“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.” ― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
A few year ago, I led a telecourse on how to let go and go with the flow (available for download now). I was motivated to facilitate this class because I was tired of always juggling and trying to anticipate/manage the endless details of my life, family and business. I knew there had to be another way and I wanted to explore this theme with a tribe who also wanted to live more “in the flow of life.” I longed to feel more trusting, free and relaxed. My deepest desire was to just …let …go.
And so I did.
Over the past three years how I live, work and play changed pretty radically. Yes, I still have a type-A personality that at times, serves me well, but I stopped trying to control everything (one of the top 3 causes of stress--read more) and started going with the flow more of the time. Last year, I wrote out fewer to-do lists than I ever have, did next to no strategic planning, always listened to my intuition, only took on work projects that brought me joy, practiced a deeper level of self-care and trusted a whole lot more–and I had my most successful year in business ever.
By living more in the present, setting daily intentions (more of a focus on how I want to feel than what I’ll accomplish), releasing expectations, practicing “good is good enough,” being vulnerable and asking others for help, doing less, not feeling like I had to reply to all my email messages, releasing expectations, not forcing outcomes and having my desire to feel peaceful trump my need to control– I stepped into a new way of being. And life became more enjoyable, spacious and easy.
Years ago I was leading a stress management workshop for a group of very successful attorneys, all women, at a retreat center in Arizona. One of the women jumped up in the middle of the session saying, “Ah-ha! I now I realize why I’m always so stressed-out: I over-manage my life!” The woman, who also organized events for her law firm, was used to creating plans A, B, C and continually planning and anticipating every conceivable course of action her clients, kids and business might take. As a result she lived in the future and the past, but she was rarely in the present moment. Her habit of hyper-managing every detail of her personal and professional life was exhausting her. She thought by being so on top of everything she was alleviating stress but she was actually causing more of it (and often creating extra work for those around her, as well). She’s shared with me many times over that this insight changed her life.
Letting go and managing/controlling less can mean opening up to more joy, spontaneity and flow in your life. If you’re willing to trust, step off the cliff and surrender. Actor Larry Eisenberg says,”For peace of mind, we have to resign as general manager of the universe.” I’ve turned in my resignation-are you ready to hand in yours?
TAKE ACTION: Do you feel called to let go and step into a new way of being (whatever that looks like for you)? If you like self-paced learning and support in the comfort of your own home, download one of my life balance telecourses such as New Way of Being: Learning to Let Go and Go with the Flow. If you’re a group person, grab a spot in my July 10-12 New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat at Kripalu (rooms are going fast!).
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by stress management teacher/author and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Offering speaking, custom workshops, training, books/telecourses and individual coaching focusing on self-renewal for women, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining Personal Renewal Groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 13 year-old son. More on her background here.