Wouldn’t it be wonderful if at the end of a three-minute Disney power ballad we could shed off our past like snake skin and step into our full potential and power like Elsa did in Frozen? Life, however isn’t as simplistic as children’s movies make them out to be. How to let go is more than a one time action; it’s an on-going process that requires three powerful practices: forgiveness, acceptance, and surrender.
It’s very common for humans to get trapped in a negative memory cycle about the past. We hold on to hurt, anger, resentment, or grief about an injustice that was done to us (really, it was for us). Or perhaps we’re the perpetrator of the injustice and the person we need to forgive is ourselves. This resentment-filled thought pattern doesn’t serve us, and yet we hold on to it. The negative thoughts only keep us trapped in the painful feelings rising from the past. So we must choose channel our inner Elsa and let it go in order to heal oursleves.
Elsa boldly proclaims“I’m never going back, the past is in the past! Let it go! Let it go!” – Frozen
And there, in that one line, this ice queen sings of wisdom. Holding on to a spincycle of painful thoughts does not serve the present moment. When we envision with compassion the person that we need to forgive (perhaps it’s ourselvs), then we begin to release negative feelings towards them that no longer serve our highest purpose. It does not condone the terrible behavior; instead, it sets us free from its clutches and allows us to step into our empowered, most fearlessly authentic life.
Louise Hay has an excellent guided meditation on forgiveness in her incredible book “You Can Heal Your Life” Ultimately, forgiveness is a process (read more about my thoughts on forgiveness here). It’s the first practice in how to let go. Past pain no longer needs to deny you peace in the present moment. You have control over your thoughts, choose the good ones. And before you know it, you’re on your way to a much freer, much more joy-filled life.
All we ever have is this present moment. This day. This breath. In order to find peace in the present moment, we have to accept the current life circumstances that we’re experiencing. Good or bad, it is what it is and it has come to be this way as a result of our previous thoughts, beliefs, words and deeds.
Check in with how you’re feeling in this moment. Can you name the emotion? Are you hopeful? scared? sad? anxious? excited? depressed? optimistic? jealous? angry? happy? Emotions are the secret sauce to our feelings. If you’re feeling an emotion that you don’t like, it’s letting you know that there is inner work to do in that area. Accept that you’re in that space. Sit with the emotion. Name it. Feel it. Then let it move through you. Angry? Hit the pillows. Happy? Dance! Depressed? Cry it out with a song or a movie. Hopeful? write a poem or spread some optimistic cheer on social medial.
Your postitive emotions and feelings are the rewards for your hard work. Savor these victories! You’ve earned them.
If you aren’t happy with your life circumstances, change it. Yes, it is that simple. And equally scary. Ultimately, we’re all responsible for our present life circumstances as we’re the author and leading character of our own stories. There are other supporting actors who can affect our stories, yes. But at the end of the day (and the beginning and middle parts too!) WE are the only ones who get to write the script. So why not write a beautifully empowering one where the hero lives the joy-filled life of their dreams?
Acceptance, like forgiveness, is a process, not a three minute Disney power ballad. One of the easisest steps towards acceptance is through gratitude. My gratitude practice began nearly 30 years ago when my Mom gifted me the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Her “daybook of comfort and joy” taught me to take notice of 3-5 things everyday for which to be grateful, and I invite you do the same. Include the big stuff along with the minutia of everyday in your gratitude list (more on gratitude here). When we have peace in the present moment, we can more easily let go of the heaviness of the past and step into the life of our dreams.
Fear of the unknown is one of the greatest fears of humankind. It’s scary to not have any certaintly about what will or will not happen. Thinking about the future can create anxiety and that worry could lead to actual dis-ease. We think we’re taking control of our lives when we worry, but actually, we’re limiting our possibilites by trying to have it all figured out. The details are not our job. Our job is to surrender.
Dreams, on the otherhand, are unique to each individual walking this planet. Once you’ve decided that you want to live an improved life circumstance, plug in the cooridnates of your dream life into the GPS of your soul. You don’t need to figure out the detailed directions, the GPS system (aka the Universe) will do that for you. It will get you there as quickly and effeciently as possible. All you need to do is get in the driver’s seat, start the engine and take the first turn.
You see, when we try to take control of HOW we want the outcome to turn out, we put a limiting belief on the possibilities before us. The Universe is able to dream so much bigger than we are able to. Mike Dooley’s book “Infinite Possibilities” has helped me immeasurabley to understand the art of surrender and the power of affirmations and visualizing. Start with saying this daily “I accept where I am and have the power to change my life circumstance.” Spend 5 minutes a day visualizing what it will look, sound, smell, taste and FEEL like to arrive at your GPS destination (whatever your dream may be). Surrender to the unfolding power of the universe and taste the freedom of a fearlessly authentic and empowered life!
I hope that wherever you are on your journey towards the life of your dreams, that you remember that you are an incredibly powerful child of the Divine Intelligence that created the Universe. Like Elsa, we have way more power inside us than we ever imagined. We learn how to let go by doing a daily practice of forgiveness, acceptance and surrender.
Where are you on the path to the life of your dreams? Have you set your GPS? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to support you along the way. Sending you love and light on your journey. Enjoy this beautiful song by Jai Jagdeesh to encourage you forward to a life that’s even better than you can imagine!