You’ve heard this before but its a good place to start. Imagine that you have your hands full of chocolate cookies and your mother comes along with a cherry pie, hot from the oven, with crumbles on top (feel free to adjust imagery as necessary). You have to put the cookies down before you can receive a piece of the pie. I suppose you have been clever and realized that you could eat the cookies and then take the pie, though now you have shifted the issue from the size of your open hands to the size of your stomach. In either case when you are holding enough of one thing it is hard to receive something else.
There are many applications of this in life situations where you have to let go of something old to receive something new. Change is like this, and life is change. If you are holding on too tightly to what you have, you wind up with crumbled cookies, rather than crumble pie. If you are like me, often the change only happens after what you already have leaves before you have quite gotten around to letting go. The dynamic is the same at small scales or large: for a dear old shirt, or a house, job or relationship.
Once upon a time I was working in a software group in California. The economy hiccuped and the whole group was gone and I launched myself across the Pacific to Japan. Before I went I sold, loaned out, or gave away all my things. One night shortly before I left, staying in a friends guest room, I woke up not knowing where I was, full of terror of the unknown. I let go of one world and stepped into another. A pretty big step, as almost everything was different. But I kept breathing, opened to the change and received many wonderful things.
Since that trip I have let go of many places, things, a few people. Like most of us in this busy world I have become more used to change, even if it still comes with some fear. Sometimes I let go gracefully, and sometimes still, something falls away before I think I’m ready. But once I have let go and stepped forward the fear leaves and joy of embracing the new fills me.
Small steps and big steps. Once I took a step off an airplane into a foreign land. Once Neil Armstrong took a step off an ladder onto the moon. The steps weren’t much different and as large as mine was his was larger. Which brings us to the present, in which we are all approaching the place of taking a step into a new world.
If my letting go before traveling to Japan was scary, this letting go may be more so. This step is not from one place to another, even one as far away as the moon. We are stepping from one way of being in the world to another. This step it is not so much about letting go of our physical stuff (though that may happen too) as it is letting go of our emotional stuff, and especially our mental stuff. When I went to Japan I took with me experience with languages, human and computer and that helped me reorient. This step is moving beyond thought as we know it, beyond all the analytical willfulness and figuring, into a place where how we understand things, how we communicate, the foundations of how we experience our being is different. Wow!
Feel into your body and breath. Exhale and relax.
I have met so many people in the last year or so who say, “the old ways don’t work anymore”. Even those who have been good at the old ways of doing things are finding themselves adrift. I suspect that even those who are more used to living from their hearts and their knowing will find things changing, but you are perhaps a bit ahead on the curve.
The good news is that we all know how to live in the new ways. A part of you has always been there, in spirit, knowing and feeling as spirit. In particular this is not something you need to (or even can) figure out. While the ego-mind may freak at this, it is good news: really! You can relax and stop trying to understand things in the old way. Give yourself a breath and relax. As you let go of trying and busyness you create space for your spiritual aspects to pour into your open hearts and empty heads and show you the new ways. What has been unconscious or in the background will have room to show up and guide you forward. You are moving from fear and effort into joy and ease.
Perhaps you find yourself knowing things in new ways. Information or ideas and understandings just drop in for you. Perhaps you see something in your mind’s eye, or are feeling more or can remember things when you need them (but not at other times). It may come as thoughts, or a body awareness. It may have the quality of reaching out for what you need to know, like pulling a book off the shelf and looking something up. If the mind goes blank or is spinning, let it go and listen/feel underneath. What is present in your awareness? It is a time to explore, experiment, calibrate, practice trusting your knowingness and noticing how it works. Its a bit different for all of us.
The biggest thing that we need to let go of is our fear. This is the cookie that keeps our hand in the jar. All the levels of ego fear. Its OK to let these go as they won’t help us going forward. When you find yourself feeling lighter, more spacious or clear, accept that and let go of any anxious reaction of caution or analysis. Letting go of fear you open your heart and your knowing: these will show the way. Remember also that you are not alone (like all those other lifetimes). This time there is a collective transition that will support you. Remember joy as you step forward and you will find the new ground under your feet. Welcome to the biggest adventure of our lives.