One of my greatest challenges is letting go of control. I struggle with the best of them; I am constantly trying to control my life, I worry about the future, I am devastated when things don’t go “as planned”. But looking back, the biggest lesson I learned in 2014 was letting go.
A lot of things happened for me in 2014 – lots of really good, but also some not so good. But with both the good and the bad, there was a practice of letting go of the reins, so to speak. I had to relinquish control and let go of any expectations I had for the future.
I was always a kid that thought I knew exactly how my life would be as an adult (didn’t we all). I knew I would graduate university, find a nice husband – and of course I even had an idea about what he would look like, what his career would be – travel the world, buy a house and have a few kids… Probably all by the time I was 30.
I laugh at my former self for being so presumptuous.
Yoga has taught me the most important lesson of my life so far. It has taught me how to let go. Let go of expectations, of the need to control every. moment. of. every. day. I’ve learned to accept what the universe has offered me, good or bad, and learn what I can from it while I have it. Water doesn’t get to where it’s going by pushing along a straight line. It effortlessly travels over, under, around. It literally goes with the flow.
On the mat, I’ve learned how to enjoy the process, and let go of the outcome. I’ve been practicing handstand for at least 3 years, and I still haven’t been able to find balance for more than a few seconds. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some moments of serious frustration, but I realized that the point isn’t getting a perfect handstand. I LOVE going upside down. It fills me with a sense of adventure, of joy and giddiness. Those few seconds that I do find balance away from a wall, where my heart skips and I can’t help but smile… THOSE are the moments that count, not the pose itself.
Off the mat, I’ve learned to let go of expectations. It’s so easy to say I can’t, or I will never, and to hold yourself back. It’s also easy to expect specific outcomes, and to be deeply disappointed when things don’t happen the way you planned. The thing is, when you are able to let go of both the can’ts and the expectations, you automatically find yourself in the present moment. There’s nothing better than feeling those highs and lows fully, of not knowing where or how or when, or even if. That’s the adventure, and the part that’s worth experiencing.
Letting go means you give yourself the opportunity to approach life with open arms, with open hands. The more we hang on to things, the more we get dragged down, missing the opportunities that life brings. So as we move into a new year brimming with opportunities, what are the things or ideas you need to let go of?
“Practice and all is coming.” Practice. Do the work, both on and off the mat. Let go to receive – all truly is coming.