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5 Levels of Letting Go

Letting go is a powerful component to healing oneself and the planet. We really hold on to a lot of stuff. Old beliefs, extra pounds, never-worn sweaters. In order to move forward, we actually do need to leave some stuff behind.

Letting go also creates space. It creates space for peace. It creates space for new opportunities. It creates space for new relationships. It is hard to "hold" the next thing that comes into your life without first "letting go" of the previous thing.

Letting go happens on many different levels within and around our being. The miracle and blessing of letting go is that when you work on one level, other levels are affected. Everything is connected and shifting, growing, and unfolding together! Let's explore the five main levels of letting go, starting with the densest and ending with the most etheric.


Physical letting go is maybe the easiest to notice and practice. You can take a look under your bathroom sink or in the drawers of you kitchen and see things you forgot about, never knew were there, or you just never use. Old vitamins, rubber bands, broken utensils. These things are maybe making it harder to find the items you really need, so let them go as soon as possible and make your life flow more smoothly. I have more tips on minimalism in my blogs and other postings if you want to explore this aspect of physical letting go.


Mental letting go involves becoming aware of your thoughts and beliefs, and then discerning--just as with the rubber bands and old vitamins--which beliefs have reached their expiration date. One belief you hold in your mind could be "I always need to be nice." Do you? Does it always work to be nice? It is interesting to explore what it is that caused you to think that you always need to be nice (Awareness), accept that part of you that needs to be nice (Love), and then release those aspects of 'being nice' that actually hurt you or caused harm in your life.

Blame is another example of mentally holding on to a thought that someone else is responsible or guilty for something. Or thoughts of jealousy, or beliefs about the way your office should be run. All these mental gyrations take a lot of energy and time! And you would like your mind to be entertaining other things, I bet. Like creating a delicious dinner with the ingredients in front of you and standing in the kitchen right now. Mentally letting go allows you to be present to what you are doing right now, what your task or focus is right now--and give that all of your love.


Emotions are completely natural responses to the things that happen in life. It's just what our body and mind do--they get afraid, or they are overcome with grief, or they are elated and blissed out. Emotions are immediate, and usually the body processes an emotion for about 90 seconds with a chemical/hormonal response. Emotional pain is experienced a little longer--about 10 to 20 minutes.

So, when we initially experience an emotion, if we don't resist it or question it (it is SO helpful to have another human with you who also welcomes and empathizes with your experience), then emotions can pass and be let go. Sigh. But it isn't that easy always, is it? Because our emotions come on the heals of past traumas and experiences, we can end up with a cluster of emotions flooding at once. It is really helpful to engage the assistance of another person, usually a therapist, to help you better understand and heal past experiences and their related emotions. Then it is easier to allow sadness about a broken cup to just be sadness about this cup in pieces in front of you. Just sad now. Then then let it pass. Let it go.


Spiritual letting go is even deeper work. Spiritual letting go means forgiveness, surrender, and transformation. Bigger ideas of who and what we are are given up to the greater purpose of growth and love.

I was passing through a stage of spiritual letting go regarding a deep trauma from my past. It was SO HARD to forgive. I literally road up a mountain on my bike and confronted my memories, emotions, need for justice, want of revenge, and eventually chose to leave the burden of it all on the mountain. I truly felt as though it was harder work and a greater accomplishment than winning an Olympic Gold Medal. And no one would probably ever know how truly difficult it was. And I wouldn't get any rewards. But the relief and lightness of no longer having that fear and hatred within me was my reward.


In the practice of shamanism, there is a basic belief that everything is energy. I have found that sometimes, releasing the energy of an event facilitates the letting go on all the other levels. Energetic releases are doing things like writing a letter to a loved one, then burning it and releasing all expectations. Or using your imagination to sense the energy of a relationship that has ended, imagine that energy leaving your 'body,' and allowing all energy from the relationship to return to source. Or scheduling a session with a shamanic practitioner of energetic healer of some kind.

Sometimes energetic letting go is easy. Sometimes it requires a really big fire or lots of assistance from divine beings and spirits or other like-minded humans. Trust your intuition to tell you what needs releasing and how to release it, and whether or not more energetic work is required. Energy actually doesn't want to be stuck inside us where it creates more problems. Energy likes to move and flow. So listen to your intuition, and start paying attention to what the energy within and around you is needing. Then, as you are able, release the energy back to the primordial.

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