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What's in your boat?

Some years ago, I had a dream. I was in a boat flowing down a river. My lover was with me in my boat. The river and atmosphere was romantic, warm, and appealing.

And, then as I relaxed, something changed. My lover was no longer there in the boat with me. I couldn't find him anywhere, and the boat did not stop moving. I looked in and around the boat, yet saw nothing but water surrounding it. And the boat kept moving forward, down the river. I was afraid.

When I looked back behind the boat, there was my lover. I thought about how I might use the paddles to go back for him, or stall so that he could swim to catch up. I even tried to rewrite the dream, seeing him climb back in and over the side. But try as I might, he kept falling out, and I could not stop the current. I had to go forward in the boat alone. I had to say goodbye.

I never told anyone that dream until now. You are the first to hear of it because I was scared that this dream might mean something deeper than I could handle. That I would lose my lover, and have to go forward alone, unable to welcome him back into the boat, felt heavy. It's true. At that time the interpretation of the dream was too big an idea for me to hold. I can only hold it now, even welcome it, as I know that we must at some point or another lose people, even how we view ourselves, and things we wish that we could keep.


Many teachers and teachings from time immortal show us that letting go is necessary. Christ teaches us how to let go of the body, to die to ourselves, so that we can live, receive redemption, and the Holy Spirit. Buddha taught that our attachments are what cause us to suffer, and we must let them go to find enlightenment. Nature teaches us that seasons begin and end and begin again. Fruit will eventually ripen and fall from the vine. If we try to hold on to what is , it will eventually rot and stink. We can not go back, and we can not hold on to something that no longer belongs in the boat, no matter how hard we try. If we do, we will not reach our full potential and in the process, we will suffer.

This is a hard pill to swallow when it is something we love, but what about shifting our perspective to see how great this is when the thing that falls out of the boat is an old, defeating habit or thought? What about the abuse or trauma, how about when that falls out? These things, too, must pass. Some of us go a lifetime trying to hold on to them, but then, guess what? We suffer. What we could have let go of easily becomes a web spun many times over, thick and sticky with the energy of all the times we let it back in and over the side of our boat.

Letting go is a practice.

Anytime I am trying to hold on too tightly to something, I remind myself that what is for me will be mine. There is nothing that anyone can do about it, not even me. And then, I practice letting go. Depending on how firmly I am gripping, sometimes one thing will get me going forward to release my grip, but most often, I will have to be consistent and do my daily work. Whatever I am letting go of, especially if it gives me pain to think about its absence, I do my best to give myself compassion, because letting go may just take years.

Here are some of the things I practice when recognizing the need to let go while I'm still holding on. If you are watching something float away from your boat with reservation, trying to rewrite the story so it suits holding on, try all or some of these to get you seeing that the lightness and freedom you desire is not in holding on. Put these in your boat so that when the time comes to let go, you have the necessary tools to support yourself. We will have to let go at some point or another, or we will suffer trying to keep what will weigh us down and keep us stuck in yesterday.

Observe the flow of your inhales and exhales.

See that you can breathe in and enjoy having, and then breathe out. See that it is OK to have and not to have anymore as well. Watch the flow of the breath.

Ask yourself what you are holding on to and why.

Sometimes, if we realize why we are holding on, we can see that it is time to let go and do so with more ease. Don't make excuses here. Tell yourself the truth. What is this thing you are wanting and why do you want it, really?

Flow in and out of a yoga posture.

If you are familiar with yoga asana, the vinyasa practice where you take one inhale or exhale in each posture is a great way to practice letting go. Something as easy as cat-cow allows the body to move energy. It is a reminder that you can come in the posture, and you can also leave it behind and move on.

Open and close your hands.

Take a look at your open palms. Take a moment to place the thing that you are grasping into them. See it. Feel it. Bless it. Then close your hands. Say a prayer for strength or ask God for what you need in order let this go. When you are ready, open your hands. Repeat as needed.

Tap on the body (EFT).

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a favorite of mine. I can not teach you this practice here as it is involved, but there are Youtubes and resources you might find online, if you are interested. Still, there is one place I like to tap to balance my chakras and let go. Using all of my fingers, I tap the sides of my chest and breathe deeply. Easily find this spot by tracing up from the nipple to the space right below and to the sides of the shoulder joint, and tap.

Journal about the feelings that emerge when contemplating letting go.

When I stopped smoking cigarettes years ago, it was hard. I remember asking myself, "What am I going to do now if I don't smoke?" Journaling these feelings helped me to see that there were a lot of other things I could do instead of smoke. I even created a list of them, and every time I had a craving, I used the list to support myself.

Find relevant quotes to remind yourself that YOU CAN, that this will pass, and good can come of this, too. Post them around your space.

Here are a couple quotes that I keep in my boat: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). "When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off" (Third Yoga Sutra). "Live with no sense of 'mine' not forming attachments to experiences" (Buddha). "The journey in life is toward freedom. A bird cannot hold its perch and fly" (Deborah Adele). "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20).

Use visualizations and meditations.

Our feelings will come and go like everything else. You can see this and find ease around it by visualizing feelings as if moving out of you, like a cloud. I often use a cloud visualization/ meditation with my clients that I have shared on Soundcloud. And you can use too.

But you can also just sit with yourself quietly out in nature and listen as things come and go. This, too, is a meditation and will help you to calm your attachment.

Start giving things away.

When I decided to move back to the east coast, it was a tough decision. There was a lot of letting go that had to be done. But what I know about letting go is that if I start with the easy things now, the bigger, harder things feel much less daunting. So, I started giving away everything that I could. I got my son on board, and he started giving things away too-- even things I did not want to give away yet began to disappear, until we were moved out, and back to the east coast.


Take a good look at what is in your boat. If there is something there, hiding or even blatantly starring you in the face that needs to go over the side, see if you can let it go. If not now, see if you can practice letting it go overtime. To make letting go a practice, prepares us for what we all know is next. We will have to let go of this body at some point. It is inevitable. Letting go of the small things now will most definitely support us with that.

Yesterday, one of my cousins sent me a text about the "Natural Experience of Death." I am not sure why he sent it, but it was a message for me, certainly, and for us all. Here is some of what he shared:

"Grieving is not reserved just for death. Grief is the natural experience of the loss of a love with and for another. It is an important process that must be fully experienced and expressed to allow the transition through deep losses in life."

When we let go, we will grieve the loss. And it is in that moment when we must take courage and have compassion. For what is on the other side of loss is a potential space where we can be refreshed. When the boat is clear of what we may have wanted to keep, and that which we didn't, there is freedom, freedom indeed!

Though letting go is an individual journey, and we must do it alone, we are not alone. We can practice letting go together, so we have guidance, and feel stronger as we create space to receive. You can practice this with me online or in person right now. You can use the tools above or access the tools you, too, have been given. Let's move the stagnant energy out, so you can bring in that which you are wanting.

Book a free 30 minute call with me to connect around your vision. What are you wanting to clear so you can bring that which is fresh and new into your boat?

Check out my yoga offerings by clicking the button below, or book your private yoga session, and let's get started today.

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