Tag Archives: letting go

Letting Go

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Point to Ponder:
What changes in your life do you need to make and what do you need to let go of?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

A few weeks ago I took Malaine, our three year old daughter, to get a much needed hair cut. Her hair had grown to the middle of her back and from her oatmeal breakfast to her ongoing play date with playdough, her hair became a catch-all for everything (yuck!). Like many three year old girls, her sweet, funny and very loving nature can be overtaken by an extremely feisty, salty and disagreeable teenager. So, as I stood close by (mostly to make sure she obeyed the stylist), I witnessed a literal transformation in my little toot. While several inches were cut and her hair was very cute, most interesting was the change in her demeanor, posture and attitude. Morphing right in front of my eyes was an agreeable three year old with a big smile and an added skip in her step. While she couldn’t articulate what had occurred, I recognized what Mother Nature so beautifully models for us from season to season, which is how cleansing and essential change and letting things go is.

Like leaves on a tree, not only during the fall season do they drop to the ground and then bloom also from spring to summer and summer to fall, they are constantly changing form and color. And, if Mother Nature doesn’t stay the same, it leads me to believe that we too are created to regularly evolve and let go of the things that we cannot control, are weighing us down and therefore stunting our growth and ability to live in gratitude.

Next, and to go another mind-blowing step further, according to National Wildlife Federation Naturalist David Mizejewski, “Fallen leaves offer a double benefit. Leaves form a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds and fertilizes the soil as it breaks down.” The way I see it is that is if it weren’t for the change in season and the trees letting go of its leaves, the weeds would overtake the ground, therefore stripping it of it’s potential growth, beauty and the perfect cycle would end.

With Mother Nature being our greatest teacher and so eloquently demonstrating the absolute need for change and letting go, my question to you is what changes in your life do you need to make and what do you need to let go of?  Furthermore, what changes can you make and what can you let go of that will allow you to experience greater satisfaction and more gratitude?

For change, it doesn’t have to be anything dramatic, as a little change goes a long way. Like Malaine, maybe it’s a hair cut, a color or new style, rearranging your living room or painting your walls a new color. Or, maybe it’s something more bold that requires a giant leap of faith and extraordinary courage, like changing jobs, careers or moving.

As for letting go, I believe it is the key that unlocks our greatest potential, beauty and life. Just imagine how liberated we would be if only we let go of “our plan,” the extremely high expectations we have placed on ourselves or feel that others have placed on us; what if we were able to let go of the “should have’s” from our past that paralyze us, the self-judgement that keeps us from focusing on our immensely blessed life or let go of judging others all together. What if we let go of the need to please, the desire be someone we aren’t or the need to be approved of. What if we let go of the ridiculous assumptions that take up prime real estate in our mind and keep us spinning. Finally, what if we let go of worrying, let go of relationships that no longer serve our souls and let go of the need to control what is not ours to control. Instead, what if we allowed God to do for us what nature allows Him to do and He so perfectly does for nature? It’s the ability to recognize that we don’t have all of the answers and we can’t fix everything. It’s the simple act of gratitude–saying “thank you,” not blocking the blessing and letting go and letting God do what only He can do in your life.


Action Item:
Create a list of things that you need to let go of.


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Embracing the Yin and Yang of Life

waterfall

by Cary Fyfe

by Cary Fyfe

Life….it flows, it surprises, it lifts and drops. Sometimes, it drops more than it lifts. And sometimes, no matter what we do to alter unwelcome circumstances, we have no choice but to let go and sit in what is happening. To not strive…to stay in the sensation of the experience…to allow tension to transform to strength. While it works to respond actively to many situations, when we surrender — while surrounding ourselves with support — we learn to love the truth that is right there, patiently smiling upon us.

That truth finally snagged me, when I became a mother to two boys…two very busy, delightful, public boys. It was a process though…I continually turned my head to the chances to be enlightened — I really thought — not proud of this one — that I had reached my mountaintop of maturity and wisdom, that I was equipped to rock this gig of motherhood. I had always worked with children, what did I not know? And not surprisingly, my arrogance was swamped by the first rough wind that took me to my knees…a wind that knowingly whispered, “Self-anointed ‘I’ve-got-this’ mama, these boys are here to teach you…so please listen.”

And listen I did. But trust what I heard, I did not. I was a slow learner. I was intent on — dang it — being the writer of my family’s story. We all have periods in our lives where we feel wildly tossed about by rapids, and we madly paddle to avoid the inevitable waterfall — we hear its roar, and it terrifies us. While we wonder how — or if — we will reach a peaceful shore before the cascade envelops us, we strive to fight the inevitable, to change the story. Oh, oh, I wanted to change the story. I did not want to be in the spotlight of teachers and administrators who were dialing my number. I did not want to consult experts to guide us along the way. And worst of all, I did not heed the messages that each of my precious sons were sending me…I was too frantic, too busy, too scared.

So I shook. I pushed back. I cratered. I chose to pull hard, away from the uncomfortable sensations; I was resistant to releasing the hold that fear had planted inside of me. While my precious sons were shining their little rainbows of uniqueness and wonder at me, I was franticly responding to the messages that I had been given my whole life, and to those that were being given to me as a mother, by the small — not always kind — world surrounding my family. “Try this, try that, if you don’t do this now, they’ll do this later”…and one day, my paddles broke, our boat flipped, and we all went over the waterfall.

There is good news here, and it took a trip into the dreaded abyss to trust it: the truth that lies below the fall has been waiting patiently, for our arrival. In order for my story to be changed, I had to first let go and embrace the story that was present. That precipice, that torrent of water and where it landed us, was my lovely truth. That free fall down the current, into the calmer stream below, forced me to let go — to hold myself and my family in love and compassion as I recognized that my story was, indeed, a beautiful one.

When life’s current determines our direction, we must power up and actively engage, while also dwelling quietly in the sensations of the experience. Both are necessary. The active response — Yang — fuels us for motion, and the passive response — Yin — heals, informs and sustains us. While we use our strength to paddle, we give in to the force of the current. And no matter where we finally settle, it takes both engagement and surrender…Yin and Yang…to arrive. Beauty in strife, strength in repose…balance.  I so love nurturing that balanced, life process, as it is mirrored in my own practice and teaching of Yin Yoga…to release the struggle, and to witness the beauty that then flows.

Join Cary February 28th for a Workshop on Yin Yoga Exploration:YinYogaExploration-01

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Holding On vs. Letting Go

Holding On & Letting Go | iGnite Your Life

Point to Ponder:
Do you ever feel like you are chasing multiple things, and it’s preventing you from being fully present and being your best at any one thing?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

In pursuit of advice, during the summer of 2012 I met with one of my mentors. What I gained from our time was exactly what I needed, but it wasn’t an easy pill to swallow. In an effort to fulfill my personal and professional goals, he suggested I let go of leading my weekly classes, as this shift would create space for additional opportunities and allow me to be a better leader for our team, our members and the business at large. Even though this was a punch in the gut, I knew he was right and that it was the necessary next step. I loved leading classes and it was one of my passions, but my life had changed since the beginning of iGnite when I was teaching a lot. What was once a one-man show was now a nine-person team, and I had Durant, who was eighteen months old at the time. My life was very different and it was time to shift… so I did.

Interestingly but not coincidentally, six weeks later I became pregnant with Malaine (unplanned), and in an effort to iGnite more lives, six months later we launched our first corporate wellness program for Harden Healthcare, all of which I believe were direct results of letting go of previous responsibilities.

I am currently reading a book called The ONE Thing, which is going to uncover “the surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results.” I feel like it was written specifically for me because the first sentence, even before the Table of Contents, sent a shock wave down my spine. It was as if my son Durant shot one of his foam bullets square between my eyes. It was this Russian Proverb: “If you chase two rabbits…you will not catch either one.”

Do you ever feel like you are chasing more than one rabbit and it’s preventing you from being fully present and being your best at any one thing? If so, you might feel like this journal was specifically written for you. While we all have a story, our experiences are not unique, which is why it is essential that we share with one another. It’s also why The ONE Thing is a New York Times bestseller. Most of us are chasing fifty rabbits, which is likely why at the end of each day we feel off-balance, exhausted and often unfulfilled.

I know we all know this, but I’m going to reiterate: we can’t be everything to everyone, and wearing too many hats and saying ‘yes’ to everything that comes our way is unhealthy and causes irritability, stress and an unintended outcome: us being less than our best. I believe that less is more, and depending on the season of life, goals and desired outcomes, we need to evaluate what we are hanging on to and ask ourselves why? Is it out of obligation, guilt or joy? If the answer is obligation or guilt, I suggest you let it go. Or, if your life has changed and you can no longer do the ‘job’ to the best of your ability, it’s okay to give it a rest. ‘No’ doesn’t mean never, it just means not now. After all, who’s to say you can’t pick it up again at a later date?

I’m very visual, so the way I’ve come to peace with letting go of things is to imagine my life as a balloon. While I want my balloon to be healthy and full, I don’t want it to be so full that it’s on the verge of popping. So, in order to create more space in my balloon, I have to release some air and deflate it a bit so I can fit more inside. Long story short: If you are hanging on to too many things, it’s very likely that there is no room for more fulfilling and enjoyable things to enter. I always have to check myself and remember that I am always modeling either healthy or unhealthy behaviors to my children, and being a basket-case because my plate is too full is definitely not my intended goal or example!

Action Item:
Evaluate what things you are hanging on to and ask yourself why? Is it out of obligation, guilt or joy? If the answer is obligation or guilt, let it go. Or, if your life has changed and you can no longer do “the job” to the best of your ability, it’s okay to give it a rest.

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Breathing In a Legacy of Love and Nurture

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…When one is willing to let life in and let life out, it’s more comfortable than when one is in resistance to life all the time.
— Patricia Townsend, Yoga Teacher

Action Item:
Breathe and know that when you sigh out your breath reminds you that you can live to lovingly pass along your legacy with your next grateful breath.

By Cary Fyfe

By Cary Fyfe

Journey seventeen’s legacy theme has been highlighted in my world lately as I have had to escort my mother through the transition of not living on her own. My mom is a delight. Her laugh is like raindrops on sea glass. She has an adoration of life-long friends and an uncanny knack for keeping plants flourishing is magic. I have many sweet legacies to cherish, and, as in most relationships, it is a mixed bag. Our journey together as mother and daughter has not always been smooth and as I willingly guide her through this unwelcome passage, I am a vessel burdened also by regrets that sometimes catch my breath and stop me in my tracks.

One recent afternoon, a dear family friend listened quietly while I shared my heartbreak of having to move my mom from her home. Each word I spoke unleashed a torrent of emotions inside of me – some surprising, some not – but all came from so deep within that they had me at an emotional standstill. As I fought for a steady voice, I told him of the questions, doubts and regrets that were swimming through my mind. I so desperately wanted it all to either go away or make sense so that I could breathe easily in this new definition of my mother.

He waited until my winds eased a bit, then answered my unanswerable questions with a question of his own. He asked, “What is your deepest regret about this?” And without any thought or awareness of what the answer would be, the words spilled out: “That the chance to receive the magic of mothering is slipping away from me.” So many meanings, so many levels of sorrow, the core of it being that the “mother’s touch” would be gone forever.

My friend gently closed his eyes as he let the dark clouds that gathered around my words settle, and he said, “You will be mothered in this new place too, just listen for it and be open to it.” This was very comforting advice so I took a deep breath and tucked those words away. Take a moment to look over the Weekly Intention Guide to set goals that apply well to your life this week.

at iGnite we like to keep our friends close- to stay there for each other when we could use a little rebalancing.

at iGnite we like to keep our friends close- to stay there for each other when we could use a little rebalancing.

A few weeks passed and I visited my mom in her new surroundings, where she has the support she needs. I felt her sorrow as I absorbed her new place in life. I also visited her home again. It was not an easy visit, and my breaths weren’t always steady as I internally resisted this sad transition. I sighed out as I carried a favorite item from her home to take to my own — an old, beautiful ivy — one that had crept its way up a wall, and with a quiet embrace had encircled a portrait of me as a child.

When I returned to Austin, I gently removed the old ivy from my car and found a cozy spot where it could flourish. It brought me peace to have the ivy in my home and as I bent to place it on my porch, one of its leaves brushed across my cheek so softly that I gasped. And there, in that unexpected moment when my breaths were effortless, was my mother’s legacy. Her mothering was right here, right now, alive in the beauty of this old plant she nurtured; alive in her early days of nurturing me, alive now in me, nurturing her through what she sees as the beginning of her final journey.

I gently sighed out. My breath was suspended no longer as I saw clearly that life does indeed ebb and flow, and that our breaths will dance rhythmically with that lovely tide if we let them in, then let them out again. Life flows, no matter how resistant we become, no matter how hard we try to control it, no matter how hard we try to make sense of it. It flows, and the beautiful reality is that every time we drink in a breath of fresh air, we are awake to a message of love and nurture, such as one from a simple old plant. It’s a legacy…a gift — and one that, when you sigh out again, reminds you that you too can live to lovingly pass along your own legacy with your next grateful breath. Join Cary and other wonderful yoga teachers to practice your breathing outside in beautiful Austin and feel the powerful benefits: our updated weekly schedule. 

I realize this weeks video was highlighted during last Journey, but in the spirit of breathing and passing on our legacy with grateful breaths, I think I’ll slip on my leotard, tease my hair, use a bottle of RAVE hairspray and starting practicing my favorite breathing techniques from the video. More than anything, I’m bound to get a belly ache from laughter. Enjoy and happy breathing.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION- Do you use your breath as a powerful tool to calm and center you? 

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