We cling to the familiar, gripping tightly to what has always been. Why is it we are afraid to release and feel the exhilaration of the drop into something new? As a child I was afraid to let go of the monkey bars, gripping the metal until my hands were slippery with sweat, and they slid off, the universe releasing for me. Sometimes, no one can do it for you. You must release your grip and fall on your own. Releasing can be a critical step in many struggles. Even weight clings to the body in a desperate attempt for homeostasis. The most difficult aspect of change is releasing the people or actions or emotions that no longer serve a purpose in our lives. Holding on to these things is like backpacking with a pack filled with useless items. Lugging a toaster through the woods does us no good. It weighs down the pack. It takes up space. It serves no purpose. What is your toaster?
Here is a cathartic exercise to help release the things you carry needlessly. Imagine wearing a backpack filled with everything you cart around each day and hiking with that pack to an overlook. Once you get to the stunning view, stand at the edge and take in the scenery. Feel the weight on your back pulling on your shoulders. Close your eyes and feel the pack press into your hips. Now unclip and remove your pack and sit on a rock close to the edge. Reach in and remove items one at a time from your pack - emotions, actions, habits, people, personal and work relationships. When you reach in ask yourself was this worth carrying up the mountain on my back? Did it serve a purpose for my journey? Did it help me or did it slow me down or cause me pain? Is it something I used ten years ago but haven’t used since? If it was worth carrying, just set the item in the dirt to repack. If it was not worth carrying, then take that item and hurl it off the overlook. Release it and let it fly. Once you have gone through everything in your pack that you carry daily - remember to go through emotions, habits, relationships, actions, etc - then you can put the pack back on. Feel its lightness. Feel the lightness in your step. On the hike back down the mountain think about what’s missing in your pack. What could you really use in your life that you didn’t have room for before? Don’t be surprised to discover new things you want to carry. Only once you make room or give something space do you truly understand what you really need.