Reflecting back upon my life, I had spent so much of it living in my head, replaying the past, worrying about the future, and rarely able to be completely present. I turned to various distractions to give myself a temporary reprieve from my thoughts, but at best I was substituting internal noise with external noise, and at worst I was numbing myself and detaching from reality. I rarely if ever shared with anyone, even those closest to me, how much I was suffering.
Like uninvited houseguests, feelings of fear, doubt, resentment, shame, guilt, what-if, what could’ve been, what might be, and on and on had taken residence within me. Some t
During occasional stretches of feeling mentally strong and clear I was able to envision what my life could be like if only I could free myself from the burdensome thoughts, but inevitably I fell back into old patterns of being, as though they had a great mass that exuded an inescapably strong gravitational force. I had convinced myself that this was just who and how I was, because on some level it was easier to rationalize it away as the nature of my personality, or that it was a product of my upbringing, or whatever other excuse I fed myself—it’s too hard to change, it’s too scary, nothing’s perfect, I still have it better than most people, etc. A part of me always knew that I was living a fraction of my full potential, and that became something that I judged myself for.
I remember moments throughout 2015 thinking more and more that something in my life had to shift dramatically—no, I had to change—because I was dying inside. I had lost my passion for life, and I didn’t know who I was anymore. I lived more in my head than in this world, and that was eating away at me. Time and again over the years I’ve been reminded through painful lessons of losing loved ones that life is the most precious gift that any of us will ever receive, and so the deep realization that I had been squandering my life away by not being fully present with it made me sick to my stomach.
These same struggles that had occasionally buried me in clouds of depression ultimately became powerful catalysts that put me on a path of intensely deep personal healing, self-inquiry, and transformation. For the past three years I’ve been painstakingly examining my thoughts, belief systems, and everything and anything that has ever weighed me
I won’t lie—it’s been a really hard journey and in a lot of ways the hardest three years of my life. At times it’s felt like part of me was dying, and other times I found myself turning back to the familiarity of my old ways of being because it was less frightening than the unknown of what life might look like if I let go of too much of myself. But the thing is, everything that I was working so hard to release from myself wasn’t really even part of me. And that’s the whole point.
The simple fact is that we can’t be present in our hearts, our bodies, and this world at the same time that we’re stuck in our heads, and so every moment spent ruminating on something is a wasted moment that will never return to us. And during those wasted moments, when beauty and magic are continuously unfolding around us and infinite opportunities are presenting themselves, we’re blind to it all and we’re left asking ourselves with lament, where did life go?
What I’ve come to understand through this beautiful journey is that letting go is a choice, and it takes commitment, effort, and practice. But it does become easier because the clearer and freer you become, the harder it is for things to stick to you. These oppressive chains that hold us down under their weight actually have no attachment to us, no matter how attached we may be to them, and they’re just as content being released and tossed away as they are being wrapped around us. And that door to your self-imposed prison of the mind? It’s been unlocked all along—all you needed to do was push on it.
Let go of what was.
Let go of what could’ve been.
Let go of what wasn’t.
Let go of what will never be.
Just let go.