor it is pruning time
(http://tend-to-gardenwithin.blogspot.com/2009/12/tending-to-garden-within.html). It is a time to pause and reflect on our fruit trees within and focus on those fruit trees and flowers that we truly enjoy and benefit from. Also, it is a time to acknowledge, honor and prune the branches of those fruit trees, bushes and flowers that have served us well or need to develop deeper roots.
One metaphor for the rocks, which impact the growth of fruit trees and flowers in our garden within, is our beliefs and thoughts. Our thoughts manifest themselves in many ways in the physical form. One form of manifestation of our thoughts is the objects we attach ourselves to due to many factors such as fear and insecurity. We can sometimes follow our attachments to these objects to find out the source of the thoughts and beliefs that drive those attachments.
How do we find out what thoughts and beliefs do not serve us any purpose and therefore we can let go of? How can we prune our thoughts and beliefs like we do a tree?
Perhaps we need to observe our invisible attachments to objects. One example of observing our invisible attachments is to look at our closets, garage, photo albums, or desk drawers. We may find many things that we have not used in many years but cannot let go of them. We may justify holding on to these objects based on a perceived future need or lack of time to organize.
We need the book we have not read in 30 years. We need the dress that does not fit us and we haven’t worn in 10 years. We need the picture of our childhood friend that we have had for 30 years but have not taken the time to give a call. We need the exercise machine that we have not used in five years.
Why not actively use the objects that we think are still valuable, or extend their life by giving them to someone who may receive immediate benefit from them? Why not provide intangible (get conscious control of thoughts) and tangible benefits to ourselves by loosening our attachments to unneeded items? What are the invisible thoughts and beliefs behind resisting letting go of those attachments?
Perhaps it is the comfort of the old things that we can recognize and relate to. Perhaps those objects still have not provided us what we need and we are hoping someday they meet our needs. Perhaps somehow these attachments define who we are. Perhaps we do not want to consciously choose what is important to us. Perhaps we do not want to accept that things have changed, or that we are getting older. Perhaps we do not trust our judgment and prefer someone make the decision for us.
If we believe that we should not fail in anything, then we may resist letting go of the old exercise machine. Letting go of the exercise machine may signal to us that our goal of getting healthier did not succeed (the voice says you failed again). This by itself creates an uneasy feeling that we may not want to deal with. Instead of moving forward with a new way to reach our goal, we hold on to a symbol that we tried to be healthy or may try the same approach again when there is time. Of course another way of looking at this issue is to understand why that equipment was not suitable for us, learn from our selection process, and make a better decision next time instead of allowing fear of “failure” freeze us in time and space. It is also important that we get rid of the exercise machine and make physical and energetic space for something else that will help us in reaching our goal of getting healthier.
If we are raised to feel guilty for being wasteful or rejecting someone’s gift, we may not let go of gifts or even our own purchased items that we do not use. We resist letting go, or getting rid of things because we do not want to deal with the voice of guilt in our head. Or sometimes, simply because we don’t want to deal with the feelings and emotions that are stirred up if we were to let something go.
If we do not want to admit that our body, taste or style has changed in 20 years then we may hold on to old clothing. We hope that perhaps one day we will magically fit in the clothing, or we hope to look youthful again, and believe that our taste will be the same. Resistance to letting go of the clothing may be the denial and fear of our natural aging process, lack of comfort with ourselves, or resisting change and the natural process of life.
How can you start to think about letting go? Make a list of objects that you have not used or enjoyed for a long time, but feel you cannot let go of them. Write down, without judgment, the belief/thought sources that are causing the attachments as they come to you.
You may really be surprised at what you may find out. You may have to plan closure with many issues from the past as the result. You may realize that you want to cherish or honor some neglected objects more.
You may visit many beliefs and thoughts while doing this exercise. Do you still believe in those thoughts? Do they still work for you? Can you prune some of these thoughts and beliefs that you no longer need? Can you thank the objects, thoughts and beliefs for serving you and let go of them?
Copyright @ 2009 by Shervin Hojat