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Find Freedom in Letting Go

My yoga class theme Monday was letting go. In savasana I told a tale about a monkey. Years ago I heard this story and it stays with me. The lesson is what we cling to keeps us stuck. When we let go, we are freed and what is meant for us can happen.

In India, a coconut trap is used to capture monkeys. A hollowed out coconut is filled with sticky rice and chained to the ground. Sticky rice, a favorite of monkeys, is put in a hole in the coconut for it to reach in and grab. However once the monkey makes a fist grabbing the rice, the hole becomes too small to remove its hand. The monkey is trapped. It wants the rice yet can’t move when its hand is clenched tightly around its favorite treat. But the monkey is stuck in its mind only, by holding on and clenching its fist. The monkey is unable to get beyond its want for the rice and is willing to stay stuck to the ground, rather than let go of the precious snack. If the monkey released the rice, its hand and life would be free.

Letting go means freedom. From the past and what no longer serves me. Always a beneficial practice, it recently evolved to mean something new. I try to release attachment to results. I stop needing things to end a certain way and how I think they should. Outcomes and people’s response to what I do are beyond my control. When I authentically create something, I try not to over plan what is suppose to happen next. I immerse myself in the activity and find enjoyment. This is a more mindful way to work and be present with what is. I celebrate the action with zero expectations. Doing everything with intention and purpose instead of for success or praise.

Letting go of controlling results is a mindset shift. Some days and tasks feel a lot more challenging than others. A few tips when experimenting with this approach include:

  • Acceptance: Of yourself and what you accomplish. Of others and their response. Of the task at hand.

  • Patience: Be gentle. Don’t judge yourself working through this process. Learn and adapt what is best for you.

  • Gratitude: Embody the attitude of being thankful for what you get to do.

  • Presence: Live in the now when working on something versus thinking about what happens when the task is done.

  • Mindfulness: Approach the job with a beginner’s mindset. Fully engage all the senses. Breathe deeply.

  • Trust: Have faith. If something doesn’t end how you want, remember new things are always coming. Surrender to something bigger than yourself.

Shedding my desire for how I want things to work out does not mean I stop trying. In fact this mindset makes me work even harder. I focus on what is meaningful to me. I set intentions on what I want to accomplish. I understand how I want to feel when completing a project. I also separate the result from myself. I don’t take things personally, whether they work out in my favor or not. I stay in the moment and put my full heart into whatever I am doing.

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