Ep. 066 | What Do You Need to Let Go Of?
What do you need to let go of?
It’s an easy question to ask, but it can be an awfully tough one to answer. In this episode, I’ll share how an answer to this question revealed itself to me recently and the impact it’s had. I hope my experience will inspire you to begin seeking answers to this question, too.
Stopped in My Tracks
The words startled me. They were my words, but they hadn’t come out of my mouth. They weren’t the expression of a thought in my head or from my heart either, exactly.
In hindsight, it seems most accurate to say that the words came from what I might call my spirit.
Somewhere deeper within me than I’m able to access consciously, from some part of me that interacts with the transcendent.
I was on one of my habitual walks down County Road 44 here in Steamboat Springs, CO. It’s a stretch of road by a river running through ranch land. It’s a stretch of road that has a meditative quality to me–not too much scenery to distract but not so little as to make it uninteresting. Few cars, very few people. Just me, the road, the breeze, the river, occasional cows, and sometimes the eerily prehistoric call of the sandhill crane couple that frequents the fields along the road.
On this particular walk, I was listening to the final cut of episode 63, Suffering, Surrender, and the Leap of Faith: How to Find Freedom on the Other Side of Letting Go to make sure it was ready to release in a few days. Carrie Chown’s astounding tale of three seismic surrenders and the freedom she’s found on the other side of letting go was washing over me when my spirit uttered those unexpected words, as if in response to Carrie’s story, and stopped me in my tracks.
I knew in that moment that something profound had shifted within me. In that instant, I also knew why my spirit spoke those words, specifically.
For a number of weeks leading up to that experience on County Road 44 among the cows and cranes and gurgles of the river, I’d begun to be aware of a tight-fisted, clinchy feeling--like I had a death-grip on something. I was unwilling or unable to let go of it. I wasn’t at all clear on what the “it” was that I was clinging to so tenaciously. Judging simply by the negative quality of the emotions that it produced, though, it WAS clear that clinging to it wasn’t doing me any good.
So, I’d begun to ask God a simple question: What do I need to let go of?
I repeated the question whenever it came to mind, holding the lines of communication open, so to speak, and awaiting a response.
“I submit” was my spirit’s response to the answer I received as Carrie’s story washed over me.
The answer? It was time to submit to the Author of my Story and to my place within the larger Story that surrounds me. It was time to let go of the idea that it was all up to me. The deep-seated belief that I had to get it just right, or else, was causing me to hold on too tightly to each moment, each decision, each action. It was causing me to attribute too much significance to each moment, decision, and action and keeping me from just living.
It was a call to faith–faith in God and in the structure of existence. It was a call to surrender. It was a call to let go.
I’m a Fan
That was a couple of months ago. True to form, I instinctively got nervous that the effects of that transcendent moment would wear off.
But I’m glad to report that truly transcendent moments don’t wear off that easily.
I am calmer, more at peace, and more comfortable being myself than prior to that “letting go.” I’m better able to peer into the mists of the future with curiosity and wonder than anxiety and fear because the future holds twists and turns in my Story that–even though some of them will be painful–will nevertheless contribute to the Story that God is writing with my life and in which I’m an active co-creator. I’m emboldened by the knowledge that I’m not alone and it’s not all up to me. I’m taking initiative on things in my life that I was shrinking back from before.
I’m even able to see my ongoing blood sugar challenge and its life-altering impact as a portal to new possibilities and discoveries rather than just a hurdle to clear. I share more about the blood sugar issue in Ep. 057: What to Do When Life Throws You a Curveball if you want to know more.
In short, I’m a huge fan of this whole letting-go thing.
Transferable Lessons for All of Us
My story is descriptive of my experience rather than prescriptive of what yours should be, as a mentor of mine used to say. You may or may not relate to the way that I conceive of and interact with the Transcendent.
My Story serves a purpose illustratively, nonetheless.
Namely, it is good to let go of whatever is holding us back. And, if we don’t know what’s holding us back, then all we have to do is ask.
Even though my story isn’t prescriptive of yours, there are a few transferable lessons that you can put into action right away.
First, pay attention to any areas of tightness or constriction in your life. Pockets of negative and intense energy, places where there’s an underlying insistence that things be a certain way.
Next, simply pose the question, “What do I need to let go of?” and keep the lines of communication with the all-wise Transcendent open.
Finally, create space within which the answer to your question can emerge. We moderns rarely prioritize solitude. We often falsely equate it with unproductive time or label it a luxury. In fact, though, it’s the fertile soil out of which our most transformational revelations can spring. So don’t neglect it. In holding the space for solitude sacred in your life, you’ll be among the giants of humanity who did the same–the Benjamin Franklins, the Albert Einsteins, the Gandhis, the Jesus’ of Nazareth–and not among the countless hordes who hurl themselves headlong through life without much thought or reflection and have little to show for it beyond filling their time.
But if you listen to this podcast, then you’re not interested in just filling whatever time you’re allotted on this planet. Instead, you want to give life everything you’ve got.
So, pay attention, pose the question, create space, and await your answer.
Your results won’t be like mine, but they will be just what you need, just when you need it.
The Help You Need for Letting Go
A healthy dose of objectivity goes a long way when we’re trying to discover what we need to let go of.
That’s one of the reasons why I created The Graveyard Group. In a small group setting, you and your very own confidential board of advisors discern what you need to let go of and help you take the steps necessary to let go of it so you can live YOUR one and only life with even more guts, gusto, and abandon.
A new women's Graveyard Group is forming now, with my colleague, the amazing Beth Romano, serving as its facilitator. Beth pioneered the first women's Graveyard Group this past January, and now she's inviting more women to benefit from the experience.
Go here to learn more about joining a women's Graveyard Group, or email me.
Remember: You ARE going to die. But you’re not dead yet. So get after it!
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Welcome! I invite you to browse the archive of past interviews with fascinating people and short, topical solo episodes--all designed to equip you with the mindset and the means to become the person you were made to be and live the life you were made to live with guts, gusto, and abandon. We flip the script by inviting our ancient foe, Death, to become an unlikely ally in our heroic journey to leave it all out on the field of life. Turns out, Mortality might just be the best motivator available--blasting us out of our ambivalence and complacency and toward the fullness of our potential.