Why Holding On Is Holding You Back

holding on

Just the other day, I was taking my morning bike ride through the park when I hit a narrow strip of sidewalk and my front wheel just barely slipped off. In an attempt to correct my mistake, I lost balance and proceeded to tip my bike over and go sliding along the path. After I came to a stop I stood up, embarrassed, and tried to gain my composure as my body shook like a leaf from the shock.

I looked down and saw that my hands were bleeding and raw from road rash and my right hip ached. I immediately started crying as the pain set in.

The rest of the day followed suit and my plans when out the window. If you’ve never tried getting ready and rushing out the door with one arm, let me tell you- it ain’t easy! All day, I was hurrying from one appointment to another, dealing with my car breaking down, running the entire farmer’s market with one hand, and unable to complete some really important tasks because I was in so much pain.

Needless to say, at the end of the day I was exhausted.

Once I got home and laid on the couch, I started thinking about what a disaster of a day I’d had. I started to realize that sometimes, no matter what we have planned, things don’t work out. It’s in those times that the only thing to do is to let go.

Years ago, I went to a holistic practitioner who would always repeat to me, “Let go and let God. Let go and let Spirit flow.” And while it sounded so powerful and soothing in his weathered Australian accent, I didn’t know the first thing about how to actually let go.

Once I realized that I really don’t have control over anything in life except for myself, I took on this phrase as a mantra in my life.

Sitting in traffic. Let go and let God. 

Waiting for a guy to call me. Let go and let God.

Getting really sick. Let go and let Spirit flow.

Quitting a job. Let go and let God.

Hateful words from someone. Let go and let Spirit flow.

Striving to have perfect health. Let go and let God.

Wrecking my bike. Let go and let Spirit flow.

After repeating this manta over and over again to myself, I eventually went from saying it to consciously living it. I’m definitely not perfect at this. In fact I’ve still got a long way to go.

The greatest part though, is what happens when you let go. The freedom that comes when you release something that has power over you is unlike any other feeling in the world. More often than not, I’ve found that I can’t actually get what I’m wanting unless I release it and let it go first.

It seems backwards, but the thing that you’re holding onto the most might be the thing that is holding you back. I just experienced this a few months ago when I was hitting a wall with my health. As soon as I let go of trying to be perfect and living out of fear, my health changed drastically… almost overnight.

Question: What do you need to let go of in your life? What are you holding onto that is no longer serving you? How have you successfully let go of things in the past? Let me know in the comments below.

Today’s Choice

I choose to let go of control and let life unfold as it will.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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12 thoughts on “Why Holding On Is Holding You Back

  1. I need to let go of the hurtful words and actions of others. I find it so hard to accept that people act this way and it has nothing to do with me and who I am. They are fighting their own battle. Why is this so hard to do?!!

    Let go and let GOD is on repeat!!! ♥

    • I know how you feel, Brandi! I’m a pretty sensitive person myself so people’s words can definitely get under my skin if I’m not careful. Letting them go releases their power over us and gives us more room to love… but it’s definitely not easy! Keep it up!

  2. This is excellent, Madeline. Wow. I need to let go of old labels I’ve given myself. Beliefs about myself that have done nothing but limit what I’m capable of. Thank you for this post. I’m going to journal on it tomorrow morning.

  3. As a teacher I often had to ask “what is the point” in how I was thinking the schedule, the lesson, or the experience would be….the outcome so often has nothing to do with the “rules” or “expectation” we”held to.” “What is the point?” often reveals just how we mindlessly get into expectations/habits/thinking that has nothing to do with supporting the right now outcome and the end of the journey outcome we are seeking.

    An example today, the sky was beautiful, it is our anniversary, the children were free my mind said “but there is work to do” and yet the point of being an entrepreneur and business owner is I can monitor and adjust for opportunities that do not happen every day. I chose taking our children to lunch, enjoying time together in the botanical garden, and rescheduling the writing until Sunday evening when it is to rain. In another year I would have felt guilty, wrong, or bad for choosing our family or me over work, now I know that more clearly aligns with our family goals and my personal boundaries to choose family life over unnecessary drudgery, when it can be avoided.

    Love watching you bloom!

    • This is good, Sweetie. It’s almost like we need to reset our internal compasses to North… which is the purpose or the point behind the action. I’m going to have to add this exercise to my life for sure :)

  4. Gosh I love this post so much, and I love Ian. I can hear him right now saying that. One of my favorite things I say while teaching yoga is “Let go of what is not serving you.”
    I need to let go of holding on to an old friend who’s relationship is no longer serving me. I need to make more space in my life for those who are likeminded and call the best out in me.

    Thanks for a fantastic reminder to let Spirit flow, only then can we be open to new possibilites.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I totally agree with you and I think it’s so imperative to surround yourself with like minded people that challenge, stimulate and inspire you!

  5. I have practiced meditation most of my life. Since I was a teenager. Because of that I know what you are talking about Madeline. When I first started meditating my mind just would not cooperate! And, when I mentally worked on replacing negative beliefs, I found out that it took work for my mind to accept it. Thanks for sharing your experience because a lot of people tell me after two days of meditating,”It doesn’t work for me!” LOL. Be well.

    • Yes! Meditation is so good for letting go. I absolutely adore, but you’re right- people often don’t give it enough of a chance. I have found meditation to be my life saver over the last year in regards to my anxiety, stress and overall health.

  6. wow, i believe that God has laid this on my heart for a very long time, firstly forgive then let go and move on, those 3 things, i have forgiven but the letting go was so simple but very hard, but that is the truth it is simple, its a bit like hand off, i see myself with my hands in the air as if to say ok God, you take over the steering wheel, i can,t sort this no more, and it brings peace for i am trusting in the one who really loves me more than anything this world can ever offer me, hope this encourages someone today love jacqueline

  7. Hi! So I hve a question that has nothing to do with any of this lol Sry! My question is about meditating, while reAding what u wrote I stopped when I read DONT mediate laying down and I havet read on because I immediately needed to find a way to contact u to ask why. My second time meditating I laid down and that was my last! Lol But I want to re start so bad and am hoping u can email me so I can know if my experience was all in my head or what :( please! thank u!