Letting Go Isn’t Easy

A few years ago, I wrote about an Asian proverb that stated “To be free, all you have to do is Let Go”.

I had Terry Hayes, the author of I Am Pilgrim to thank for it. He referred to it in the book in the following way (to the best of my recollection).

An indigenous tribe in an Asian jungle or rainforest used to set a trap for monkeys. They’d leave some nuts in the base of a long-necked tubular vessel that had a wider bulb shaped end to it. The monkey would stretch its slender arm into the bulb end of the vessel to grab the nuts. So long as its fist was clenched, the monkey couldn’t remove its arm.

The tribesmen would return to their trap, and the greedy monkey was a sitting duck, refusing to let go of the nuts.

Whack! They’d knock the monkey out with a club.

Whether the monkey was a pest culled, or a dinner in waiting, I don’t know.

Anyway, back to the Asian wisdom – To be free, all you have to do is Let Go.

How true this is.

This week, I had three separate reminders of this truth.

  1. A client who had an unpleasant experience over the weekend. As she replayed the experience in her mind, she said it caused her undue stress. As a consequence of the negative mind state, she had started to catastrophise about unlikely, yet possible future events.
  2. I let myself get very frustrated with a project I’ve been working on for months, and hoping to finalise. A particular paper I’ve written (you’ll see it soon!) came back from the designer. It was apparent that its shortcomings were down to my messaging and positioning of the message, not the design.
  3. During a very productive Team Coaching session, some personal frustrations and grievances that were held and suffered in silence for long periods were shared and released. We had set the session up for such things to be aired respectfully, and in turn not taken personally.

In each instance, the subjects (the female client, me and the two male team members) focused on our internal locus of control. In doing so, we moved beyond the issue itself. We accepted our role, and our responsibility. We let go of our frustration and we focused on what we could do or influence next to move ourselves forward.

When our mind is present and expansive, it is like free-flowing water. It navigates obstacles and is pure by nature.

When our mind is gripped on a problem, or anxious about a possible future outcome, it is constricted and limited. It is frozen, like ice.

Edie turns 11 this week. For a couple of years when she was very young, we were exposed to the movie ‘Frozen’ on repeat. As head-wrecking as that was, the underlying message is the same.

Let It Go!

  • What frustration or problem have you been replaying and holding on to?
  • If you were to shift your locus of control back internally, instead of focusing on the problem, what would that look or feel like?
  • What will you do with this insight?