You’ve heard it before a thousand times or more in every cliche saying in the book… “If you love someone, set them free,” “if you want something, let it go,” “you can’t receive anything with a closed fist,” yadda yadda yadda. There’s a whole lot of advice and wisdom out there about letting go of attachment to the things you want, be it material objects, a relationship, a career objective or whatever it is your heart desires in this moment. But it wasn’t until I started flying that I realized the crucial life or death importance of letting go when things are feeling out of control. I’ll explain more about that later this week when I talk about recovering from engine stalls in a single engine aircraft, but for today, think about what you’re clinging to and then try this out.
- Notice. When you feel yourself stressed, panicked or anxiety ridden in your desire to have someone or something, pay attention and take a second to explore it. You don’t have to dwell on it, but just kind of go, “hmmm, that’s interesting. I’m having a total anxiety attack over this guy not returning my text, this client not answering my email, this job interview tomorrow, etc.”
- Pump the Brakes. I was on a coaching call the other day and the instructor was trying to talk one of the other clients down from a ledge about a failed relationship. You could hear in this woman’s voice the pain and sadness, and total non-acceptance of the relationship ending. The coach asked her what she could be grateful about it ending. You could tell the woman was struggling through some fake canned answers like, “that we can move on. That we can be friends,” you could hear in her voice she didn’t believe what she was saying. I listened as the coach masterfully kept pumping the brakes on this client’s strained reasons for gratitude until she backed her out of the relationship all the way to her health. When she got the woman to finally back so far out of her anxiety that she spoke of being grateful for her great health and her great job, you could hear the belief in her voice switch on. Okay, so she really wasn’t feeling super grateful about the end of the relationship. That’s alright. What the coach was trying to get her to do was back out of that tunnel vision into the parts of her life she was genuinely grateful for, and focus on those areas. It was pretty cool to watch her mind ninja this woman back into a good place in about two minutes.
- Mind Ninja yourself. Try it. You can tell when you’re faking it. You don’t have to ignore the problems in your life, or avoid the things you’re attached to, but try focusing on the things that are really awesome in your life when you get into the stages of being a “Level 5 clinger,” as Vince Vaughn would say.
It was one of the fastest and easiest ways I’ve seen someone get themselves down off the attachement ledge in a genuine way. She wasn’t ignoring her attachments, she just was choosing to focus her attention on the fact that yeah, that sucked – no one likes losing a relationship – but there were lots of other good things going on too.
Give it a shot~ we’ll be exploring more ways of letting go all week and why it’s important.