On Letting Go

How do you let go?

I don’t know about you, but I love to hold on to things. Old birthday cards, favorite books, cherished friendships, my stuffed tiger that I’ve had since I was seven years old, old bottles of perfume that still have a couple drops of fragrance left in them, resentment, guilt, self-pity, fear.

Perhaps this is in part due to the fact that I am a Cancer, known for my sensitivity and sentimentality, or maybe it is because I have to experience a lot of pain before I jump into action.

I do my best to keep my side of the street clean and my nose well in my own business but when I am pushed to the limits of my patience and compassion, I let all the icky feelings flood in. The insecurity, the comparison, the jealousy, the wishful thinking, the doubt. All of these feelings are extremely unhelpful and, nine times out of ten, they aren’t even based in truth.

The point is, sometimes people do things and take action that hurt me or threaten me and maybe feel just like being shoved, hard, onto the cold cement. How do I let go of that? How do I forgive someone who threatens my security, balance, or serenity?

I let go.

And letting go is a pain in the butt..

In order to let go, I have to invite faith in. I have to relax into acceptance rather than continuing to struggle in self-will. I write. I pray- over and over again. I also am sure to purge the source of angst from my life to the greatest extent that is within my power.

Letting go is hard. Letting go is annoying.

Letting go is so, so necessary to my survival and growth

Most times I have no say in what people, places and things continue to pop-up in my life that cause me distress, but I do have a say in how I react to them. Do I let it all tank me or do I accept it with dignity? I endeavor to achieve the second option.

The truth is, I simply do not have time to become emotionally crippled by every single slight that comes my way. I am a busy woman living a life that is full to the brim in every single way. A life that I have carefully nurtured and crafted to get to the point that it is at today. I am trying to make moves. I am trying to make a difference. I am trying to grow.

I cannot let distress cause me to falter. I cannot let frustration keep me in place.

My happiness and security and faith comes from inside and nowhere else. No external source can tell me, force me, or convince me to let go. I have to start with me and only me to live my best life possible. I must choose to overcome it. I must do the foot work. I must get over it, no matter how big of a deal or injustice it is. I must believe in myself.

Letting go is choosing faith over fear, trust over doubt, and action over idleness. It’s living in joy rather than in misery. It’s accepting what is. It’s not stewing over the past. It’s not tripping about the future. It’s giving love and understanding and compassion during the times in which I want to be selfish and self-serving. It’s choosing adventure and fresh starts and moving forward.

Whatever you are trying to let go of just remember that, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, you will do it. Practice. The more you practice the easier letting go is. And above all, don’t give up.

You can do it, I believe in you. 

xoxo

Sarah

 

 

Failure, Progress, and Freedom.

Focus. Breathe. Tighten. Relax. Clear your mind. Tune in to your body. Drop your shoulders. Don’t forget to breathe, again.

I hear a seagull outside. Focus, Sarah.

Okay. Don’t drop your belly. Open up your hips. You’re not breathing, again.

That person next to me is really getting into that open-mouthed exhale…

One more breath in. One more breath out. Lean in.

Wait, did the instructor seriously just tell us to picture our internal organs squeezing and flushing out toxins?! That is disgusting. Great, now I can’t get the picture of my insides out of my mind…

This isn’t going so well.


My third yoga class of Self-Care September wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for. I had walked in confidently, my yoga mat tucked securely under my arm. As I set up my little zen spot, unrolling my mat on the floor and positioning my water bottle and towel beside me, I pictured how much better I would be in this class. I was ready. Ready to execute the moves a little more accurately, ready to deepen my extension, and ready to start to get the hang of this whole yoga thing.

That’s not how it went.

My body wasn’t responding to my instruction, my mind wasn’t clearing, and all I could think about was how terrible I am at this whole yoga thing. Crap.

The instructor came over to adjust my form. She lightly pressed her hands on my hips and shoulders, gently repositioning me. As soon as her hands dropped away, so did my confidence. I was trying, but it wasn’t working. As I transitioned from one pose to the next, trying my best to breathe and flow through the movements, I couldn’t arrest the thoughts. Anxiety about work, how my day had gone, and what was still left on my to-do list clouded my focus. I pressed on anyway.

Why wasn’t this working? This was my third class of the week! I should be seeing improvement by now!

As my frustration mounted, I took a look around. I realized I wasn’t the only one needing to drop down to my knees, and I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t entirely, 100% focused. I breathed a little easier. I inhaled, then exhaled. Deeply and completely.

That’s when the acceptance set in.

Suddenly, I accepted that my body wasn’t doing miraculous things on my third class of yoga. I acknowledged the tightness in my muscles that I could not fight, the disquiet in my mind I could not rest. I realized that I was holding on to a resentment towards myself for not being where I wanted to be, yet, and I let it go.

Holy crap was that freeing.

I let go of the feelings of inadequacy. I let go of hating the fact that I wasn’t as strong or as sure as some of the other class participants. I let go of these expectations I had for myself, and I settled in. I focused on doing each movement as best as I could, forgetting about the fact that the best I could do wasn’t very good at all, at the moment.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Letting acceptance flow freely in, frustration and self-doubt flow freely out.

Before I knew it, the class was coming to an end. In a seated position, I pressed my hands together in front of my heart and I took the deepest bow I could manage; giving thanks to the class, to my body, and to the experience. I wiped off the sweat, rolled up my mat, and tucked it back up under my arm as I walked out.

I had finished the rest of the class. I didn’t finish it perfectly, not one little bit, but I finished.

So many times I have left a workout feeling defeated. Mad, frustrated, disappointed. This time was different. No, I didn’t love the class and I didn’t love the instructor and I didn’t love my performance. What I did love, even though it felt like I fumbled my way through the entire 60 minutes, was leaving that class feeling like an accomplishment. Somehow, in failing, I had still made progress.

And you know how I felt? I felt light. I felt open. I felt rejuvenated. I felt free.

I was calm and grateful; grateful for the emotions I had experienced, for the respect I had given my body by showing up, and for the opportunity to learn something more about myself.  I felt ready to do it all again.

4cfed69eb2b5cfb0a24dce7ea182d5a2

I can’t wait to get back on my mat.

What is your favorite type of yoga to practice? Do you have a favorite class that you take, or have you ever had any difficulties similar to mine? 

xoxo

Sarah

*All photos pictured are via Pinterest.

Somewhere In-between

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” -Woody Allen

As a twenty-something, I often feel that I am trying to find a comfortable middle ground between making things happen and letting go. I firmly believe that the universe is working with me to help me achieve my biggest dreams, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder, exasperated, why the universe has to be so slow about it.

I am not a patient person. I want everything done on my schedule, in just the way I envision it, and I want it to happen nowI like things to be done quickly, efficiently, and I like the results to be sparkly, polished, and tied up with a pretty ribbon.

The hard and beautiful truth is that whatever I have planned is most likely not going to pan out the way I think it should. Life does not unfold on my terms, in my time, or in the way I dictate. Life happens on life’s terms, and I am working on accepting that that is exactly as it is supposed to be.

The truth is…sometimes my heart aches. It aches with longing for desired results, the sting of past mistakes, and the desire to know where my life will end up. My heart aches for the things I have not yet accomplished, the milestones I have not yet hit, and for the dreams I have not yet realized.

I watch as some of my closest friends are beginning to get married, with many more in long-term relationships, and I am still single. Please don’t confuse this comparison with some pitiful whining about how I’ll probably die alone- I don’t believe that to be true and I am incredibly happy at this point in my life. I love being single, appreciate my alone time, and it’s nice having only my own feelings to worry about. Most of the time. But, but, a very large part of me is not-so-patiently awaiting the moment I meet the man I will someday marry. Right now, however, I am content with the in-between.

I watch as friends advance in their careers; receiving promotions, celebrating significant work anniversaries, and earning their graduate degrees. I, conversely, am just entering mine. I have my foot in the door, and am focused on working my rear off to see progress and advancement in the coming years. However, my entry-level position rubs my own ego the wrong way. That is the honest truth. I am working diligently to get over this, and to get over myself. I love my job and the company I am working for, regardless of my position on the totem pole. I also would love, more than anything, to be able to go back to school to get my graduate degree. Unfortunately, I cannot fathom putting myself in that much debt from student loans when I am almost, almost, just above water. I am this close, and I am not willing to give that up right now. I have to remind myself that, in the end, the only person I have to prove I am better than is the person I was yesterday. It is not an easy task. That control freak in me wants to go faster. To be bigger. To be better.

This impatient characteristic of mine, it isn’t a positive one. It isn’t helpful, it isn’t encouraging, and it certainly isn’t helping me grow. This is where the letting go comes in. Letting go means turning it over to the universe, to faith in a God of my understanding, and relinquishing control with the belief that everything is going to turn out as it should. 

In the past, praying wasn’t something that I did. The only time I turned to prayer was to save my own skin; during moments when I was drowning in fear, hopelessness, and desperation. In making an effort to let go, and have faith in the universe during my difficulties, I began practicing prayer more often. Today, I am trying to let go rather than to control. Today, prayer is something I do throughout the day, but especially before I fall asleep at night. At the end of every day I stop and think about my life. I think about what I have been praying for, and how each step I take reveals more to me about the meaning, and significance, of my journey.

What do I pray for? Today, I pray for healing. I pray for past hurt to be removed from my heart so that I can be willing, and able, to receive love when it does come into my life. I pray for forgiveness, towards those who have wronged me, towards those that nearly destroyed me, and also towards towards myself. I pray that I continue to learn to love myself, because I am just beginning to believe how awesome I truly am. I need to be able to fully embrace this belief, that I am freaking awesome, in order to accept that kind of love from another. I give thanks, a million thanks, for the amazing friendships that life has blessed me with; and for my family that I would not be able to live without. I pray for patience, for guidance, and for grace.

I used to have a life plan. I used to have it all figured out. But then, in a million tiny ways and a few huge ones, the rug was ripped out from under me. I had to learn to change direction, to improvise, and to rebuild. In the most difficult of times, I had to hang on for dear life while the world spun around me. I had to learn to believe that I can become the woman I want to be. I had to learn that life won’t happen on any time, or on any terms, but life’s own. I learned that I have to work, work tirelessly, and in return the universe will work with me. 

I still make plans. I still get lost in daydreams. I still envision my life turning out a certain way. I also know that whatever I have planned usually won’t happen the way I think it should. I know that in the end, it will turn out better than I ever could have hoped for. I have complete faith in this. The key is to keep going, to embrace each day as it comes, and to laugh when things get turned upside down.

I hope that you enjoyed my thoughts on my faith, prayer, and letting go. I would love for you to share about how you navigate this thing we call life! 

xoxo

Sarah

Travel Bug

I want to travel. I want to see the world. I want to learn more about other cultures, and learn more about myself. I want to be humbled. I want to be educated. I want to experience new places and new people. I want to see everything that there is to see, and I want to be young enough and just poor enough to have to save every single extra penny I earn to do it. And lastly, I want to do it now.

My best friend is amazing. One of the most amazing things about her is that she is fearless, especially when it comes to traveling. She has the moxy to get up and visit the places she wants to, when most people are still day dreaming about doing it. Italy, Switzerland, Paris, Ireland and London are already on her list of places traveled, and she intends to add many more. She also has an awesome blog where she writes about her faith, her life, letting go, and choosing joy. You can view her blog, Letting Go here.

Obviously, we had to join forces.

We are taking an adventure. A wonderful, life-changing, soul-enriching journey to someplace we have never been. The details are still being worked out, but the decision has been made. We are going for it, and I couldn’t be more excited. A trip across the globe, and another item I look forward to checking off of my bucket list. It’s a remarkable feeling, and I can’t think of a better person to share in this experience with than my best friend.

So, for now, it’s planning, penny pinching, and goal setting.

If you have any recommendations on places to visit, travel tips, or money saving ideas, I would love to hear them!

xoxo

Sarah