Category: Zen Living Written by Leo Babauta
A lot of the people I work with feel a lot of heaviness in what they’re taking on — whether it’s work, their finances, relationships, health, etc.
We often don’t even realize we have heaviness about something — but other people can feel it if we talk to them about it. Things feel really hard, overwhelming, discouraging, frustrating, pointless.
If you’re feeling heaviness about something … that’s OK! You’re human, and you are allowed to have heavy emotions. Giving ourselves full permission to feel whatever we feel is a powerful way to be.
That said … what if you’d like to experience life in a different way? What if you’d like to make things feel easier, more empowered, more inspired, more on purpose?
This might require us to let go of the heaviness — not because it’s bad or wrong, but because it’s not serving us in creating the life we want.
Let’s talk about how to let go.
Start with Being with Heaviness
Ironically, it’s pretty much impossible to let go of something if we think there’s something wrong with it. If you think something about you (like heaviness) sucks, then you’ll try to let go of it, but it won’t work. It’ll just dig its heels in even harder.
That’s because it’s a part of us. Fear is a part of who we are as humans, as are emotions like frustration, disappointment, discouragement, pointlessness. We try to disown those parts of us because we don’t like them, and can’t be with them. So it’s like wishing you didn’t have a brain or a heart — pretty hard to get rid of them!
So we start by just letting ourselves be with the emotions that are there when heaviness shows up. Can we allow them to be there? Welcome them? Bring curiosity? What about love? This is shifting how we relate to these heavy emotions.
Only once we’ve practiced with this, and can accept these emotions, can we practice creating something different.
Catching It in the Moment
It’s important to practice noticing the heaviness when it shows up. If you can catch it when it’s happening, then you can work with it.
If you notice it … first, practice just being with it, bringing curiosity, bringing love, like we discussed in the section above.
But then, you can decide if you’d like to choose something different. In the moment, if you’re aware you’re in the heaviness, you can decide if you’d like to let it go and choose something fresh.
We’ll talk about that in the next section below, but it’s important to remember that it happens in the moment — so catch it when it happens!
Creating Something Different
If you catch it in the moment, you can choose something different. It’s not that you’re going to “improve” yourself or fix the broken thing about you … it’s simply that there’s something else you want. You can love stormy weather but simply want some sunshine today. Your heart is allowed to want what it wants.
So do you want? Do you want to have more joy, play, love in your life? More creativity, adventure, wonder? More generosity, gratitude, magic?
Choose what you’d like, and then choose into it in the moment. It won’t come easy, because you’re comfortable with the heaviness. It’s safe for you. Choosing something else means you have to choose into taking actions that aren’t what you would normally do. If you want more adventure … you have to actually choose into adventure, and take actions in the face of your fear (what adventure doesn’t have fear?).
Make a list of what you might do if you choose into your new way of being. And then start to take those actions, with the new way of being.
The Art of Letting Go Retreat
If you’d like to practice with me, join my Art of Letting Go Retreat that I’m leading October 19 – 21, in the gorgeous mountains of North Carolina.
Art of Letting Go Retreat
We’ll be practicing the art of letting go of those blockers:
- Learning how we hold ourselves back, and convince ourselves that it’s OK
- Learning about the fear that causes these old patterns
- Practicing with other people who are open to this — the method of how to let go
- And most importantly, learning the freedom and openness that comes with this letting go
- Also: how to create structure & ritual that will help you practice for the long term
You’ll learn how to create openness, new patterns, and practice stepping courageously into the unknown.
Zen Habits is about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness. My name is Leo Babauta. I live in Davis, California with my wife and six kids, where I eat vegan food, write, run, and read.
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