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Lessons in Letting Go

Huh. So I wrote this post nearly a month ago now. I kept putting off publishing it for this and that reason. When you start a post so far in advance, sometimes it – after time – begins to feel disingenuine because it no longer feels applicable to your current state. But theeeeeeen last week happened. And things kind of made a full circle. Maybe it was just waiting for the right time…

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Does anyone know what I mean when describe the feeling of, “letting go?” (and no, I am not asking for Elsa’s say in this but if you wish to belt as you read, please, belt away girlfriend). 

That feeling of…

Fear, mixed with a soft compassion?

Sadness, mixed with a gentle gratutude?

Grief, mixed with an accepting smile?

And sometimes even flat out anger, mixed with surrendering tears?

In its softest form, it can be a feeling of being lightened – like something has been lifted off your chest – yet you feel a tender sadness and fragility at watching it go.

It can be one of the hardest feelings to try and describe.

 

letting go

 

This past month has taught me some really big lessons in letting go.

As I was beginning to rehearse for my production, I felt as if everything I was used to clinging to  – my schedule, my routine, getting in exercise, eating “my” foods – were all slowly melting away from me.  I felt as if all these things had grouped together and turned against me – teasing me – and that I was chasing hopelessly after them. Chasing, yet, like I was in one of those tunnels where the things I’m chasing just keep getting farther and farther away. I knew there was no point in continuing to chase them, but I was still clinging on for dear life – in denial that something would actually take them away from me  – and getting angry at the thought that I could maybe even lose the battle.

 

letting go

 

There are days when I really miss these things I cling on to.

I miss feeling safe with my exercise and regimented with my food.  Wow…My eyes well up with tears as I write this. I miss that feeling of safety. I miss having that focus and something to turn to so I can distract myself from feeling scared or embarrassed or stupid or alone. I miss having control over my schedule and running off alone when I so desperately want that breathe of release.  I often feel claustrophobic and attacked when I feel like things are not in my control and I’m so used to making those awful feelings go away by grasping onto my pieces of “safety.”

But – as this past month has taught me – these pieces of safety are not always available to me. Nor should they be.

In previous years, I cultivated my own little routine of safety with just me, myself and I.  But in the real world – a world where you fight for your passions, let others in and engage in the world around you –  you simply cannot rely on this safety. I cannot expect my knight and shining armor to always be there the moment I start to feel uncomfortable. I’ve spoiled myself, in a way. I’ve always ran to my comforts every time I am told I’m going to have to be out of my comfort zone. Without even giving the discomfort a chance, I’ve jumped on my horse and said “no way.”

This being said… there must be compassion. I realize it is not really me that clings to and misses my blankets of safety. Its not really me that gets shaken to the core when my control gets threatened. It’s not me that feels claustrophobic and attacked. It’s the thing inside me that is scared.

 

 

When that feeling of fear starts to arise, I’ll run and run to hold onto my pieces of safety. But then….there comes a time when I feel so depleted and exhausted… that I have to just stop. Stop, and watch those pieces of safety fade away.

In these last few weeks, instead of taking my anger and fear out on exercise and food restriction –  I had to give in. 

I put away my packed lunch and took myself out for a meaty breakfast sandwich and a few moments of quiet reading. I took myself out for a falafel when I didn’t want to cook. I ate at new times and when I wasn’t not hungry. I came home and ate meals at 11:00 pm. I slept in with Dan and ate eggs and toast and cheesy scones mere minutes after waking.  I sat in quiet at a cafe as I felt a heaviness of emotion cloud over me. I felt the uncomfortable feeling of loneliness. Instead of running, I let the tears fall.  I put away the to do list and instead sat in the skin crawling feeling of unknowingness.  Instead of isolating, I engaged in human connection. I put up my arms and said a big, “Okay…. You have me.”

 letting go
I had to give in and accept that I simply could not have my routine.  I had to accept that I was giving 110% of my control and schedule over to something else. I’ve worn armor of protection for years now. My fear wants me to angry and tough and fight back and not let anything take away my precious comforts. But its just scared. Its scared of what will happen if I do just give in and take off my armor.

This is where the feeling of softness comes in. Its the stripping off of the armor. The letting in of the fear. The accepting and giving over. Uncovering that fear and letting it be what it is can unveil a lot of sadness. A sense of fragility. You’re saying goodbye to something you’ve held so closely to you for so long, after all. It’s a feeling of change. A sinking into something new.

But its also a feeling of being lightened.

That armor you’ve been carrying is pretty heavy.  As scary as it is to let it go, it can feel like the real you – though you may be a little open and raw at the moment –  is finally able to come out and breathe.

That, to me, is what it feels like to let go.

letting go

Let go…

How do you describe letting go? Maybe its time to take off the armor and give in. #letgo… Click To Tweet

Tell me,

How do you describe the feeling of “letting go?”

What are you needing to let go of in your life right now? 

Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud.

22 COMMENTS

  1. chasetheredgrape | 8th Dec 16

    Beautiful post Cora that I can resonate with so much…
    For me, it was letting go of that sense of control. My ED gave me all the control I ever wanted… Until I realised I had actually lost all sense of control.
    Learning to let go and allow my days, weeks, months, thoughts, hunger signals, weight to just go with the flow of life was so hard. I felt like I was losing all sense of who I was but in reality I was just saying goodbye to the ‘ED Jen’ and the real me started to appear from beneath the shadows 🙂

    • Cora | 11th Dec 16

      You definitely have to trust that that feeling of “losing” a part of you is really losing something that was never a part of you to begin with. When you are living it, it can be really hard and scary to believe. Letting go of that feeling of control is terrifying and confusing and discombobulating. I can only assume it takes a good long while to let those feelings calm down and that you just have to sit in that discomfort for some time. Sometimes I don’t know how long I can stand the discomfort for.

  2. Susie @ SuzLyfe | 8th Dec 16

    <3
    No lie, I had a post in my head last week titled "Learning to Let Go." #ESP
    I think that letting go (at least in the sense that I meant last week) is about being comfortable with uncertainty. If we knew what the outcome or response would be every time, there would be no worry, right?

    • Cora | 11th Dec 16

      ESP is right. I hope you still share your own take on it! “Uncertainty” is definitely the right word here. Though maybe its not even a matter of becoming comfortable with it. It’s accepting that we may feel UNcomfortable with it, but still allowing ourselves to feel it.

  3. Kat | 8th Dec 16

    I love you and your beautiful heart so much. Thank you for always being so open and honest and REAL. Holding on [or rather clinging] to things is what I do best. I have so many problems letting and just trusting in God that He will take care of it all. It’s one of those issues that I battle daily. I’m such a control freak – feeling in control is what keeps me from slipping backwards in my recovery. I NEED that control so that I feel safe and secure – control over my food, my workout, my day, my schedule – it all keeps me on a very purposeful track and keeps me AWAY from my ED. But life is about so much more than control – something that I am still learning each and every day. Letting go and being free of those burdens is something that I long for, yet relinquishing control is what it will take and I don’t know if I can ever do that.

    • Cora | 11th Dec 16

      That’s so interesting that you say feeling in control is what keeps you from slipping BACK in your recovery. Because for me it is holding on to feeling in control that keeps me stuck in it. Its my dependency on feeling safe and secure that keeps me from getting out of the addictions and rules and routines. I think at least my true goal is to be able to let go of that “need” to feel in control, in all aspects, so that I don’t need it to keep me from running to my coping mechanisms or I don’t need it AS my coping mechanism. Your last couple lines say it all. I long for it but without it…. I know what happens… and I don’t want those things to happen. Thanks as always <3

  4. danielle | 8th Dec 16

    oh this really makes my heart sing, such a lovely post and thoughts.
    as a fairly new mom – almost 6 months on the job – i had to embrace the idea of letting go from the moment she was born. actually before that. i’m a creature that loves a plan, i love goal setting and structure. but i guess a part of me found some freedom in having a tiny human take over all of my control and force me to just react. my method of operation has always been in a proactive state; i tend to like to be prepared for things. i love my morning routine which consists of about 32 steps. i love trying to squeeze in as much stuff i can in a short amount of time. but my daughter has taught me that when i abandon the routines, it’s ok. life is ok. i’m ok. i won’t fall apart if i don’t brush my skin upon waking or say 1000 things i’m grateful for within 10 minutes of getting up. i used to think my day could not go on! oh how i’ve changed.

    beautiful post, beautiful you <4

    • Cora | 11th Dec 16

      So much of how you describe yourself is exactly how I feel, but haven’t been able to put into words myself. Especially this being in a “proactive” state. I have this huge HUGE feel to need to be prepared for things. This comes out in ways from carrying a huge bag around with me all day to restricting food “just in case something comes up in the future out of my control.” Thanks for not making me feel so alone.
      Having a child is the ULTIMATE act of letting go. To me in my life right now, the mere thought terrifies the shift out of me. Like, would I even be able to do it? For my own child!? I’m scared to even think of the answer.
      But – obviously – your daughter has forced you to see the most beautiful parts of life. I know that when I let go and abandon my irrational feelings of what I “must do” to be okay, life is so much.. so much… better. I just don’t know why I can’t always live this way. I’m so happy your daughter has come into your life. <3

  5. Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy | 8th Dec 16

    Such a beautiful post, my friend. You are a beautiful human being. I think you writing this post, addressing insecurities, “giving in” to feelings of uncomfort and going outside of the normal lines for you, is the exact definition of letting go. Listening to my body, not my head, is how I feel I’m letting go. My head might tell me it’s not time to eat, or it’s not time to sleep, or I need to be productive, but if my body isn’t in agreement with those things, I try and let go of the notion of what I “should” or “shouldn’t” be doing.

    • Cora | 11th Dec 16

      Thank you Sarah – that means a lot. Listening to your body is definitely a huge form of letting go. So much of us literally numb ourselves off from our bodies so that we only need to think with our heads and go on with whatever type of routing/action/thinking we feel safe with. Our bodies may very well want something else, yet we are too scared to even listen to what it may be asking for.

  6. Emily Swanson | 8th Dec 16

    Learning to let go of certain expectations, of being able to help everyone, of being the ‘perfect’ older sister, and admitting that I’m totally helpless without God, totally lost without Jesus Christ, has been so hard but SO freeing, because it has freed me to say that I just am actually not a very strong person, but God is working on me. And Jesus’ strength is my strength. But Letting go of that ‘safety net’ I had created for myself was the initial leap of faith that was super scary.

    • Cora | 11th Dec 16

      I’m so happy you took that leap of faith, Emily. Its so scary. And I’m sure it will be a continual piece of work for us for our entire lives, but as long as we keep reminding ourselves how much better it feels to live in that freedom…

  7. Ellie Pell | 8th Dec 16

    First of all, I am now singing Let It Go in my head and I love that movie, so thank you. Letting go for me is allowing changes to happen, not being so tied to what I usually do or what I think I like. I thought I liked having tons of time to read blogs over breakfast, but recently, I’m just not into it. I’d rather move on with my day. I like getting together with friends and meeting people, which is scary (what if they don’t like me?!) but the part of me that craves new experiences and humans is louder than the one that always does what is safe. I’m gonna ride this wave as long as I can.

    • Cora | 11th Dec 16

      You are very welcome 🙂
      Yes – it is being open to the flow of life and how things we like/dislike can change… and come back… and change again. I so know what you mean with those little bits of our routine just not feeling right anymore. Sometimes you just feel over them… and that’s totally a part of life. I think this wave you are on is one AWESOME wave. Keep listening to that part of you that wants new experiences and new connections. That’s where you will thrive!

  8. Kristy from Southern In Law | 8th Dec 16

    To me, letting go is realising I cannot control and schedule every little thing in the world and that’s okay because I’m not actually perfect (what a surprise, haha!).

    When you realise that, you also tend to realise that sometimes letting go has results that are way more than anything you could have planned.

    • Cora | 11th Dec 16

      Yes and yes and yes again. Its when I’ve let go and NOT planned that I’ve had the best days… or when things have just “turned out right.” Life is so so so funny like that.

  9. Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar | 8th Dec 16

    You really have a skill for writing about emotion, Cora. Doing that in a way that’s true but also sounds genuine is actually really, really tough. Such a beautiful post, and a hopeful one. Thanks for sharing, even if a bit later than originally planned.

    • Cora | 11th Dec 16

      Thanks Joyce <3

  10. Kaylee | 14th Dec 16

    I can relate to those feels of procrastinating blog posts. Nguh. I need to let go of control as usual. For me, I think letting go feels like living in the present, taking one moment at a time. Letting go is showing up rather than hiding behind walls and excuses. Much easier said than done though.

    Also, just wanted to say I’m so proud of you and am here for you if you want to chat 😊
    Kaylee recently posted…Must-Reads of the Week (18) + Life UpdatesMy Profile

    • Cora | 14th Dec 16

      You know I read your comment earlier today – then went off and in my day found myself reading your words “its about living in the present, one moment at a time.” And it really calmed me down, when I was starting to feel anxious or “off” about things even in my near future (like later on in the day). It really is about letting go and being in the moment. Thank you Kaylee. Really means a lot to have your words of support and wisdom. Same back to you <3

  11. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 20th Dec 16

    I think you are amazing. You are able to really evaluate yourself and your own issues and see them in a way few can. That’s really the first step to everything. Hence, you are amazing.

    I need to let go of sleep…or really let go of being ok when Ave doesn’t get sleep. If I stress and force it, we both wind up miserable. I recognize it (see I’m pretty awesome too) and I’m working on it.
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets recently posted…Week in Review: The Sleepless Nights Edition (#62)My Profile

    • Cora | 21st Dec 16

      Mm. Thanks, Meg. I’m messy that’s for absolute sure, but I’m just trying to show up in that mess and not apologize for it. I don’t think you should necessarily let go of sleep…aha… but maybe to the acceptance when Ave doesn’t do what is, um, preferable. Harder said than done though. I’d be a massive ball of grump. <3

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