Weekly Reading Topic for November 2, 2019: Letting Go
Well, good morning, love!
I just opened a Reading for you, my newsletter subscribers and here’s what I heard in answer to the following:
What do my readers most need to hear this weekend? What is the most important message to send to my beloved readers?
The answer was: “Letting Go.”
Here is your Weekly Reading. I hope it serves. This one went in a direction I did not expect!
Weekly Reading │ Letting Go
Q: What does that mean, “Letting Go?”
A: I can feel it already, the collective tightening of various bands of muscles throughout the bodies of my readership this week. Even just the idea of “letting go” often causes us humans to grip just a smidgen harder.
And … surprise … gripping a little harder is a totally appropriate response to being told to “let go,” “relax,” or any of the other “just be OK with everything” phrases we use.
This is not really surprising. We are born with two reflexes, and only two: to suck at anything put near our mouths, and to grip anything that comes near our hands. The grip of a newborn, whether with their mouth or their fist, is surprisingly strong.
We need to be able to latch on, early, early, early. To survive, we have to be able to take nourishment, immediately.
Similarly, to keep from falling, we have to be able to grip. Evolutionary scientists point out that our ancestors were tree dwellers, so the ability to grip anything right from birth was a way to keep babies a tiny bit safer. If we could grip, we might be able to grasp a hand, or a tree branch, on our way down.
So. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel a little challenged by the idea of Letting Go. It’s a totally normal, natural instinct to grasp and pull things toward you, to move closer, to grip harder. It’s much, much less natural to let your fist open up.
The trick is to know what to let go of and what to grip harder. We can use our reflexes to bring what we really want closer to us, which will teach us how to take the next step.
The new age/newage (rhymes with sewage) concept of letting go might be one of the first items on our list to loosen up about. So often we are counseled to “release” and “breathe out” and “relax” and “let go of “that which no longer serves us.”
And “that which no longer serves” is often something like an “addiction” to sugar, or mind-altering substance, or anger, or distraction or grudges. Attitudes of gratitude are praised, and negative nelly mindsets are banned.
That’s SUCH a great idea. Too bad it’s just about impossible to go against our own nature. Our own nature as human bodies is to grasp and suck. So … asking ourselves to “just let go” of something is like asking the dog to “just speak English.”
Dogs will try, very hard, to communicate with us, including vocalizing. But their throats and tongues simply cannot make the sounds we do. So we have to listen to them in other ways, and they to us. Behavioral languages and tonal languages are just as valid as human speech.
So we need to find another way to communicate with ourselves around things that bug us about ourselves.
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To “just let go” of sugar, for example, when it’s one of three macronutrients, is silly. Sugar is no more meant to be let go of than oxygen or nitrogen. We need these things.
What we MIGHT need to let go of is too MUCH of these things. But even that is slippery, because what’s too much for one person might be perfect for another. And what’s perfect for you today might be too much for you tomorrow.
But that’s not how it’s framed, right? So let’s reframe.
Instead of “letting go” of sugar, as just ONE example, let’s see how we can use our natural reflexes as humans to hold it close, to grasp it, and to take nourishment from it.
Close your eyes for a moment, and think back to the last sweet thing you ate. Anything you classify as a sweet, whether it’s candy or fruit or a delicious baked good. It doesn’t have to be dessert, either. Anything sweet or starchy.
Remember what it felt like to eat it. And while you probably didn’t pay attention at the time, do so now, in your memory. Feel the sensations, the emotions. Pay attention to your body, and how it felt immediately after eating that sugary thing.
Ninety percent of you can barely remember, right?
So you didn’t USE the sugar. You ate it, but you didn’t use your own reflexes: sucking, gripping. You put it in your body without attention. That’s fine, that’s OK, that’s normal.
But here’s the thing: you cannot let go of something you do not hold on to. So if you are struggling with what they call a “sugar addiction” and you are not using your God-given human reflexes, you will never be able to “let go” of that addiction.
It has you — you don’t have it. If you can’t remember in detail the last time you ate that sweet? You’re likely being had.
So now, this weekend, experiment with really TAKING something, so you CAN let it go. In our sugar example, I suggest using candy to do this. For example, get a bag of M&M’s or gummy bears, or something else you like that comes in small, discrete little bitty bits.
Place one in your mouth, and just experience what it does. Sugar is digested in your mouth and in your intestines, not in your stomach, so when you eat a simple carbohydrate like candy or super-starch like a potato chip, you start to get energy from it immediately as you chew. (This is why diabetics in an insulin coma can be revived with a few sips of orange juice — it goes right to the bloodstream through the mucous membranes in the mouth.)
So immediately, you will feel a little energy boost, and a little kick of satisfaction. Your brain thrives on glucose, so that little hit will go right up there and zing things up a little. There’s a little lift, too, in the emotions.
Now place another in your mouth, and see what happens, and another, and another. As you continue, if you pay attention, you will start to feel the tipping point from “yay, a little energy” to “oh my, that’s a lot of sugar to deal with at once.”
And if you are still paying attention, you will naturally stop when you find that tipping point. And with practice, while mindfully eating, you will stop well BEFORE you get to that tipping point.
In this way you use your own natural instincts :: sugar, take it, eat it :: to give you what you need. And because you are paying attention, you will not need to let go of sugar once it starts to make you feel bad. No, you will stop on your own, because … you feel bad.
You already have it, so you CAN let it go.
The problem for all of us is that we are so distracted today by everything you already know about that we find it difficult to use our instincts at all.
We eat because it’s a certain time of day, or because someone just came home, or because there is food there, and we don’t let our hands reach and grasp what we need. We bypass those marvelous instincts and instead just let a schedule or the signals of others dictate our nourishment.
And as we experience problems, we think it’s us, that we’re out of control, and that we need to gain control by, ironically, “letting go.”
But really, we cannot let go of what we do not have. When we are not paying attention, we are never “in control” or “out of control.” We are simply fludging around from one activity to another, blown by the wind like a balloon, buffeted and refusing to grasp, our hands full of devices and weird substances that look like food.
So this weekend, pay attention to your actual instincts. What are you drawn to? What do you desire? What are you really craving?
This morning I got some bad news (don’t worry, all is well, false alarm) on the way to pick up lunch. I lost my appetite completely, and instead of eating, I just skipped that meal. Later, I ate. I’m fine.
Our innate primal reflexive instincts are there for two reasons:
(ONE) To guide us toward what we need.
(TWO) To save us from falling.
So don’t ever “let go” unless you have already determined that you can do so, safely.
Once in another lifetime you were a tiny infant tree dweller, and you fell from your mother’s arms and wheeled through the air, and you didn’t scream, you didn’t let out your breath at all, because you needed every ounce of oxygen to fuel your hands as they clutched, clutched, clutched. And when your little mitt found that slim bendy branch, it wrapped itself around the smooth bark and made it a temporary home. Dangling, you waited for help, twirling a little as your arm socket rotated around your torso, and when the adults reached out for you, you grasped at their hands, and let go of that branch easily, because there it was, a large, warm, loving body close by, and you could grab that, instead.
You climbed up their arm and rode on their shoulders, grasping their hair or ears or the fleshy mound of muscles on their arms, and you knew you were safe.
You didn’t miss that branch. The next time you scampered down the tree you couldn’t pick it out from its fellow branches.
That branch was needed, and then it was not.
It’s easy to let go of that which we no longer need.
So pay attention to what you are grasping for, and maybe grasp it more deliberately.
Bring it close and examine it, and find out what it does for you. How does it make you safe? What is it giving you? How is it home? What do you get from it that you need?
And once you know this, let your body turn and pivot and look for another, safer place. And don’t let go of what you have until you find it.
When we are angry after someone dies, people tell us to “move on” and “let it go,” but it’s unwise to do this until we know the reasons for our anger. When we realize that we are mad at ourselves for working too hard while they were alive, or for taking their bullshit when we should have walked away, or for neglecting to have the hard conversation we both needed, we have found our little branch. Only then may we find another branch to swing to, where maybe we can “move on” and “let go” and “forgive.”
The same is true for any other issue you may THINK you need to let go about. Hold it close, and see what it does for you. Once you have that feeling of safety, of knowledge and understanding, you will be able to move on to whatever else is there for you. And you may never “let go” of some things completely.
And that’s OK.
Some things (like sugar, fat, and protein, and oxygen and nitrogen) are branches we will always need.
This is about being human, not about being perfect. Letting go of everything does NOT make you perfect.
In the human body, we need at least a slim, bendy branch in one hand, and a beautiful piece of ripe fruit in the other.
Eat, grasp. That’s the way we’re made. Don’t argue with yourself. Just pay more attention, and your instincts will give you the next safe place, the next safe food.
I am always here to serve in any way I can.
Much Love to You,
PS: Thank you for sharing this with anyone who could use it!
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