Letting Go

Quan YinA few weeks ago, I began a project for a non-profit organization I work with. My task was to line up volunteers for an upcoming fund-raising event. Though not a hard task, it’s one that involves a lot of calls and a lot of time. I decided to invite a spiritual “big gun” from the Doreen Virtue Ascended Masters Oracle Cards to guide and support my process. After clearing my mind and heart, I called in Guidance and picked a card. The Ascended Master I selected was Quan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of compassion.

The keynote message with the card was “Let it go.” The explanatory text advised, “It’s time to stop struggling, pushing, or forcing things to happen.” This message resonated well with me around the job of finding volunteers for our event. “Let it go” gave me the sense that I could let go of viewing my task as an effortful one; that Quan Yin would be helping bring the volunteers to me. I went so far as to assume that by letting it all go into Quan Yin’s care, this would be a task I’d breeze right through and the volunteers would line up at the door!

Well, it didn’t exactly happen that way.

Plenty of people said “no” rather than “yes” to my request. It actually took some time and a fairly long list of candidates to identify enough volunteers to cover the event. And, while I was able to be somewhat philosophical about waiting for the people who were the right combination of skilled, available, and enthusiastic to come along, I also had my frustrations and disappointments as the rejections came in. Where was Quan Yin’s energy that had promised that letting go would release struggle and make things easy?

I quickly realized that Quan Yin wasn’t offering to do the work of finding my volunteers for me; she was offering me the chance to practice letting go of the mild frustration I was experiencing over and over again with each “No thank you.” My normal pattern in this kind of situation would have been to let my frustrations/disappointments accumulate until I’d worked myself into a tiny maelstrom of resentment! Instead, Quan Yin was telling me to, one response at a time, “Let it go.”

Putting my frustrations in Quan Yin’s compassionate, healing hands allowed me to experience the effortlessness I’d hoped for. The task itself wasn’t effortless – ten calls didn’t result in ten people being volunteers – but with each turned-down request, I’d feel my frustrated response, express it in a mild rant, then let it go and move on to ask someone else to volunteer. By letting go in a timely fashion, I managed to keep my energy clear and the task didn’t overwhelm or deplete me.

Letting go is often more easily said than done. A simple task like finding my volunteers offered an easy situation for practicing the spiritual principle of letting go. However, at the other end of the spectrum, events like the loss of a job or the death of a loved one can present enormous letting go challenges. These are hard situations loaded with difficult emotions like anger, stress, grief, and fear.

And, actually, holding onto feelings like these, allowing them to be present for a while, may be an important part of the healing process. We need time to integrate and make real what’s happened. Feeling our feelings, talking about the situation, replaying a scene in our minds – these can all be techniques that help us assimilate something serious so that we can ultimately deal with it. As we begin to absorb the shock, we can eventually integrate into our energy and consciousness what has taken place.

Over time, things do shift and we reach a point when we’ll be best served by letting go, a point when holding onto the feelings will only hang us up, keep us in the past. There’s a phrase used in meetings when the discussion is getting bogged down. “Moving on…” someone says. This is a valuable phrase to keep in mind, and I have said it to myself many times.

Letting go and moving on can happen in many ways. Certainly, expressing ourselves to others – friends, counselors, Quan Yin – helps the burden of our feelings get lighter and lighter, making it easier to finally release them. In less loaded situations, like my volunteer recruitment, I realized that not taking personally the “no” responses I was getting would help me let go. Instead of making up a story about what the “no” meant, I caught myself early on and just handed it over to Quan Yin. Her compassionate energy counseled a forgiving response for the other person and helped me release my disappointment. By not getting caught up in unnecessary emotions, I was better able to just view the volunteer’s “no” with a neutral eye and move on.

Whatever comes along for us, I don’t recommend moving on or letting go prematurely. But, when we’re ready to release the pain or struggle – or even just the frustration from a simple task – that’s the time to call in Quan Yin’s “let it go.” When the time is right, let go and move on. Being cleanly in the present is then a light and breezy place to be!

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