The Real Reason It’s Hard To Let Go

I have a confession to make.

I suck at change.

Like I really, really suck at it. My inner 5-year-old gets totally triggered, I think my entire world will fall apart, I feel like I’m losing the ground under my feet and all my security will disappear (for EVER).

Basically I totally freak out inside.

But when I was 11 years old, I made a deal. I promised myself that I would not live a life ruled by fear, but one steered by courage. I promised myself that I would never let fear hold me back, that I would live all the adventures I dreamed of, that I would be bold, and strong, and brave.

And I am.

I’ve pushed myself so many times to do something that terrified me, that actually felt like it was tearing me apart before, during and after making the decision, when the only thing that kept me on that course was a deep inner knowledge that for some reason I had to do that thing, or make that change.

And the crappy thing is that it doesn’t get less scary with age.

I just get better at handling my fear.

Everything is changing

Last Sunday, I had a conversation about coaching (with a coach), and my endless deliberation over whether or not to do a coaching course. By the end of it, I had decided that I clearly wasn’t going to do one.

My first thought the next morning, as consciousness filtered through into sleep was: I’m going to do a coaching course.

Somehow during the night, as has happened for all the big decisions of my life, my system made the decision. When this happens it’s no longer a question of what I think I want; I am obliged by some unseen force to follow what I somehow know I must do (this has meant moving countries, leaving people, solo travel, fasting, giving workshops, starting this blog, and singing lessons, amongst many others).

And as usual, as soon as I made the decision, things started moving.

A long time virtual friend (the lovely Caroline!) got in touch suggesting we finally Skype, and what do you know – she’s just decided to do the very coaching course I felt my heart tug at as I started doing research the day before.

Then a house found me – the most perfect house I could have imagined. It’s surrounded by trees, on the property of my 5Rhythms teachers, has natural water filtration and a compost toilet (!), and loads of space for growing food.

It’s also tiny.

A micro house. With very little storage. And I’ll be living there with a friend. Which basically means that I have to do the work now (which I would otherwise need to do in a year or so when the Freedom Plan kicks in) of letting go of most of my stuff.

And let me tell you; for a pretty unsuperficial person I am royally attached to my stuff.

Attachment and letting go

Today I started another wave of sorting and letting go of stuff; books and clothes are done, now it’s childhood stuff from the attic. Which, you would think, would be a no-brainer (I am not a child, don’t have one, and don’t envisage having one in the near future).

But it’s the hardest part.

Sitting there holding a doll (that smells a certain way that made long forgotten neural pathways fire), surrounded by My Little Ponys and dress up clothes, I felt emotion rising and wondered why the hell I was so attached to this stuff.

And in came the answer; I’m attached to it because it represents my childhood.

Which was enchanted and whimsical and magical and only partly real and I loved it.

And because since leaving it I’ve spent a considerable amount of time not wanting to be here. Wishing I could return to that half-real world where everything was a little bit magical, infused with meaning without my understanding it, when I felt like the whole universe was my closest friend, conspiring with me in the creation of the intricate beauty of each expansive minute.

And although that has changed and I’m now grateful for every day I get to be here, it feels like a part of me that I forgot about is still holding on to those dreamy days of long ago, when the world was fresher and my eyes were bigger and my heart was opener.

Another opportunity to let go; another opportunity to reaffirm my intention to live fully, now.

To remind myself that security doesn’t come from ‘stuff’.

That I won’t lose my rootedness just because I don’t have stuff representing my past.

Listen for the why

And as always, I found it not only helpful but perhaps necessary to know the WHY behind the pain.

Our minds are generally pretty resistant to letting go, and if we don’t give them a good reason to (“So like, your childhood is a really long time ago dude, it doesn’t exist here and now…”), they don’t let go.

Sometimes you can get them to loosen their grip, and you think you’ve made progress.

But I’ve found that letting go is an all-or-nothing exercise.

And right now it feels like an endless one. But letting go of the old creates space for the new. And there is a lot of new coming my way.