If you are interested in astrology, you’d already know that the lunar and solar eclipses in August 2017 are considered as enormous events causing huge spiritual shifts in people and their lives. August has been highlighted as a time for transitions and transformations; an opportunity to ‘reset’ your lives, taking off your masques, shedding your ego and aligning with your true selves. A time to let go of what is no longer serving you and a time to allow in new beginnings; out with the old and in with the new! These concepts have inspired me to write a blog on ‘Letting Go’. You don’t need to believe in astrology for this, I am just extracting the concepts and themes arising from the solar eclipse, which affect each and every one of us when when we face transitions.
Change is one thing that is inevitable in our lives, whether it be planned or unexpected – we all go through change all the time, no matter how big or small and sometimes these changes occur simultaneously with other changes, which can feel somewhat overwhelming. Maybe a new job or a new home, a loss of a relationship, a new realisation, a shift in friendship, redundancy, a bereavement, a new baby, a new way of thinking, a change in career, an illness etc.
With Change there comes loss. We can not move into change without losing something, leaving aspects of our lives and even parts of ourselves behind. On the other hand we can not move into change without gaining something either. Like the eclipse, letting the shadows pass allows room for the light. Letting go, creates space for other things to enter into your life. Often we unconsciously bring the shadows of the past into our present lives because we are still holding onto them.
Letting go can be a painful grieving process. The 5 stages of grief (in a nutshell!) suggests that you may experience the following. Denial of the events, ‘this isn’t really happening, it can’t be’; a common initial reaction to loss which can be combined with shock and perhaps lead to isolation. Usually anger follows the denial stage, one might be angry with God, life, other people, situations and even themselves. Anger can be a defence; the tip of an iceberg – the bit that we can see and feel, however underneath there sits a range of hidden emotions; sadness, guilt, frustration, despair, loneliness, helplessness. In order to try and gain some control such feelings are avoided known as the bargaining stage, ‘If only I’d done this, or that…or tried harder… or noticed the signs…’, this can often be tangled up with feelings of regret. For some this can lead to depressive symptoms; loss of interest, lack or increase in appetite, rumination (going over and over a situation with no resolution), tearfulness, loss of motivation, sleep disturbance, low energy – to name a few. Eventually (hopefully!) we come to accept our loss allowing some sense of relief and peace.
Grieving is a very unique and natural process and people will move through the stages differently to others, sometimes experiencing all the above stages and emotions rolled into one or perhaps becoming stuck in one particular stage. Sadly not everyone reaches the acceptance stage.
Let go of what you no longer want and keep what you want more of!
The eclipse got me thinking about helpful and practical ways of ‘letting go’ – sometimes being involved in a visual activity can really help to shift emotions.
Write down all the things, situations, feelings, relationships you want to let go off on pieces of paper and then watch them disappear in a creative way; burning the paper and watching the flames take their course, throwing the paper in flowing water, like a stream, a canal or the sea and watching the feelings float away – maybe you could put all the pieces of paper in a plastic bottle and watch that slowly move away from you. Another way is to attach the papers onto balloons and watching them drift away. These are great ways to get children involved and help them to process feelings of loss too. If you’re reading this and have done something similar I would love to hear from you, and invite you to leave a comment below to share your ideas to support others.
Following this exercise write down what do you want in your life? What do you want more of, including new things – what do you want to attract into your life like more joy, fun, like-minded people, success, good health etc
Change your intention into action!
So how are you going to attract more of what you want? Focus and create time and space for yourself. Where do you begin? Do some research and find out what is out there. How are you going to do this? Have a look at your routine, does something need to change? What do you need to do? Sign up to a new class perhaps.
Making an action plan can help as a starting point. Timescales can also be very helpful- rather than trying to focus on everything all at once, perhaps breaking it down with mini goals will make it more achievable.
Embrace your emotions.
It’s natural to feel a range of emotions and please let them out as they arise, it is ok to have a good cry – by letting it out you are allowing yourself to heal. By avoiding and pushing the feelings down you are denying yourself. Find ways to slowly help you to release your feelings. Keep a journal, write or draw your emotions, do some exercise, or spend time connecting to nature, do some meditation, talk to someone. Listen to music or watch movies that are likely to enhance your feelings. Being around like-minded people can also help.
It takes great courage to face difficult feelings – it is not sign of weakness, but a sign of great strength.
Shift your thinking.
Rather than focusing on what you have lost, think about what you have gained.
If you have been bereaved, what can you take from that person and interject into your life? How did that person help to mould you in some way or another? Is there something about their attitude to life or morals you liked?
Ok, you were made redundant from a job, so compare yourself from when you began that job – What skills and experience did you gain in that time? Think about yourself ‘before’ and ‘after’ that job – how have you grown in confidence?
Instead of directing your anger towards a previous partner, think about how that relationship helped you to grow – maybe it helped you to learn patience, or reminded you of your self worth. What lessons did you learn and how can you take these into your next relationship.
Keep on track.
It’s easy to lose track of your intentions, so maybe reviewing where you are at every 3 months can be a useful way to bring you back on track. You may have stumbled across new people and gained new inspiration therefore you might need to revisit your action plan.
I think this quote nicely sums up the process of letting go…
‘Keep your face always towards the sunshine and the shadows will fall behind’ Walt Whitman
I hope you enjoyed this blog. If you’d like to share any thoughts relating to this topic please add comments below – would love to hear from you