We have a friend who complained about his stock market loses several years ago. He focuses on his dream of a larger retirement check, rather than the comfortable retirement he now has. Another acquaintance recently shared plans for her perfect vacation, insisting that if she didn’t get a hotel room overlooking the ocean, her vacation would be ruined. We too find ourselves attached to our ideas about what we want.
How do we let go of our compulsions and fixations that control us? Can we learn to, as the saying goes, let go of the destination and enjoy the journey?
A funny adage sums it up nicely: “Let Go or Be Dragged.” Each time we become overly attached to a particular outcome, situation or a thought, we get dragged into the Victim mentality. We give our power away, needing things, situations and people to fit into a predetermined box. It can be the small things moment-to-moment that can especially drive us crazy if we don’t let go.
The compulsion behind this human trait is the small self, or ego-mind, that wants certainty. It is our need to control and be in charge, hoping we will find fulfillment and safety. If whatever we are trying to control doesn’t happen the way we expect, the stage is set for drama and disappointment.
Letting go begins by becoming more self-aware when the small ego-mind is trying to take charge. It also requires that we observe the pain our attachments are causing us. When you cling to something and have to have it be a certain way, we recommend these steps:
- Stop whatever you are doing and take a deep breath. Ask yourself, “What, in this moment, am I demanding?” Reflect upon what you are clinging to.
- Loosen the grip on what you are trying to control. Simply by being aware of the thoughts that have a hold on you, you may immediately experience a loosening of this grip. Once you “see” the fixation, you are creating distance between you and “it.”
- Look for the humor in your need to control. If you can laugh at yourself, you are letting go.
- Once you have relaxed, notice if there is a higher purpose or outcome that emerges. The ocean view hotel room becomes less important than simply having a room near the ocean that allows you to relax and enjoy your vacation.
Remember that if you don’t learn to let go, you will be dragged—dragged into the drama of control and fixation. Learning to let go is a life journey and, if practiced, will allow the Creator in you to emerge. Life becomes a whole lot more fun with a lot less drama!