learn to let go

What do you need to let go of?

How much baggage are you carrying? I recently hiked into a backcountry lodge. Everything you brought, you had to pack back out. I was there for two nights, three days. And I packed waaayyy too much. But I thought I couldn’t let go of any of it.

The path to the lodge was roughly five miles and about halfway there, I felt like my pack was going to break my back. But when I did the mental inventory, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to leave behind. I wanted all of it. But I didn’t need any of it.

Read on for a creative challenge on how to let go. Or watch this video for a quick take on it.

Let go of unnecessary baggage

The first full day we had, my friend and I hiked to the peak of a minor mountain. Because she had to go home after the hike, she had on her pack. But I was able to clip what I needed to my belt.

“I have to be honest,” she said around mile six, “I envy you for not having a backpack on.”

I’d be lying if I told you the ten miles we hiked was easy. Even without weight on my back, it pushed our limits. But if I’d been carrying all my previous baggage, I probably would have hurt myself. 

I had to let go of my stuff so I could move forward.

Let go of expectations and things that no longer serve you

It’s the same with life. The things we carry with us, slow us down, keep us from moving forward, and can hurt us. Repeatedly.

That’s why it’s so important to learn how to let go.

I think it’s interesting that every major religion focuses on the importance of forgiveness and atonement. This is a way we can lighten our spiritual burdens, and let go of the things we’re carrying around with us:

  • Hurt feelings
  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Annoyance
  • Outworn beliefs
  • As well as the pain we’ve caused others, intentionally or not.

Forgiveness is a form of letting go

We need to forgive ourselves and others. Often.

Forgiveness is a powerful weapon. Wielded against someone, it increases their burden. Used compassionately, it can heal any wound.

And it helps us let go of the things that weigh us down.

Creative challenge: Let go of the baggage you don’t need anymore

  1. Make a list of the things that you’re holding onto that still irritate you.
  2. If you’re near a stream, find some rocks or sticks — one for each burden/worry/annoyance. If you’re not by running water, write those items you want to let go of on a piece of toilet paper.
  3. Think about each item as you throw or flush it away. Watch the water rush over them and imagine you’re being washed clean of that worry.
  4. If that worry pops up again, remind yourself that you’ve let it go. Don’t start carrying it around again. And don’t beat yourself up for chewing on it. Forgive yourself and move on.

Let me know how it goes by commenting below or tagging @trulykristi on social. 🙂

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