Letting Go and Letting In

It seems like we always have to let go of stuff. As babies, at some point, we have to give up our pacifiers or security blankets. As young adults, we have to let go of our dependence on parents and become independent. As we grow older, we need to let go of our defensiveness in order to let in constructive feedback. Over the course of our lives, our security blankets and dependencies change, but we still struggle with letting them go and letting in new possibilities for life.

"Lego Wars," Credit: FFCU on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/free_for_commercial_use/ (License: CC BY-SA 2.0)
Title: Lego Wars | Credit: FFCU | Source: Flickr | License: CC BY-SA 2.0

I just finished reading Love Warrior, a memoir by Glennon Melton. She is an amazing story-teller who nakedly reveals her inner strengths and outer struggles with sex, drugs, and alcohol abuse. It’s a powerful book on how letting go of demons and letting in real love and beauty can transform us from wimps into warriors. She not only demonstrates courageous honesty, but also a deep wisdom for living life with all its pain and pleasure. She writes with captivating language and sends us bold messages about the challenges and importance of authenticity and true love. I put down the book feeling inspired to welcome more light, love and power into my life and to let go of the conditioning, fear, narratives, and habits that keep me from being as real as I can be in any moment.

"Students on Their Way to Senior High School at New Ulm Minnesota..." by George Laur. The U.S. National Archives, http://www.archives.gov
“Students on Their Way to Senior High School at New Ulm Minnesota…” by George Laur. The U.S. National Archives

One of the most compelling insights in her book is the idea that we are more likely to send our “representatives” into any social situation instead of just being who we are. To me, that means the tendency to hide behind our false personality instead of letting our essence shine through. The goals are to give a pink slip to all of our representatives (let them go) and to let in the warmth, compassion, and gratitude we need to love life fully. Instead of hanging on and wallowing in our despair, we need to let go and dance with delight. It all sounds so easy. Why does it feel so hard?

Letting go means being able to identify all those thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that keep us closed off to possibility. Letting go means freeing ourselves of past beliefs, judgments, and messages that lead us to conclude that we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, or worthy enough to love and be loved. To let go requires us to give up our negativity, desires, greed, and role identities that shield us from being real, open, and vulnerable.

There is no shortage of advice on letting go. Even the late advice columnist Ann Landers weighed in:

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”

Steve Mariboli, the best-selling author of Life, the Truth, Being Free, adds his perspective:

"Land diving (known in the local Sa language as Gol and in Bislama as Nanggol) is a ritual performed by the men of the southern part of Pentecost Island, Vanuatu. ... For boys, land diving is a rite of passage." (Wikipedia). "Feet in the Air, Pentecost Island Vanuatu 1992," by Flickr user Paul Stein
“Land diving (known in the local Sa language as Gol and in Bislama as Nanggol) is a ritual performed by the men of the southern part of Pentecost Island, Vanuatu. … For boys, land diving is a rite of passage.” (Wikipedia). “Feet in the Air, Pentecost Island Vanuatu 1992,” by Flickr user Paul Stein

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”

For me, letting go is critical to maintaining a healthy balance in my life. Living my life is like cooking alphabet soup. I start by adding a pinch of ADD, a teaspoon of OCD, and a tad of ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder); then I throw in a mild version of TS (Tourette Syndrome). If, on any given day, I happen to spice up the mix with one or more of the ingredients, the soup starts bubbling over. It’s critical for me to maintain constant vigilance on what’s happening with all the ingredients in any moment or one of them takes over and ruins the taste for anyone taking a sip. Since I don’t like to leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth, I need to remember what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, and when I’m judging. If I’m hanging onto grief, a failure experience, a nasty narrative, or if I’m being too obsessive about achieving some goal, I ruin the soup for the day. I need to let go of a whole host of things that bug me, drive me, or rattle me.

Letting in means being able to open up to the sources and forces of growth that enable us to make love to life and to dance to the music that is always present if we can just be courageous enough to turn toward it and tune into it. Letting in enables us to live fully and authentically in the present. To let in new ideas, fresh perspectives, and universal energy, requires us to take the risk of finding out who we are and who we might become.

Last year I edited a book for Luke Chan, my Qi Gong master, entitled The 8 Secrets to the Tao Te Ching. I asked him what the Tao Te Ching had to say about letting go and letting in. Here is what he said:

“Letting go and letting in is a pair of yin and yang. Most of the Tao Te Ching chapters talk about One having two sides – yin and yang. Chapter 13 says when you (the sage) let go of your body (your obsession with self), you let in love. Chapter 81 says when you let go of your wealth by sharing, you let in more wealth. The more you give, the more you will have. Everything begins and ends with Tao. Tao is infinite. You can never fill it up. Therefore, letting go and letting in can exist simultaneously. It is like a jar. When it is filled up, you need to let something go first and then let something else in.”

"May 6, 2015," by Flickr user David Gabriel Fischer. www.thezendiary.com
“May 6, 2015,” by David Gabriel Fischer | Source: www.thezendiary.com

I first met Master Luke Chan 20 years ago and studied with him in China for a month five years ago. Qi Gong helps me experience letting go and letting in. As I breathe out, I feel a release of all toxins and tensions. As I breathe in, I absorb positive energy from the universe. Learning to release and absorb is at the heart of the practice.

For me, letting in is essential for maintaining my energy level. At 71, I’m still very fit, but I’m constantly looking for ways to heighten my energy from multiple sources. Physically, I hike, bike, swim, and lift weights. Emotionally, I am deeply connected to my family and friends. Intellectually, I read and write. Spiritually, I practice meditation, qigong, and energy’s way (see energysway.com). Practicing the moves of energy’s way powers charges my qigong practice.

Glennon Melton showed us what a Love Warrior looks like by openly sharing her struggles. She had to let go of her addiction to drugs and alcohol as well as her need to look pretty, please everyone but herself, and play whatever role was required of her. She found that, only by letting in abundant and ever-present Sources of love, acceptance, and forgiveness was she able to take charge of her life and let her real self emerge.

In his soon to be released book, Soul Genius, Dr. Artie Egendorf, the creator of Energy’s Way, gives us the prescription for letting go and letting in. Artie shows us how to let go of whatever is tormenting us and let in new Sources of light, love, and power.

It seems to me that if we aspire to be Love Warriors and Soul Geniuses we may be able to let go of our security blankets and let in new forces and sources for goodness and growth.

Also published on Medium.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Love it Ricky! I need to get that book: she may have mentioned AA/NA step work that matches up well with your theme: step 3 is “Let go, let God (higher power)” and step 12 could be reduced to “To get it, you have to give it away.” Keep up the good work buddy! I love you! RBI

Artie Egendorf, PhD
What can I say about a post that ends with a generous plug? Thanks? Sure. And more: Ask Luke about balance, Rick, and I’m sure he’ll have some quotations for you from Lao Tse. Here’s mine: you know how to read energy. How fine the words you read and how much they stir in your thinking and resolve to do more (letting go, or letting in), you can always check: “read” the author’s energy centers, how much “stuff” was she carrying before her reported changes, how much now? How much do her prescriptions work for others she has spoken to… Read more »

Sign up now to get notified of new posts by E-mail