Rituals For Letting Go
Why is it so hard to let go? Why is it so hard to say goodbye? Even if I know it’s the best thing for my heart, my mind, my being, I can’t seem to drop whatever it is. Part of this is that I am incredibly stubborn. Part of this is that I'm human. I get attached and I get vulnerable and I feel deeply. It took a long time for me to truly feel everything that was going on inside so I'm not interested in numbing again. But feelings can be painful. Letting them move through you, and all of the thoughts that come with the feelings, is not always easy. So how do you let go? Over the years, I've evolved and my methods of releasing have too.
Take for example, letting go of an ex. Yo. That shit is hard. I get it. I have been there. My ego was bruised, my heart was broken, I felt like I wasn't worth it enough, and all I wanted to do rip every part of him out of my being. I deleted numbers, blocked/unfollowed/disengaged on ALL social media platforms, gifted away every knickknack or book, cleared out the traces of him from my life, and YET there is STILL a part of me that cares. Recognizing that I care after doing the hard work to clear him out really sucks. WHY ARE YOU STILL AROUND?
Usually this purging is done in a flurry of anger or rage or deep hurt and that is where the biggest mistake happens. When we do things out of vengeance, usually it ends up coming back to hurt us. Feeling upset is a natural part of ending a relationship. Feeling those feelings means that you did/still do care or your significant other. Yay! You are not a robot or a monster. Life doesn't always work out the way we wish it would. However, even the experiences that leave us scarred give us a gift.
I try my best to function from a place of kindness and compassion. That means forgiveness of self and others, and in general putting the best vibes out there that I can. I am the most upset in these types of situations because I feel like I am not worth it. I was not enough and that is why it didn't work out. When I try to rip him out of my life, it’s not necessarily him that I'm trying to get rid of but rather the sense of worthlessness that accompanied the breakup. The circumstances brought up old scripts and that is what I am reacting to. I'm trying to get rid of the voices on repeat saying “you are not good enough. You are not pretty enough. Your baggage is too much for anyone to ever want to keep you around. You feel too much. You think too much and say too much. You are not smart enough. You are not determined enough. You are too clingy. You are weak.”
How do I get rid of this voices?
BURN IT. The pyro in you is about to get fired up. On individual slips of paper, write down the thoughts that you want to let go of. Write down the feelings that you want out of you. Write down the ideas that you cant stop thinking. In a bonfire a, fireplace, a large bowl or candle, take the slips of paper one by one, read them to yourself and then put them in the fire and watch them burn. Find your breath. On every inhale think “let” and on every exhale think “go”.
THROW IT AWAY. If you live near a bridge over water, a cliff, a river, the ocean, this one is my favorite. Surrounding yourself in nature to helps to remind us that the world is so much bigger than this one experience. Once you’ve pick your destination hike or walk there. On your journey collect rocks: small ones if you have a lot of little burdens or really big ones if you feel like it’s a massive burden. Imbibe them with the things you want to move through you. When you reach your location, one by one throw your rocks into the river. Option to let release on sound as you do so. Once all of the rocks are gone chill and meditate for a while on “Let Go”. Surrender to the earth.
Death is hard. We all deal with death and the lingering thoughts and feelings in our own way. I used to think that I couldn’t cry at funerals because it wasn't my place to feel all of these feelings in the midst of this persons brother or sister or mother or father or child. At the funeral of a woman who taught me how to nurture and care for others, who was incredibly compassionate and who had as big a part as my own parents in raising me, I refused to let myself cry. It wasn't until I made it back to acting school and reenacted her funeral during my final for Voice and Speech called a Life River, did I cry. It was an uncontrollable river of sound and heartbreak and feeling.
First and always: YOU ARE ALLOWED TO FEEL ALL OF YOUR FEELINGS. In fact, you will probably live a much happier life if you do experience all of your feelings. Bottling up emotions is like shaking a can of a soda. Eventually there is so much pressure that it explodes.
Feel the feelings as they come and then release them back to the universe for other people to experience. Many ancient traditions believe that our feelings are borrowed. You can see that in the language. For example, in English we say “I am sad”. You are sadness. It is who you are. This doesn't leave room for us to be anything else. Who would we be if we were not sad? We would be nothing. In other languages, they say “I HAVE sadness”. We are just borrowing the emotion. It is not all of who we are. It does not reside permanently in us.
But let’s go back to this life river thing. Unless you have taken an extensive amount of Linklatervoice training, this concept is probably foreign to you. In a life river, four participants simultaneous reenact the river of their lives in a number of different symbolic ways, pinpointing the memories that resonate with them the most at that particular time in their life. Without actually dealing in specifics, each moment becomes a visceral experience where sounds, movement, a song, or even silence, give the framework for the audience to understand the storyteller. How is it possible to communicate all of this without words? The storyteller must have a truthful and deep connection to each moment.
TELL YOUR STORY. How is this a ritual for letting go? We are social creatures who are made to share our experiences. Look at how technology has evolved. We want to share everything from our innermost thoughts and feelings to our smoothie post-workout. Whether it’s a situation, a person, a feeling, express it. Write a poem. Write a song. Put on the song that you think captures the exact flavor of this experience and listen to it or dance to it. Share it with someone or keep it for yourself. I find that once I put it into the universe physically, not just as a thought, that everything gets clearer. Tell your story even if its just to yourself.
There were a lot of crazy things that happened in acting school, but I will say the training I received there taught me how to let emotions come and go. My yoga practice taught me to not attach so much significance to those feelings. Feelings do not define us. We borrow them and then release them back into the universe. Let the feelings and thoughts pass across your mind like a clouds traveling across the sky. The feelings will come and go. The thoughts will come and go. The experiences will come and go. And YOU will still be here.
Is there a ritual you have to help you let go? I would love to hear about it! Tell me how you let go in the comments below.