We are deep into Autumn. Cold days. Long nights. Hot soup. A riot of colour in the branches above, and crunched on the ground under our feet below.
Just as the trees around us are shedding their leaves, drawing their energy away from the peripheries and into their centre in preparation for winter, we too can benefit from practices and intentions that honour the idea of “letting go” and retreating inwards.
Life is deliciously rich and varied and that sheer wealth of experience can build up over time- cluttering our thoughts and feelings, clouding our vision, and subtly weighing us down. Stress is cumulative. Trauma is pervasive. Tension in the body attracts more tension in the body.
As these things pile on – layer by layer, experience by experience – it results in a gradual but substantial increase in the “baggage” that we carry around with us on an emotional, physical, and psychospiritual level.
We may not even realise it, but the echoes of grief, expectations not met, old hurts, old ideas, grasping, limiting beliefs etc. live on in our subconscious mind and physical tissues of the body long after the event that was the source of this “baggage” has ended and probably been forgotten.
This ever-growing baggage keeps us unwittingly tied to old stories and habits, and sees us reverting to the same unconscious behaviour and reactions again and again. Sometimes that’s fine, but sometimes we can’t help but wonder why we keep making the same mistakes, and we’re left with a feeling of guilt and disappointment. Like when we snap at our loved ones for no reason. Or fall for yet another unavailable man or woman. Or self-sabotage our good intentions by numbing out with food/drugs/alcohol. The list goes on.
The thing is that unless we begin to let go of some of the old “stuff” then these patterns will keep repeating.
Just as the trees let go of their dead leaves so that new ones can grow in their place the following spring, we need to let go of what is no longer serving us to make room for something fresh, something new. In the same way that we declutter our houses, emptying out drawers and binning old train tickets, receipts, items of clothing that no longer fit, it’s also useful to declutter our internal “baggage”.
So how does this look practically?
Autumn is a time to be discerning about what you say yes and no to. We continue our trajectory towards the more dormant months of winter and with it comes a turning inwards, away from the peripheries and back towards the centre. We have a beautiful pause between the socially busy periods of late summer and the festive season. Make the most of this time!
Explore self-awareness practices such as journaling/yoga/meditation, to see what comes up. Is there an old resentment you’re harbouring that’s causing you to snap at a loved one? Were you told you were a certain way as a child (clumsy/too loud/shy etc) and are you letting someone else’s passing comment dictate your idea of yourself and what is possible for you? Are you still carrying tension in the body that was once protecting an injury or pain that is long gone? Probe compassionately into that “baggage” and see if, on an out-breath, some of the gripping around it can be loosened. Repeating the process until you sense that it’s moved through, transformed
Try three load lightening mindfulness techniques HERE (scroll to the end for the practical exercises)
A useful “letting go” exercise is to write (without self- censoring) about whatever is bothering you, get it all down on paper, and then burn the paper and watch it turn to ash.
If you’re struggling to let go of an old relationship or intimate connection try the exercise/ritual by Grace Hazel HERE.
In short, see if there are memories, thoughts, or patterns that could be gently surrendered and laid to rest.
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Fancy a week of sun, sea and….yoga? Join Jasmine for a week of Yin and Yang yoga (May 21st - 28th 2019) in Corfu with Just Relax Yoga Holidays. (Mention her name when you book)