Stephanie Red Feather
Shadow Speak
How To Let Go Gracefully

(NOTE: This is from an article I published a few years ago that I'm refreshing here. I think it's always good to look back and revisit previous thoughts, beliefs and ideas as we seek to move forward.)

Courage is being afraid and doing it anyway.

So what needs to die in your life? While this may sound like a morbid subject, I’m actually talking about symbolic death here. Creativity and destruction are two sides of the same coin. For a new creation to come into being, often times something needs to “die” to make room for the new. From a symbolic perspective, our life is full of death and rebirth cycles as a natural part of creation and evolution.

So what needs to die in your life to make room for the new? More specifically, what needs to die so you can create the life you desire?

Is it an old thought process (such as “I have to do ABC first before I can create XYZ”)?

Is it an old belief (such as “I have to suffer and sacrifice before being worthy of receiving”)?

Is it something you learned from your parents that isn’t true (such as being told "You aren't realistic. You're a dreamer and you're going to be disappointed.")

Asking yourself what needs to die can be a very beneficial question to pose to yourself on a regular basis. Now, here’s an important follow-up question to ask yourself: what are you resisting letting go of?

While you may have identified EXACTLY what you need to release, what no longer serves you or what needs to “die,” you might be resisting letting it go. Believe me, I know how hard it can be to let go of these old patterns. I can be stubborn and willful and have spent plenty of years in an ugly and ungraceful state of resistance before I learned to work with the natural cycles of death and rebirth.

Let Go

If you're feeling stuck, then there's a good chance there's something trying to get your attention that is no longer serving you — that has become an obstacle to your forward progress. Stuckness is often resistance in disguise and is usually something we don't want to admit to ourselves or something we're terrified of changing.

One of the main reasons we resist — whether these old patterns are useful anymore or not — is they are a known quantity. There is a familiarity that keeps drawing us back to them. It has become comfortable and therefore the path of least resistance because it takes more effort to do something different. There is a certain measure of security and comfort in sticking with the way it has been because it is predictable.

Letting go of these old habits, beliefs and thought processes takes courage. Courage because you’re stepping into the unknown. Courage because you’re letting go of something that has been a part of you for a long time.

The more adept you become at recognizing when something needs to be released, the faster and more gracefully (read: much less chaos, trauma and drama) you will move through it each time a death cycle comes around again.

Suggested activitiesb to let go gracefully:

1. Don’t resist. What you resist, persists. In your heart, you know it is time. Allow yourself to honor the natural death cycle as part of life. Give yourself permission that the process of letting go doesn’t have to be painful, dramatic or traumatic.

2. Get very clear on what it is you are releasing. Write it down. For example “I release the belief that I am not deserving of a better job.” Or, “I am complete with my pattern of self-sabotage.”

3. Have gratitude for whatever it is you are letting go of. Take a moment to thank it (and whoever it might have come from) because at one time, it did serve you, even if only to give you the experience of what it was like to make a poor or unconscious choice. It is much easier to release something from a place of neutrality and love as opposed to bitterness or resentment.

4. Create a new power statement. Whether you realize or not, the old belief or habit was very powerful in your life. It was like an unconscious script running over and over in your life that controlled you without you knowing it. Now that you are aware of it, you can create a CONSCIOUS power statement to replace it.

Burning Ceremony5. An added bonus step is to create a ceremony around these activities. I find ceremony to be very powerful because it makes the change tangible. Ceremony creates a physical representation of the energetic and emotional commitment. For example, a simple write-and-burn ceremony can be very powerful. When you write down what it is you are releasing, get a fire-proof bowl (or maybe your grill or fireplace) and reverently burn the piece of paper that you wrote the old belief or habit on. Another ceremonial example is when you write your new power statement, you might choose to “infuse” the energy of it into a stone or necklace or bracelet or something you can easily carry around with you. Touching or looking at that item then helps make what you are creating in your life more real and serves as a physical reminder of your new intention.

6. And here’s a final bonus tip: allow yourself to grieve. Even though we’re talking about symbolic death, you might still experience one or more of the stages of grief. If you believe that everything is energy, then you know your thoughts, beliefs and actions are energy, too. When these beliefs “die,” then something that had “life” to it — or life force — is being released. It is not uncommon, therefore, to experience mourning at the loss of that “life.” If you feel sad, angry or emotional during the process of letting go of old behaviors and belief systems, I encourage you to allow your emotions to express themselves. Crying, writing, drawing, dancing, singing or physical activity are all great ways to let that energy move through you and release.

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