I was walking around the neighbourhood today, and passed by the weekly Sunday flea market. People from all over the city lay out their items: from silverware to model sailboats to wooden crates. The area was bustling, others surely taking advantage of the beautiful autumn day.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve gone to the market, at least 4 years when I first discovered it. On an act of spontaneity rarely found in my bones, I decided to walk through.
While it would be easy to judge these vendors for having so much stuff to begin with, I thought to myself that at least, they were making efforts to get rid of things that no longer serve a purpose.
Then I remembered a quote I read yesterday:
‘Let go or be dragged.’ ~ Zen Proverb
I got to thinking about letting go not just with material things, but also about people and habits. We regularly purged our closets, do some spring cleaning, clean our fridge, detox our bodies, and sweat out our toxins. We get rid of things we no longer need. Things that take up too much space, that clutter our homes, that keeps the body from being healthy.
But how often do we do the same thing for people and habits?
Imagine how hard it is to let go of our favourite jeans that has somehow shrinked over time, or to even as simple as going deeper into a seemingly scary yoga pose. Now, imagine how much harder it is to let go of a friend we’ve known all our lives who we’ve outgrown or you’ve fought with. Or an ex we can’t seem to forget.
Actually, we don’t need to imagine. We know it is difficult. We grow attachments when we build relationships. We create patterns and habits, and more often than we’d like to admit, dependency.
But what happens when the people and the habits we’ve formed cease to be good for us, or worse, begin to hold us back from moving forward? Over time, these same habits can become bad for our health and relationships become toxic.
Like any addiction, we need to understand the sources of our attachment before we can truly begin to let go. What is it about that pair of jeans that makes it hard to throw away? Why do we fear that one yoga posture? And our friends and exes we can’t move on from?
1) Are they reminders of time that was once good? Of a time when you were much younger, thinner, more adventurous, happier? Will their absence make you forget the memories?
2) Are they reminders of a time that was tumultuous and there are things left unfinished or unsaid?
3) Are there apologies that need to be given or received?
4) Are thoughts filled with ‘what ifs’ and ‘should haves’?
5) Has a life event caused you pain and if so,
6) What do you need to no longer be in pain?
7) What do you need to be free?
Once we are ready to face the answers to these, and other questions we may have been afraid of asking, then we can truly let go and begin to grow again. If we hold on, we are doing nothing except live in the past. And when we live in the past, we cannot make room for what comes our way tomorrow.
While others sell their sailboats and old silverware, put your jeans, along with your past at the flea market, you will be lighter for it.
‘New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.’ ~ Lao Tzu