So, Christmas is fast approaching and I wanted to share a short piece for all those who are in a state of anxiety for the forthcoming festivities. For those who are looking forward this isn’t for you (although you might find it helpful for other areas in your life!)
I was speaking with a friend the other day about something that was going on in my life, something I was stressing about and over thinking. It was something I felt I really ought to be able to let go of but it kept resurfacing in my thoughts which led me to feel pretty off centre.
She sent me this beautiful quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn, (the guy you brought us mindfulness in its present form)
“It’s not a matter of letting go – you would if you could. Instead of ‘Let it go’ we should probably say ‘Let it be.’”
Oh, this got me right in the belly. Yes, how many times have we all struggled with letting go of something and haven’t been able to? It just feels so deeply rooted in who we are and how we think. Yes? I’ve been guilty of this with clients I know, urging them to let go of something yet not really knowing how they would do this because obviously if they could have they would have, right?
So, instead it’s about letting it be. When I read this, my shoulders literally dropped a couple of inches. Seriously!
Think of whatever it is that’s stressing you about this Christmas period. You might even have loved ones around you saying, ‘stop stressing’, ‘what on earth are you stressing about?’…they are saying these things with all good intentions I’ve no doubt. So instead of letting it go (which you would have if you could have!) how about simply acknowledging that that’s how you’re feeling in this moment because of the thoughts flying through your head so just sit with it and let it be.
I’ve come to realise that there is no point in trying to figure something out or to solve a problem when my thinking is off centre and unhelpful. I call it my 3am thinking…it’s NEVER to be trusted. This is the thinking I’m talking about that results in you feeling stressed.
It might not be about Christmas, it might be about something going on in your family – a sick parent or communication problems with a teenager. It might be your uncertainty about your career or your marriage.
Recognise it as your thinking in the moment, don’t go about trying to fix it or change it simply acknowledge it and let it be. How many times has the answer to a particular problem dropped into your head when you’re not thinking about it? It happens to me all the time. I was speaking with a client yesterday who said that she had an insight into something she’s been stressing about for ages when she was out running earlier in the day.
Problems seem to solve themselves when we let them be. We’re more likely to have insights, as my mentor said, when we keep our hands out of the machinery.
Tip: head over to YouTube and listen to Let It Be by the Beatles…