In the words of Yoko Ono:
‘Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance’
Escaping to the country is always a source of solace and sanity for me. Precious time to experience moments of pure being, surrounded by a sensory feast of sight, smell, sound and touch. Time to wind down, regroup and rebalance. My partner and I recently discovered unexpectedly varied and beautiful walking paths near Lorne. We marvelled at the ever-changing eco-systems, subtly responding to the variables of elevation, light and exposure to the elements. Even though we were walking through native vegetation, we were surrounded by the ever-changing dynamic of shedding and sprouting, decay and growth. We were struck by how nature effortlessly achieves this balance. Without shedding, growth is not possible.
What a big life lesson this is. In the hectic pace and busyness of life, it is easy for the radar of awareness to focus on attainment, achievement and accumulation of skills … and stuff. When I returned home, I was confronted by the need to do all kinds of shedding in the office and house!
Many articles and books are written on the art of decluttering. But it is not just stuff that we need to release and let go. As awareness grows, we can tune in to what really matters. Sometimes what matters most is to let go – of tension, busyness and striving. The possibilities of what we can let go are immense: frustration, disappointment, shame, resentment, and a host of challenging emotions. And when we do, there is potential for so much growth and goodness; for our wellbeing, our relationships and work. Havelock Ellis says ‘’All of the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on’’.
If several programs are running on our computer at the same time, processing speeds drop. The same applies to our mind. Letting go of multi-tasking and fixed, stuck states of mind is truly liberating! When we reset the mind, purposeful ‘now points’ can be seized. Moments of clarity for wise, kind, conscious choices.
We can cultivate a rich, varied and wonderful palette of Mindful possibilities to let go of holding on to the past and projections and expectations of the future, to create a fertile, creative space for what is possible right now.
It is worth building up an enjoyable repertoire of ways to practice letting go. Some of my favourites are shaking out: bouncing and shaking all through the body, and when possible walking, dancing, singing and a deep Yoga Nidra. Stretching and having a deep breath in and exhaling with a slow, satisfying sigh bring immediate benefits. And of course, meditation is always accessible. The gentle skill of observing the mind with curiosity, patience and compassion enable us to face what is going on, and question what is true, necessary and kind. What to let go of… and what to hold onto.
By Janet Etty-Leal,,
Meditation Capsules and Secretary, Meditation Association of Australia Board