by Lawrence Wilson, MD –
LETTING GO OF LIVING HABITS
To let go of these habits first requires a commitment to your self. You are worth the effort! Often, a good solution is to substitute better habits. For example, instead of staying up late, record that late television show, drink calming herb tea to help you slow down, decide you will not start projects after dinnertime and start preparing for bed early.
To avoid accepting too many obligations, set aside time periods on your calendar that are just for you – for meals, exercise, long baths or another favorite recreation or activity. Be very reluctant to give up these time slots for anyone or anything.
In particular, set aside time for rest, to breathe deeply, to play and to have peaceful, sit-down meals. This includes setting aside enough time to shop for food and to prepare meals with love. Eating is not something to squeeze in between appointments. Especially avoid eating in your car, or while conducting business at your office. Establishing these simple habits will influence all others. The rewards in your health will more than compensate for the time taken to focus on these simple good habits.
If you tend to overdo on alcohol, coffee, sugar, junk food or medications, there are many ways to shift your habits. Getting enough rest and sleep, eating better and exercising regularly will assist in reducing cravings. Don’t keep tempting foods, beverages or drugs in your environment. Ask for cooperation from those around you. Keep better quality foods on hand at all times for when temptation arises. Experiment with alternatives. Sometimes support groups and professional help are also excellent.
When you endeavor to change any habit, do so in the spirit of celebration, not from need. The spirit of celebration means that you have already overcome it in your mind. You just need a little help to work out the details. This is a far cry from feeling you are a wretched victim of some habit and that someone or some therapy is needed to “fix” you.
Another trick for letting go of unwanted habits is to regularly treat yourself to activities and therapies that balance and enhance mind and body. These may include energy balancing, martial arts, yoga, exercise classes, body work, hiking, gardening and more. Seek balance and harmony in every aspect of life. Separate the important from the unimportant, the essential from the non-essential. Live in a quiet location, surrounded by natural beauty. Remember that the body follows the mind. Do not focus too much on physical symptoms and conditions without also addressing more subtle causes. Often physical symptoms are best seen as conversations your body is having with you. This is a much more wholesome and in fact more true understanding of many symptoms.
LETTING GO OF EMOTIONS AND BELIEFS
Examples of obsolete beliefs include fear, resentment, guilt, remorse, excessive seriousness and judgments expressed as ‘shoulds’, ‘oughts’, ‘musts’ and ‘have tos’.
These familiar bedfellows have a way of hanging around and really getting in the way of having a good time. Often one is not even aware of their presence in the deep recesses of the mind. Good friends who tell you the truth about yourself can be helpful here. Also, using certain affirmations are helpful. The purpose of an affirmation is to bring up all thoughts that are unlike the affirmation. For example, the affirmation, “I choose fearlessness” will accelerate or bring up all thoughts of fear within you. Affirmations are not intended to be used for brainwashing.
In spite of the best intentions, old belief patterns often continue to come up for a while, especially if one is in the habit of indulging them. Just denying them usually won’t make them go away. Instead, letting go means to notice them, but don’t allow them to make a home in your mind. Notice them, bless them and see them as a relic of a dead past. Turn them over to a higher power. Take a walk, take a nap or otherwise shift your focus and let them go. You do have a choice which emotions and thoughts you will entertain in your mind. It takes some practice, but the old thoughts will begin to lose their hold on you.
Try entertaining really positive thoughts instead, such as that only love is real and I am the expression of love in this world of form. Just try these ideas on for size. At first they may seem outrageous. With practice, they become more comfortable. Eventually you will wonder why you believed otherwise for so many years.
If friends or family continually remind you of the old fears and angers, it is fine to tell them thanks, but you are not interested any more. It is alright to say you have decided to be that which you would spread to others. You figured out that anger and fear heal nothing, and only hurt the one who harbors them. In letting go of judgments about others, it may help to realize that we don’t often see the big picture, and we don’t really know what is best for others. We don’t even know when and how we were created.
As you explore letting go, it often helps to remember that “I am in the right place at the right time”. Also, I am my brother’s keeper. However, this means setting an example, not nagging, manipulating, complaining, comparing or doing for others what. Comparing always leads to unhappiness. Instead, why not just show up as you wish others to be? It is a lot more fun than trying to make everyone and everything else conform to your desires.
Letting go also applies to the jaded fear-based and ego-based voices that often whisper in our ears, and serve only to confuse and hold us back. Identifying these false voices and learning to ignore them gets easier with practice.
Letting go may involve questioning every belief system you have ever been taught. Ask yourself, does this belief fit the reality that I am loved by the Creator infinitely more than I can imagine? Questioning belief systems does not mean rebelling for rebellion’s sake. There’s a lot of that around. It just wastes energy and causes distress. Just allow yourself to question and allow the answers to be revealed.
It is very empowering to know one is here by choice, and not simply a victim of circumstances. Life’s circumstances are our playground, not our master.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LET GO OF STINKING THINKING?
ACCEPTING AND ALLOWING
Expressed in different terms, grace is not dependent on works. It is undeserved and unearned. It is like the sun that shines on everyone equally, regardless of their thoughts, actions and past behavior. Allowing and accepting may be unfamiliar words, and even less familiar ways of living. Yet living by grace works, often much better than the old way of struggle and striving.
It does not mean protesting all defense spending – a legitimate function of the federal government. Nor does not mean to be a pacifist. Sometimes an action of another demands a forceful response. It means to be at peace inside yourself even if you are in a fight. This attitude will influence your government and everyone else to the ends of the earth.
A wonderful phrase to practice is “I can be at peace with this” (no matter what ‘this’ is). It is possible to be at peace even in the midst of chaos and war. There are stories of people who achieve this. Your peace or lack thereof always affects those around you. When you choose peace within, others see that they too have a choice. If you continue to be caught up in outer events, others have no model or example to help them avoid being caught up in these events.
FRIENDS AND RELATIONSHIPS
In the process of letting go, allowing and accepting new things into your life, relationships are bound to change. This is a delicate area in this day of easy divorce and little loyalty to family and friends. Divorce and leaving friends or family can be the easy way out – a substitute for examining deeper patterns of thought and behavior that lead to discord and disharmony. Our instant-gratification, throw-away culture at times affects us all.
On the other hand, at times friends, family members or partners may dishonor you by dishonoring their contracts and agreements with you. They may refuse to take responsibility for themselves and insist that you take responsibility for their happiness. They may be absolutely committed to unhappiness or anger. At these times, the most loving action may be to recall that all who love are joined at the level of the mind, but that physical separation is sometimes needed.
In other cases, another may not dishonor you, but you may realize that your focus or level of living is different from theirs. It is not a judgment, just an observation. Staying with them may mean you must stay at or near their level, which can cause depression and illness in a sensitive person. With great compassion you may realize you cannot maintain your integrity and keep living as another would wish, although it may seem perfectly fine to outsiders. Each situation is different.
As with any important decision, ask for guidance and you will receive it.