During an intense yoga class, we were asked to move into a difficult balance pose standing upon one leg while your arms reached down to the ground, all with your eyes closed. My legs wobbled, my body shook, my heart raced as I felt like I could fall forward at any given moment. I knew I wasn’t alone in this discomfort either. Then the teacher said “Yogis – stop trying to find your balance; you won’t. You receive balance.”
So I let go of thinking I was going to fall, which allowed my muscles and legs to better support me. I let go of the belief that I needed eyes to ensure my balance and safety. I discovered more strength in surrendering to my body, trusting that it will carry me.
Off the yoga mat, this simple notion of receiving vs. finding balance is really powerful and I wanted to digest it more, mainly because I find myself struggling to keep balance. It's a paradox -- the more you try to obtain balance, the less you actually experience it.
Letting go is not an easy thing to do. Control is how we gauge success – letting go seems like the opposite to getting what we want. In our quest to control, we’re actually working against our true expression of what we’re capable of discovering about ourselves. When you let go, you also take away the pressure to perform/get it right/fix/solve, ect. In letting go, you accept that the experience will occur organically and you can find enjoyment in that.
The most common issue my clients face is what to do when they feel like they aren’t in control of their life. I resonate deeply with this, because earlier in my 20’s I put a lot of pressure on myself to control nearly every aspect of my life. What ended up happening was I created a false sense of security, because when things were no longer “in my control” I wasn’t able to cope. I’d break down, close up and feel terrible and helpless.
It wasn’t until I learned that the only thing I can actually control is what I do with my reactions to things and how I perceive a situation. I’ve passed this knowledge onto my clients and when they let it take root, amazing changes come about.
They start to tell me they feel less anxious about being perfect. They find themselves taking in the quieter, more subtle moments of life. They stop feeling guilty for not “doing enough” and instead, appreciate the lessons and experiences they have.
Letting go of control allows us to experience richer joy and fuller happiness.
When I become increasingly stressed out, I need to remind myself that letting go allows for some other force to carry the weight – my shoulders, back, mind, and heart can’t do the heavy lifting all the time. Letting go brings about new insights and opportunities, a chance to take a breather and listen to my intuition guide my actions. It’s like a vacation for my spirit.
(Photo rights reserved by Heiko Brinkmann)