Letting go of the past is easy for some, and not so easy for other. I belong to the latter camp, and tend to cling to the past with grit and determination, feeling somehow sure it was better than anything that is going to replace it in the future.
But as I stepped out of the house this morning to go pick blackberries to eat with my porridge, I felt a definite autumnal chill in the air, which reminds me that nature is moving into a new season, and that I – and we – must do the same. I love autumn: the freshness in the air; the leaves as they turn to russet reds, oranges and browns, and that feeling of... actually I’m not sure what the feeling is but it’s a definite move from one phase to another. It’s that back to school time, a fresh start, but also a time to let go of the past. Last autumn as I was walking along one day, I decided that I would try to mimic the trees - not by turning to wood and waving my arms around! (though actually, in Chinese astrology I am the wood element) but to shed my own metaphorical leaves so I could then grow fresh ideas and opportunities for the coming spring. So, letting go can relate to the physical world as well as the non-physical; it’s a great time to clear out your house, as I have been doing already, but it’s also useful to work on letting go of the things in your life that no longer serve your spiritual growth: perhaps unhealthy eating habits, relationships, friendships, jobs – anything that keeps you stuck in the past.
Sentimental old fools
Clearing out, letting go and moving on is something I have always found difficult. I was chatting to my gran at the weekend and we are both very similar in that we get sentimental about things. I was telling her how I find it so hard to move house, or move on from a relationship, as I always end up going back (to the house or the man!) and then lamenting what once was, and wishing for it to be so again. My gran said she found it incredibly upsetting to leave her first house in Felixstowe and move to the one she currently lives in (and has done for about 50-or-so years) as she was so attached to the previous place. She said she was upset for at least three months in the new house but then just had to get on with it in a typically British, stoic way. And I am just the same. Any big change often causes me anxiety and upset; I can get very stuck in the past, perhaps because I view the past through rose-tinted glasses or something; it certainly seems to provide me with much comfort, anyway.
But to come back to the tree analogy, you have to let go of the past in order to follow the life-death-life cycles of nature; a tree must lose its leaves and then grow new ones in the spring (apart from evergreens, so not sure how they fit into this analogy!). And humans must move on from their past and shed their old ‘leaves’ in order to grow. I mean, our bodies renew themselves constantly. As Deepak Chopra reminds us in his book Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, our bodies are completely new every seven-or-so years; in fact, many organs and tissues renew themselves much faster than that. Cells have to die off and be replaced for us to grow and evolve. So why do some of us find it so hard to let go of non-physical things?
This will no doubt be a life-long project of mine: to continually clear out the past and move forward (and to stay in the present moment). And what better time to be reminded of this than autumn, which epitomises the releasing and letting go part of the cycle.
What Katy Louise Did...
- Katy Louise
- Katy Louise writes about health, wealth, happiness and relationships, and the spiritual insights she gains along her path. She is currently editor of Top Sante magazine (www.topsante.co.uk). Prior to that she was editor of Bodyfit magazine (now Your Fitness www.yourfitnesstoday.com) and the launch editor of Soul&Spirit magazine (www.soulandspiritmagazine.com). Katy is also a certified Fitsteps and STOTT Pilates instructor. She is the go-to girl for all matters relating to health, wellbeing and spirituality.