Lady Tiger Rules of Engagement: Letting Go

There are things that we never want to let go
of, people we never want to leave behind.
But keep in mind that letting go isn’t the end
of the world; it’s the beginning of a new life.

I’ve been doing a lot of letting go lately. Letting go of things. Letting go of people. Letting go of my insatiable need for whip cream. Letting go and moving on…from dessert. So sad.

This is what they talk about in Buddhism. Letting go to live a more meaningful and happy life. I don’t know about that but I do know this: the Dalai Lama is one happy guy – maybe he’s on to something. As with any type of spiritual enlightenment – nothing makes sense to me at first. How can I let go when I have so much to do? I’m moving in August – hence why letting go is a good subject for me to vent talk about. Like with any moves that have to be made, I took a look around – internally and externally – and decided elimination was necessary. At this time I would like to apologize to my readers for shamelessly self-promoting all my tag sales. A Lady must eat and move.

I’ve moved before. In 2009, I moved out of Miami after living there for 5 years. You can accumulate a lot in 5 years. Heck, I can accumulate a lot in 6 months. What I sent home was what I referred to as “the very best of things.” These things had travelled from Boston to Miami and were about to make another trip to a new home. The funny thing about things is that you grow attached to them. They become old friends – and like any old friendship that ends – letting go can be hard to do – until you just do it.

95% of my “very best of things” have been sold, traded and given away. I’ve reduced the number of boxes in storage from 60 to 12 – 8 of those boxes are records – which I just can’t seem to part with (I’m allowing myself at least one hoarding indulgence). My sense of adventure has replaced all sentimentality – but I still feel sad. Not for the objects lost,  but for the parts of myself that owned them. I’m in a new phase of life – whether I dig it or not.

This is the internal stuff that needs a little Buddhist perspective – or what I like to refer to as the “just be thing.”Just being is what I do in meditation. Or what I’m supposed to do. Basically sitting and breathing is just “being.” Surrounding yourself in your own space. In that space – at that moment – there is nothing you can’t overcome – because in that moment – all that challenges you – is what you make up in your own mind.

It is easy to spend an hour, a day, or even a lifetime so caught up with thoughts, concerns, and activities as to preclude understanding deeply what makes us operate the way we do. People can easily be clueless as to what motivates them, the nature of their reactions and feelings, and even, at times, what they are thinking about. The first step in mindfulness practice is to notice and take stock of who we are. What is going on in the body, in the mind, in our emotional life? What underlying dispositions are operating?

I didn’t get meditation at first because sitting still has never been one of my strong points. I’m a control freak. I should be able to map out every detail of my life and steer the wheel of my destiny into the right port. To a certain extent, that’s true. However, you can’t get to your destination when you have a lot of obstacles in your way. Obstacles that bring you down. An emotional meltdown reaction to any of life’s sucker punches can make letting go and moving forward very difficult. I don’t particularly want to move – but I know it’s the best thing for me. I’m stressed out about my move – because any type of repetitive action that brings up negative emotions is bound to make an emotional rebound and haunt your present circumstances. Clinging to the very best of things gave me a sense of security – especially in a time when my life was being uprooted. No one likes change – (especially change that requires a lot of physical excursion). This fear of change can hinder our ability to let go – which in turn keeps us away from experiences that may be very beneficial to us.

Central to Buddhist practice is training the capacity to let go of clinging. Sooner or later, the first aspect of Buddhist meditation, knowing the mind, will reveal how and where clinging is present. Some of the more painful forms of grasping are clinging to such things as pleasure, desire, self-image and judgments, opinions and ideals, people, and possessions. All clinging limits the mind’s freedom and peace.

Letting go of all my possessions has taught me this valuable lesson. What I cling to today may be of little value to me tomorrow. The key, I suppose, is to enjoy the process of being in the present. It’s easier said then done. But here’s a good way to start:

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1 Response to Lady Tiger Rules of Engagement: Letting Go

  1. Heather says:

    Amy I love this post. Absolutely true, all of it. It made me think about my life and what I need to let go of. Also love Buddhism and the things you posted about it. Can’t wait to see you when you get here!

    Ps, I love when you cross things out. You are so hilarious!

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