Letting Go and Finding Joy: Tools to Creating a Life Worth Living

Last early fall while on vacation I read the book, “Letting Go of the Person You Used To Be” by Lama Surya Das.  It was pivotal in offering tools to my healing from the loss of my husband, daddy, career plan and pretty much life as I knew it.  Ironically, I have been on this healing journey ever since losing my life as I knew it.  While the statements “Letting Go” and ‘Finding Joy” are oh so simple in nature when you add life’s often daily injections of pain, suffering and the financial reality of making a living it can get quite complicated.  Particularly, if you are like me who wants to fix things and make it better for just about everyone in my life and often tends over think things . . . even when I am trying NOT to think!  For me the end result was my life got complicated, overwhelming, unmanageable and financially unsustainable; the complete opposite of letting go to find joy.

Early in his book Lama Surya Das says, “Life pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”  I am a stubborn German/Swedish girl and I managed to hang unto suffering for quite awhile. Surya Das went onto saying, “Because we are focused on our particular attachments, we fail to pay attention to the truth of the present moment, we fail to follow our deeper values.” All of this was true for me. 

On my journey to seeking the concept of “letting go” I submerged myself into reading books on mindfulness, Buddhism and the Tao (all methodologies to a new, path or way, to living life). I took life altering classes on spiritual awareness from Lori Rock, “Standing in the Light” and Eminent Reiki I and II which took me on a wonderful journey of meditation and self awareness that then lead me to understanding and deeply feeling universal divine love, wisdom and power. Finally, I read numerous management training books as they related to positive thinking (energy flows were intention goes), and read “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves.  All of these concepts rocked the world as I knew it and took me on a journey of complete transformation of which I am still learning to understand, as well as, establishing the discipline to enact many of these concepts each and every day of my life.  It is so easy to fall back in to old patterns of behavior and discordant emotions. 

It seems to me the idea of “Letting Go” is an oxymoron in the western world with its teachings, constant changes in technology and modern way of life. We are filled with oh so many stimulating “doings going on” and “attachments” and are subsequently busy living our daily life that we forget to stop, wait and listen (or even think). Consequently in our life’s we suffer from severe physical pain, emotional pain and extreme stress at work and at home.  Often even during our relaxing times we fill them with many goals, events and synchronized vacations, that we forget to breathe, notice the splendors of the simple miracles in nature and experience utter and complete joy. 

I do think that there are millions of Americans embracing many of the eastern world teachings.  For me these ancient methodologies of teachings have become my guidelines or pathway for creating a life worth living. 

Letting Go - I believe to enable the idea of “letting go” you must go within. It begins with mindfulness and/or meditation.  Lama Surya Das defined it as, “Letting go means letting come and go-letting be.  It means coming to accept what can’t be changed even while working for positive growth, change and transformation.  Letting be is a way of oneness and loving life in all its surprising forms.  This is how we befriend ourselves and befriend the whole world.” He further shares, “I think it is fair to say that mindfulness does what no one else can do for us.  It literally saves and delivers us from ourselves-from our unconscious drives, anxieties, fears, and half-baked impulsive emotional and mental activities. Mindfulness can help us be there and work through the stages of grief. Mindfulness also helps us to see the beauty and joy that continue to surround us.”   

For me meditation and seeking living daily mindfulness has taught me to first, stop, wait and listen.  Listen to myself, to my inner intuition, to my soul, as well as listen to others and seek to understand self and others.  Before . . . acting, reacting, weighing in with bad programming or badly formatted ideas.  I do not always succeed.  In fact, this has been a long, long journey for me.  I still am more able to understand self rather than others.  Yet, with this thoughtful tool it allows one to see both sides of oneself and others and then formulate an idea, understanding or plan of action.  The challenge is to not over think it or make it too complicated.  Just let it go.  “Let it Be” as the Beatles have shared with us, “And when the night is cloudy. There is still a light that shines on me. Shine on until tomorrow, let it be. I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”

Meditation and mindfulness doesn’t have to occur while sitting in a meditative state.  For all of us, it most often comes to pass as we share with nature.  Whether it is hiking, biking, running, gardening, camping and even long drives along the countryside etc. etc. etc..  It is why we resonate so much with the sounds of nature and why these sounds are often used in meditative self help soundtracks.  How beautiful is that-meditation comes natural for most of us while immersing ourselves in nature.  Serendipitously, for most of us, immersing ourselves in nature brings us JOY – utter and complete joy!  Nature brings us a natural state of being and is a lesson in letting go and becoming joyful.  So simple – so uncomplicated – so perfect. 

Finding Joy - I have found my joy in many simple ways. Early on it was with short walks, then long walks no matter what the weather was like.  Now it is hikes up in the stunning mountains that surround me where I live.  So often I get up there and it is all that I can do to make myself go back down. My joy is also with walks and hikes with my family and friends offering a connection with the universe or divine if you will and each other.  I also find Joy and the opportunity to let go with yoga attending our local JalaBlu studio with Jenna Pfingston’s inspirational manifesting messages and daily themes.  Most importantly, I have found my joy with my family and endearing friends and their unconditional love for me and my unconditional love right back. In the end, I believe love is all there is. 

Each of us has experienced one or more of these situations; loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, financial setbacks or surprises and loss in divorce.  We have plenty of reasons to drown in our pain and suffer sometimes indefinitely in our losses.  Yet, these are often the opportunities for self awareness and transformation thus shocking us into new beginnings, that are enabled by letting go, finding joy, celebrating love and creating a life worth living. Enjoy Jamie!

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