Autumn Insight: Forget About Letting Go

So often in the Fall, we talk about letting go. With the Shedding Full Moon of October, the falling of leaves, the clearing of gardens, it’s pretty intuitive to ask ourselves what needs to go, what we’re holding on to that no longer serves us. 

The idea of “letting go” has reached a sort of peak moment in the culture. It shows up all year long. We have whole workshops and courses designed to help us shed whatever's holding us back. 

And that’s important work, because there’s a lot holding us back, thanks to a pretty fearful and limiting cultural narrative. Individually too, we have our experiences- old blockages that slowly must be cleared, one level at a time, in order to allow deeper states of well-being. As ever, our resistance is incredibly instructive. 

But there is some real danger in always and relentlessly trying to “get rid of” those undesirable parts of ourselves. There is something inherently punitive about feeling we must constantly head to the spiritual dump.

I think this is especially put on women. As we grow into our collective power, one we quite recently only dreamed of, it is so important that this empowerment journey stay grounded in abundance. Because when we talk too much about how we need to improve and what we "should" be doing, at some point we devalue our worth as a whole person. If we stay here too long, we are basically saying, “I am not enough.” And that mentality is beholden to scarcity.

Pema Chodron, venerable Buddhist scholar and master, has a radical position on this that caused a big shift in my thinking- and I am speaking as a die-hard, life-long self-improver! She said,

“When people start to meditate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they’re going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are.”

Wow. The idea of climbing and climbing and shedding and shedding every aspect of Self that is undesirable or flawed or too flabby or too addicted, all the time, ad infinitum, pales in comparison to the idea that I can be deeply content with who I am- as well as who others are- moment by moment. And that from a state of contentedness and awareness, I can do whatever work I can do. I can also allow others to be on their journey, doing whatever work they can do.

So, rather than offer you the usual Fall question: “What do you need to let go of this Fall that is holding you back?” Instead, I want to ask you this:

What idea, self-belief or thing have you worked hard to cultivate, have you earned with blood, sweat, and tears, that you need to hold onto for dear life?

What words of deep encouragement, based on your innumerable strengths, do you need to repeat to yourself over and over when those “other” voices chime in? What lovingly grown fruit can you cook into preserves to get you through this winter?

Peace and love to you for an abundant Fall… keep the good stuff!
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