Note: This is a guest post from Lisa H of Getting to Zen
Sometimes I feel like I am wearing a heavy backpack, but it is not a backpack on my back, it is a backpack wrapped tightly around my mind. My knees buckling under the weight as I trod down the trail of life. Along the way, I continue to pick up feelings, beliefs, thoughts, experiences and memories that I have come to on my own and that others have helped to form; each new addition making my load heavier.
I don’t want to live like that anymore. I am ready to stop, take the backpack off and lighten my load. And so, I decide to let go of things that are no longer driving me towards happiness.
“Sometimes you have to let go to see if there was anything worth holding on to.” – Anonymous
What Are You Packing?
How about your backpack? Is it heavy? Is it time for you to search inside to see what you can let go of? Will you let go of worry? Will you let go of guilt? Will you let go of thinking obsessively? Will you let go of codependency? Will you let go of addiction? What will you throw away to make your load lighter?
Many people are afraid to throw away the negativity they have collected over the years. They have carried them for so long that they have become a part of them. It is who they are. But it doesn’t have to be that way. One of the most magnificent things about your life is that you have the power to change it at any moment. It is ok to be afraid. It is ok to be unsure. Feel the fear and change your life anyway. Look towards the light of life and ask yourself what will happen if you get rid of that which causes you pain.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
Unlock the Door
Living from your past locks you in mental prison that doesn’t fully allow you to express yourself. Life is viewed through the bars of what was rather than through the freedom of what is and what can be. But you don’t have to stay locked up. The prison door opens from the inside. It just takes a little courage to turn the key and let yourself out.
“One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turn around to find the future has run out on us.” – Michael Cibenko
There Are No Guarantees
It is human nature to want to know what the results of our efforts will be before we put the energy into them. Like it is comforting to know that our money will yield a positive return before we invest it. Changing our lives is no different. We want to know that if we choose to unlock the prison door of our life and walk into the light that our life will be exactly as we imagined it. But in life there are no guarantees.
You cannot know at anytime in your life what is going to happen next. Sports stars have high hopes of going far in their careers only to have their dreams cut short in a matter of seconds. And many a person started an ordinary day not knowing that it would be their last. I am willing to bet that each one of you could not have predicted your current circumstances; your job, relationship, home location, etc…, I know that I couldn’t.
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.” – Herman Hesse
Stop seeing the “wrong” in every situation. Instead, focus on getting your mind right. You cannot control the world, however you can control the world inside of you. Let’s say that you hear a dog barking, a baby crying or some other sound that annoys you, don’t complain about it. The dog is just being a dog and the baby is just being a baby. Instead, get rid of your complaining. Literally, flip the switch on your attitude and let go of the negativity. When you are complaining about life, you are not enjoying it. You are allowing the commentary in your mind to beat you down.
If you have a hard time letting go of that which ails you, it may help to complement it with a physical exercise. Depending on what mood I am in, I may choose one of the following exercises to help me lighten my load. Letting go does not have to be this long arduous process. It can be done in an instant. Write down what you want to let go of and:
- Put it inside a biodegradable balloon and let it float away
- Flush it (I don’t think this one needs explaining)
- Put the paper through the shredder, toss it in the garbage or burn it
Repeat this as many times as you need to. Maybe your load will become so light that it won’t even need a backpack anymore.
Lisa H. (aka RunningBear) is the founder of Getting to Zen – a personal development blog dedicated to those in pursuit of authentic happiness through purposeful living. Be sure to sign up for her RSS feed and download her new free eBook Getting to Success.
Photo by Biscarotte