Many of us find ourselves still ruminating over things that have happened in the past—painful situations, events, interaction with people—unable to let them go, or thinking we’ve already let them go, only to watch them pop up again out of nowhere when we least expect it. We get frustrated, we blame ourselves, and the cycle continues.
Why do we insist on holding onto things that don’t serve us anymore?
There are many reasons why we hold on to things that don’t serve us anymore. Often, the things we hold on to tell the story of who we are. We find it hard to let go of them because they’re tied to memories or emotions related to our sense of self-worth or identity.
Holding onto things can also be about avoiding the pain underneath them, which can be important for the psyche temporarily, but we often find years later we’re still hanging onto them, and they’re quietly causing us harm. Sometimes we hang onto things to keep us above the layer of pain underneath because we fear we don’t have the strength to face it.
Behind each of the things we need to release, there’s something attractive about it, some unconscious advantage we get for keeping it, which is what makes it so hard to let go off. Understanding what this is for each of us can provide massive insight into ourselves, especially in the realm of our shadow.
The breath is a powerful tool to facilitate us in letting these things go once and for all.
Using Breathwork to Let Go
The breath heals. It’s referred to in every religious text as miraculous—the breath of the divine. Breathwork gives us the opportunity to consciously leave behind everything we know, to embrace the unknown, to embrace what’s beyond our thoughts and current awareness. It penetrates everything, even our scars; and like water on a rock, it eventually find its way to exactly where it needs to go. The quicker we allow this to happen the more rich and full the experience we have.
I’d like you to take a moment right now and think of a concept, thought, situation or idea that it’s time to let go of, and I mean really time to let go of, like something you’ve been frustrated with for years that keeps coming up, again and again. Then I want you to consider what it’s feeding inside you, what your psyche might be ‘getting’ out of it—of having this thing stick around.
Then I want you to take this thing into a personal breathwork practice, (or join us for #BreatheTheWorld every Sunday) and do the following:
Find a comfortable position lying down, or sitting up, and begin to breathe. Allow the sweet spot in your breathing rhythm to arise—where breath becomes effortless, where it’s like the body breathes you, where there’s no distinction between the breath and who you are.
Apply your will to the inhale and your surrender to the exhale, and with every exhalation, every expiring, focus on letting go of the thing you’ve been holding onto.
Watch how your body feels once the session is over. Do the same practice every morning for one week and see the difference!
There’s no point in holding onto things when we will, at some point, take our final breath and expire, so take this opportunity to practice that final breath right now. Let go of whatever it is you’ve been holding onto that no longer serves you.
Let it go right now with your next exhale.