Letting Go

I feel like I’ve been saying goodbye to a lot of things in my life recently, to people and pets and paths not taken. There’s a nostalgia that comes with it, a tender vulnerability and grieving of each little change. Not painful but poignant, beautiful.

“I don’t know why I’m crying” is something I often hear from clients when they’ve had a life-changing insight. Their life and their perspective has up-leveled, but they’re confused by the tears as if they were unhappy about getting what they want. When your dream comes true, sometimes the most natural response is to weep.

There seem to be two kinds of sad: One is holding on, and one is letting go.

Holding on is the wounding, the looping, the painful knot of grief where nothing gets resolved and feels even worse after engaging. It’s why people avoid and try to fix sadness. It’s sadness without perspective, retriggering and maintaining the story instead of releasing it.

Letting go is the healing. A good cry doesn’t require pain: it can be blissful or even neutral, and it leads to a feeling of clarity and relief like the sky after a spring rain. It’s the nature of sadness, uncontaminated by meaning-making.

Culturally we’ve confused tears with something being wrong: we’ve confused grief with pain, but really grief is the release of pain.

Tears flow when the fist unclenches.

Tears flow when you reorient to yourself instead of your stories.

Tears flow when you surrender your suffering.

Tears flow when you let go.

And what are you letting go of? A story. A thought. A concept. A habit. A veil of identity. Something you thought was solid ground, until it went away. Something you thought was your self, but in letting go you find that it was content, not you.

And as the veils are dropped, instead of being lessened your abundance is further revealed. More light shines through. Letting go of loved ones, you realize the love. Letting go of ego, you realize humanity. Letting go of the past, you embrace the now.

As we say goodbye we shed a tear, and become more of who we really are.

Michael McDonald
Transformational Coach

P.S. If you're in the Bay Area, join me at The Center SF on Wednesday 1/31 for Radical Intimacy

Michael McDonald, Transformational Coach

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