Friday, March 10, 2020

Letting Go, Letting Be and Letting Through

Letting go is essential to change and development. Letting go of old habits, old anxieties and old ways of seeing the world. Change need not be an aggressive process. You don't have to destroy the past or drive it from your mind. Many of those old patterns of thought served you well in their time; only that time is past and now they're holding you back from changes you need to make. So let them go. Stop clinging to them. Just put them down and walk away, no backward glances.

One you've made a change, the temptation to tinker with the new patterns can be very strong. That's where letting be is important. Changes take time to embed and become strong. Don't be like a small child with a packet of seeds, digging them up next day to see if they're growing yet. Your previous life pattern probably took decades to form. You may feel as if you've swept it all away in a rush of enthusiasm for the new, but it's still there, believe me. Making changes stable will take longer than you think. Meanwhile, adding yet more change only prolongs the process and weakens its impact. Those old patterns are ready to snap back into place if they're given an opening.

The quickest way to return to old, discredited patterns of thinking and behavior is to add change upon change in a welter of excitement. Each new change undermines those that have gone before, while they're still only loosely fixed in your daily behavior. The most likely result is a series of failures and disappointments. Growth needs time. Life proceeds at its own pace. Haste rarely pays off. Let things be.

Taking your time and allowing events to develop also offers the opportunity to let the future through. It's amazing how often people block their future growth and development by focusing only on what they expected, not what is actually coming into being.

Whatever you expect your future to be is rarely—if ever—exactly what happens. Life is too uncertain and dynamic. Events happen according to their own logic, not your expectations. Sometimes the real future offers greater opportunities and benefits than the one you imagined—but only if you're alert enough to spot them and turn them to your advantage.

If you allow yourself to become fixated on a desired result, you stand a good chance of being disappointed, as well as missing the possibilities in whatever actually occurs. A new career always has drawbacks as well as benefits. A change of outlook brings problems as well as fresh insights. By setting yourself fixed expectations, you open the door wide to disappointment and frustration…followed by remorse and a slow return to all those old, predictable ways. Meanwhile the future is offering you more than you even dreamed was possible—only you're blind to what it's offering as you fixate on hopes and dreams that weren't fulfilled.

Letting the future through means:
  • Stepping away from the narrow categories of expectation you formed earlier.
  • Striving to see what's there; not just whether what you planned has come to pass.
  • Opening your mind to the unexpected.
The universe has a way of producing greater riches than we expect—only not in precisely the form we were looking for. But if your intention is strong, and your mind open, you can seize these unexpected offerings and turn them to your advantage. This bigger, brighter and more exciting future can only become real if you let it burst through your limited vision and expectations. The universe demands our cooperation, if we are to benefit from its gifts. Standing in the way, eyes wide shut and mind clamped on some hoped-for outcome, is inviting the future to run right over you, probably hurting you badly in the process.

These three steps—letting go, letting be and letting through—are the only ways I know to defeat that constant pulling back to old habits and limited visions. It doesn't seem sensible to me to limit your view of the future just to what you can see from here; or, worse, to some extension of your past experience. If you give yourself time to see with fresh eyes and respond to reality—not just your limiting assumptions about it—exciting possibilities will emerge. Five minutes spent considering people's attempts to predict the future should be enough to prove we humans are very poor at envisaging what's likely to happen, and our predictions are laughable compared with what actually happens.

Don't waste time and energy trying to second-guess the future. Devote yourself instead to these three actions:
  • observing patterns as they emerge;
  • sensing unexpected possibilities; and
  • responding immediately so you can benefit from them.
Let go of past assumptions and habits; let the future be whatever it is, don't try to force it into the limited confines of your expectations; and let any and every new possibility through, so it can grow and develop—and take you along with it.

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RodeoClown said...

Hi Carmine,
Could you please reset your RSS feed to full-text?

I keep going to read your latest article on the train and then realise that it hasn't got the entire content, just the first paragraph.

Ian Tyrrell

4:34 AM  
Carmine Coyote said...

I can't win! I had it at full text and people complained, so I reset it to show several summaries.

Hey guys, tell me what most people want and I'll try to do it. It seems I can't please everyone.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous said...

Does allow you to have two feeds, such that you could have one that will provide summary and the other full text?

11:43 AM  
Carmine Coyote said...

I don't think so. If it does, I don't know how to access it.

11:46 AM  
txdave said...

We are interested in the same subject, little different slant and I have what I hope is a unique "bait":

Please look and comment. thnks dave

8:46 PM  
Carmine Coyote said...


You have a fascinating and valuable site. It does have obvious links to Slow Leadership. Thanks for drawing it to our attention.

Keep reading.

7:12 AM  
watson said...

this is a really terrific post. very insightful and well written. thank you.

i'd also like to point out to you that these ideas very strongly parallel the buddhist tradition of vipassana. this psycho-physical practice encourages mindfulness: attentive observing without getting involved (your "letting be" and "letting through") as well as relaxing your cravings and aversions ("letting go"). this is a good (and free) book to start with to find out more about vipassana:

1:24 PM  

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