Transforming Fear to Joy

Letting Go is All About Liberation

You have to let go of everything to know you need nothing.
My forever friend Millie 

For someone whose life-long “tap root” has been power in all its many manifestations — abuse of, dominance over, arrogance toward, giddy with too much, willfulness, ambition, rebellion, accommodation, withdrawal, victimization — letting go of everything has been a 20-year journey.  And, I am just beginning to truly understand the benefits.

By a tap root I mean that primary challenge or life lesson (maybe lesion) where decade-by-decade we attempt to peel away the inherent layers of confusion and blockage (or not).  In my case, I am dedicated to experiencing the sense of liberation that arrives in bits and pieces and the glimpses of possibility with each shed layer.  I am confident that my amassed lessons will continue to alter my life experience in ways I can barely imagine.

Confidence needs to be weighted in direct experience.     My forever friend Chris

As a child, I was overly sensitive to the chidings and attacks from other children. Instead of learning to not take these things personally, I discovered I could use my intelligence to intimidate and overpower those who threatened me.  I suspect I was the bossy child in the playgroup.  Ultimately, what I utilized to get my own way — to be in control — was coercion.  Although I wasn’t physically violent, no doubt my sharp tongue cut deep wounds allowing me to be victorious.

From there, it wasn’t a large leap to realizing that people who had more money had more freedom.  So desire and ambition, signs of power/control-seeking, became my driving force.  Over time, I found moving mountains up hill — against life’s flow — exhausting work.  Ultimately, I recognized these old beliefs and behaviours (and many more) fed my fearful need for control and did not strengthen my self-esteem.  Instead of inner peace, their pursuit kept me chasing an illusion.  Eventually I clued into the fact that I had no control over anyone or anything outside myself.

What followed has been my own personal social experiment — Am I willing to let go of everything (my willfulness) and let life lead?  It is safe to say I had no idea what I was getting myself into or where I would end up.

Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait for what you deserve.     Unknown

I began by letting go of desire, ambition and goals, which for me meant no goal-setting for the upcoming year.  In addition, I relinquished the desire for enough money to do whatever I wanted.  Finally, I dropped any ambition to be better than others at whatever I created.

If you let go a little, you will have a little peace.  If you let go a lot,
you will have a lot of peace.      Ajahn Chah 

Over time, I discovered the following actions were my gift to myself and rewarded me with creative energy, inner peace and confidence.  Any one or all of these would make a good holiday gift to yourself and everyone around you.

1. Let go of taking anything personally.

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a
projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are
immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the
victim of needless suffering.     Don Miguel Ruiz

What more can be said other than my sister and I successfully broke our multi- generational, family-of-origin pattern — fuming silence and fuming violence — by letting go of feeling sensitive about what others say. When non-defensive, calmer heads and hearts prevail, anything is possible.

Even today, if I find myself caught up in feeling hurt or defensive by what has been said to me, I silently repeat, “This is not about me, this is not about me” until I feel an inner shift away from the fear, hurt or anger.

2. Let go of worry.

Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.     Eckhart Tolle

The same truth applies to guilt and envy, but let’s stick with worry for now.  Worry is merely a fearful reaction to something that has not occurred — a fear of the unknown.  My motto for this:  don’t create problems that don’t exist.  Since we cannot predict the future, or control it, of what use is worrying about it? Worrying fills our being with anxious negative thoughts and emotions, which ultimately block our ability to be creative when real challenges do arise.  Eliminate worry and liberate your problem-solving abilities.

Again, repeating positive affirmations (new positive beliefs about myself) helped to release anxiety and worry from my being.  Write one that particularly resonates for you or use one of my favourites — “I trust life is protecting me and providing me with everything I need exactly when I need it.”

3. Let go of frustration and anger.

Raise your words not your voice. It is rain that grows not thunder.    Rumi

Most of us deal with anger in one of two ways — flight or fight — which limits our ability to be creative and compassionate in situations where our frustration and/or anger is triggered.  When we overreact in this primitive instinctual way, as though we are in a life and death situation, we forget we actually have three productive options.  We can choose to —

  • remove ourselves (take a timeout to feel safe, to allow tension to de-escalate and to fully feel what has been triggered and why it has been triggered),
  • change ourselves (centre ourselves in respectful silence, thereby changing the situation), and
  • accept what is (trust that what we cannot change is here for a reason).

Choose the option best suited for your situation. With practice, you will come to see anger dissolved by your loving kindness and compassion.  These are gifts you can give yourself and easily offer to those who inspire your anger.

This is my last blog of 2015, so may this joyous season embrace you with peace and love.  I am off for two weeks of reflection and rejuvenation. I leave you with this thought.

Expect your every need to be met, expect the answer to every problem,
expect abundance on every level, expect to grow spiritually. You are not
living by human laws. Expect miracles and see them take place. Hold
ever before you the thought of prosperity and abundance and know that
doing so sets in motion forces that will bring it into being.
    Eileen Caddy

For more on letting go of suffering and liberating abundance and prosperity, click here.

Picture of Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.


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