15 May 2015 8 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 45: Letting Go & Holding On

In my last post I mentioned cutting my hair to let go of the past. Let’s talk more generally about letting go of the past, and about loss.

Sometimes we are able to welcome releasing things that hold us to our pasts. We do not experience this as loss, or if we do, it is bittersweet. By releasing the past we feel freer, more alive, and more awake in the moment. Withdrawing our energy and attachment from the things we hold to us recoups this energy to enrich Right Now or invest again.

It is illuminating to consider how the losses or absences that we agree to strike us differently than losses about which we feel we have no choice. It’s totally different, for example, to cut off your P1050295hair by choice than to be forced to do so, like being drafted into the military. It is different to sell everything to move onto a boat or to travel than to have your possessions stolen, or disappear in a fire.

We have a strange and uneasy balance between letting go of things to embrace new spaces, and suffering loss when we have things taken away from us before we are ready to release them. Choice makes an enormous difference.

One of my clients (I’m sharing about her with her permission) loves spending time in hotel rooms, with almost nothing along with her. She feels herself and her essence keenly, without the distraction of objects. Possessions call out to be managed, or remind her of who she might be in another moment. I’ve had that feeling too.

The same woman, who so enjoys freedom from her own possessions, lost all of her possessions in a fire. She had a great attitude, which allowed even this painful loss to be freeing.

Many of her possessions are now hand-me-downs. “They are like dribs and drabs of other people’s energy and their taste,” she said, lacking the particularity of something she would intentionally choose for herself.

We vary so much with respect to objects acquired from others. Some people value gifts more than items they choose for themselves—even when they dislike the gift. They may feel conflict about shedding a gift that was not chosen with sensitivity to their needs and preferences.

Our possessions reflect what we feel and who we are. Letting go of them can challenge our sense of identity.

Holding onto things can be driven by trying to hold on to states, memories, and moments of life, symbolized by objects or mementos. Many of us do an interesting dance between longing to free ourselves by letting go of things and wanting to hold onto them.

When you hold onto things, why do you want to hold onto them?

What is it to which you are actually attached?

How does holding onto them make you feel?

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8 Responses to “Managing Your Energy Part 45: Letting Go & Holding On”

  1. Therese 15 May 2015 at 8:17 am #

    For me, holding onto things is a reflection of the desire to be accepted by my family or society. Most of my life has been about people telling me who I am and what I want. Even now as I transition to RV living, I have people telling me how I won’t be able to do it the way I imagine because they can’t imagine me without people surrounding me or a collection of animals in my life. I am finally able to see the image they have of me isn’t me – it’s their perception of me and, somehow, it threatens them for me to be different than their perception.

    I do still hold onto the life I have. I feel certain, after a year away, I will be able to release my current life. Right now, I look at objects and think ‘what will a certain person think if I get rid of this childhood memento? I don’t really want it. Should I give it away or should I sell it? Will I want this if I ever decide to settle down again? I think a year away will help me solidify who I am enough for me to truly detach from other’s expectations.

    I know I’m ready for a life so lightly lived that my passing will not be noticed by the stuff I carry. My passing is to be noticed by the people whose lives I’ve touched in some way. Nothing else in life matters. I’ve even decided to put stickers on everything so, after the year, I can let go of the stuff I’ve never used. I hope to get to a point where I can live out of a small suitcase. We shall see.

    With Love,

    • Teresa Dietze 15 May 2015 at 10:31 am #

      Wow! Yes. Of COURSE you will be going through things. Your process may be radical but it totally rocks, and you’re doing it for all the right reasons.

      I let go of everything before and it felt great. Since I was young, I needed to get things to use day to day when I re-created my life. Then I overshot and am ‘traveling’ fairly heavy, but I like and relate to most of the things I hold onto. I hold them either because I like them, or because I think I may have use of them. (Unfortunately I am good at thinking of potential uses for things!) Most of the things I have do not feel restrictive at this point. I chose them.

      That is an interesting observation about how others need to see you. It will be tremendously freeing to throw that off and live for yourself. That is such a huge, brave, wonderful thing to do!



    • Kelly 15 May 2015 at 9:20 pm #

      Hello Therese!

      I have been offline lately but I just checked in and see the RV adventure is at hand and I LOVE IT! Change must be in the air because I just found a second studio over the mountains where I often camp and always feel better when visiting. It literally fell into my lap and you can likely guess that all the ‘two’s’ of items at home can now be used over there. I live fairly simply in small spaces but now to have two places, simply furnished, makes great use of the ‘stuff.’ What i am offloading, besides cool weather and clouds, is the familiarity and routine of home as place. And yet this home will become a part of the next new.

      There is something to be said for freeing ourselves from the familiar indeed!

      I hope you’ll keep In touch as you move ahead with your plans. Know you have cheerleaders with lighters should you need to borrow one to set aflame your tracks as you drive away!!!

      All the best, Kelly

      • Therese 15 May 2015 at 10:32 pm #

        Thank you, Kelly! I’m so happy you have a couple of places to call home now. It is very freeing to step outside our comfort zone and have new experiences. Thanks for being a cheerleader.

        I have a blog where I plan to talk about my experiences. The blog site is: http://www.jefftherese.wordpress.com. Feel free to come over and learn what I’m doing. Right now I only post about once per month. That may increase in frequency once I’m out on the road.

        With Love,

  2. Therese 15 May 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    Thank you for your last sentence. I know holding onto stuff for a year is my safety net. I’m okay with my having a safety net. For me the ability to return to an old habit has always been an impetus to keep moving forward. I’ve used this strategy for all addictive behavior. If I felt too reliant on a drug, I kept it within sight to motivate me to be stronger within myself. My strategy may not work for most people but I need to have the reminder of what I’m leaving behind so I can maintain my focus on what I want for me.

    All fresh starts in life can be freeing if we open to the possibilities. I learned that for the first time when my parents moved us to a new home away from everyone I knew. At first I clung to the loss but then I realized it was a chance to try on a different version of myself. The more versions of myself I try on, the closer I get to the real me. Each version is farther away from the training I received throughout my life and closer to a child-like wonder. I find myself laughing and energized in a way I didn’t know could become my life. I’m excited to see where this path leads.

    I’m smiling just thinking about a future I can’t even picture right now. All I know is how I feel. I feel like it will be a place of health, joy, energy, and so much more. I see every day how this new me is allowing those around me to drop some of their fears. I’m blown away by how much taking care of me takes care of others. I’m seeing how truly connected we really are – we truly are One.

    With Love,

  3. Lisa 15 May 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    Hi Teresa,

    This is an apt post for me at the moment, I too love hotel rooms, and I love having nothing more than some clothes, a journal and a camera – the freedom of that feels amazing to me. It does feel like in that moment, a deeper me emerges, someone that isn’t past and isn’t future, just curious and in the moment.

    I’ve been through many destuffings – and I don’t feel deeply attached to past or mementos, right now, a lot of my stuff is self care related – and came from a place of fear and extensive ‘external management’ of self care and seeking of change – as I’ve been more into internal self care, my needs are becoming easier and more clear.

    And right now, I can feel another pairing down that is emerging, but it’s not coming from a rejection of stuff or me or feeling trapped (which was a pattern before) – it’s coming from a feeling of essential-ness. That what I want surrounding me is the soil and water of life – what truly brings me joy, growth, and a feeling of aliveness. And part of that isn’t even stuff at all – it’s trees, birds, people, love, play and creativity. So, I’m pretty excited to see what’s next….

    Much love

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