How to Let Go of the Outcome
As a part of our uneasiness towards change, we tend to resist anything that feels uncomfortable, scary, different and new. We tend to play small even, to resist being seen and evaluated. To resist the unknown.
Surrendering means not giving a crap about the outcome, about the change, the uncertain parts of tomorrow. It is the bold release of control. The bold and brave release of the comfort zone. Comfort is overrated and will trap us in mediocracy.
We so want to control everything. I wanted to control not only my life but those around me, meaning how they acted, what they did, when and how. Not that I would ever commit to that, but I did. Chasing outcomes, pleasing at every corner, hanging on to everything that would keep me from surrendering. I even wanted to get healthy MY way. When I it pleased me, how it manifested, all of it. Preferably tomorrow. I wanted my diseases to vanish NOW, and I hung on to that energy for years. Struggling.
Going from surviving to thriving, from Hell to inspired, taught me this more than anything: The art of surrendering.
To a control freak, a pleaser, the achiever that seeks acknowledgement and validation from an outside source, surrendering is the Devil. The worst-case scenario at best, and the whole concept feels weak and wimpy. Surrendering, like I would ever. I would rather fight until forever than give up and surrender. Until I realized what surrendering is. The profound energy of going with the divine flow, trusting the grand empowered being that I am. That we all are.
Surrendering means to stop fighting and resisting life and its natural rhythm. Paddling upstream is so hard, exhausting and draining. It kills our creativity and enthusiasm, passion and purpose. I was so absorbed in my healing and how it was going to unfold, I missed my own boat so to speak. For several years. Hanging on to my ideas and my knowledge, banging on those closed doors. It took my entire life force just to stay afloat.
Life becomes nothing but a struggle, and every little rock looks like a mountain. Everything becomes a chore, something to overcome and get right. A journey that is created from fear and resistance, is a hard one. I know. You can never rest, constantly having to be focused on keeping yourself afloat, alive.
Until you stop — not give up, just stop.
Surrendering is about letting go of the paddling, letting yourself be carried downstream. Not in weakness or disempowerment, but in trust and confidence. The moment you let those oars go, your life automatically shifts. You still have to steer but you can now enjoy the scenery. You are able to look ahead, and to rest when you need to. You have extra energy and life looks brighter. When you are heading downstream you are always on the right path. You can trust life.
Surrendering is a conscious choice, a strength.
The key is to accept what is, to recognize that which is here in this moment. Having faith is a large part of letting go of control, and surrender. For me, surrendering was the ultimate game-changer. I realized I would rather die than live the life I was living. I surrendered to everything. I accepted that I was crazy sick and allowed nature and spirit to guide me back to my innate wisdom and heal. Resisting what is will only create more pain. Allowing truth to come forth will lead you on a path of growth and health, even when you might not see it.
What if everything got screwd up, and nothing went according to our plan and desires? The thing is, it might unfold in such a grand way, we cannot see this possibility even. It is out of our perception. All we can see is that which resembles something we have created in our mind from an experience, something we have read, seen or heard of. That is it. Our imagination comes from experience. So you see, by trying to direct the outcome, we are limiting ourselves, and resisting grandness.
Letting go of any outcome through complete surrendering is a process that has many layers. By constantly doing better, you will keep recognizing new levels of fear based controlling behavior within yourself.
I believe that as we peel these layers, we have to face what we fear the most, – the fear of dying. I believe that our fear of death, is holding us back from completely surrendering to life.
For me, everything shifted the day I surrendered to life and death. I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was so tired of struggling, trying to get well I was so drained by trying to figure everything out, to want my health so badly, I was exhausted. I had invested my whole existence on the outcome, and I was holding on to it for my dear life. I had to get healthy, I just had to. What would happen if didn`t? I would most likely die. As much as I loved life, I surrendered and said; You know what? That is fine, death it ok. I am going to do my very best, every single day. I am going to love the life that I have been given. I am going to keep my focus on healing, without it having to happen in a certain way, at a certain time, or as I see it, not at all.
By stating; Show me the way, I was letting go of control. I could relax and know that it would all evolve perfectly, and boy did it ever!
We have been conditioned to be seekers. Always looking for the good life. As if there is a destination and a pot of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow, we continue to search for this so called good life. Happiness has become something the modern world residents have as an ultimate life-goal. Everything we do and want is connected to this outer search. Happiness shall come through something we find, become or accomplish. From the lack of trust in ourselves and life, we have become restless seekers of everything we believe we lack or miss within ourselves.
The thing is, we lack nothing. We are not missing a link, or a single cell. We are whole, as humans, here to explore and to enjoy the ride. Nothing messes up a fun and educational ride, like trying to hang on to the past or present situation. When we spend our time clinging to an outcome, trying to control it, we miss the ride itself. Nothing stays the same, but for now, the sun raises every morning. Have faith in that, yourself and the fact that no matter what happens, you did your very best.
“To the work you own the right, but not to the results thereof.” – First Tenant of Karma Yoga
How to surrender to your life:
By practicing different meditations and stillness techniques, journaling and mindfulness, you can work on your ability to walk lighter and more fluent through life. The less you hold on to, the lighter your steps will be. The less you are occupied with an outcome, the more capable you will be to expand your perspective. We have been deceived by our life long conditioning. We have been falsely led to believe that the more we think the smarter we get. Our brain has been highly overrated, and we are doing ourselves a great disservice by believing we can think our way through life.
Meditate: Sit or lay in a comfortable position and focus on your breath. Simply breathe and let your mind wander. It doesn`t matter of you are an experienced meditator, or a freshman, all you have to do is to be still. When you work on surrendering, work on being nothing. You, breath, and that`s it. When the mind comes in, let it pass by. Let every thought become insignificant. Pay as little attention to it as you can. Let it drift past you until you find stillness. If you feel you wander into a thought, pull yourself back and connect with your breath. Don`t get attached to anything. Just flow and breathe. This is a great practice to let go of your mind and control freak tendencies.The practice of meditation will teach you how to separate from mind-chatter, find inner peace and reboot yourself for the day ahead. Life is easier and more manageable with a daily meditation practice, even for just a few minute
Compassionate writing and living: Gift yourself a new journal for this purpose only. Set aside ten minutes every day to write and contemplate. Shift your focus from your life, to that of others. Write about what you would like to contribute to this world. What would you want to do to change other peoples lived for the better? Imagine what that would look like. Write about how their suffering would end, and how the world would look if your visions came true. This is a focus exercise to shift from you to that around you. Once we step outside of our own little lives, we detach from our constant self-focus and therefor control. See how you wish everyone to be happy. Not only yourself. By seeing that we are all dependent on each other, we get less attached and more at ease. Walk through your day with a compassionate heart for everyone. Send out live and open your heart.
Observe and expand: By stepping out of the constant thinking mode, we can observe more. By detaching from the drama in our lives and any current situation, we can more easily see a larger picture. Life is so much grander and colorful than what meets the eye. By pulling back from our daily and weekly situation, the details become less obvious. Notice how your focus on the little things become less important as you expand your vision. Desires and aversions, our typical narrow focus will fade as we expand. Look at every moment as something valuable for all that it is. See how life is larger than yourself. See how you are blessed to be a part of this creation. Spend some time every day to just observe and be grateful. Life is larger than anything you or me can control.
Accept everything: To be able to fully surrender to the outcome, we must first accept what is. By meditating and expanding, you are already practicing acceptant living, but perhaps not in the way that you think. You are accepting that your life is a part of everybody else`s. Your current situation might not be ideal, but it`s yours, and it is where your potentials lie. Love everything about it. Explore the situation and know that it is changing from moment to moment. Not through force, but through growth and awareness. Be at peace with what is. Be at peace with your own situation. Walk forward in faith.
“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” — Proverb
. Detach from outcome and focus on the process. If your mind is obsessing about whether or not this is the person you are going to marry, for example, you are going to miss the enjoyment of courtship and that first kiss… Trust in the greater plan for your life and trust that things unfold over time as they should. Skip the urge to jump to the end of the story and enjoy the present moment.
. Understand that the life you thought you would have may not be the life you will actually have. Many of us have a concept of who we are and how we think our life is going to go. The more we live, the more we learn that things don’t always go as planned. Understand that not only is this okay, it might actually be better. Practice gratitude and trust in the process.
. Don’t hang your hat on expectations because this often leads to disappointment. Expectations have a way of keeping us in relationships or situations far too long, investing more and more in hopes to finally hit Pay Day. Expectations are not guarantees, rather they are markers. When our expectations or needs are not met, we need to take note, respond assertively and appropriately, and be flexible enough to change course if need be.
. Break the barriers you’ve created for yourself that keep you imprisoned. We all have self-limiting beliefs. “I could never do that!” “I could never wear that!” “I could never earn that!” If you believe you won’t, you won’t. Expand your thinking and allow more into your life.
. Relinquish control over others, for it’s a false concept anyways. We only truly have control over our own thoughts, behaviors, choices, actions and decisions. Don’t expend time and energy spinning your wheels on trying to change others.
. Separate yourself from attachment to externals (possessions, beauty, titles, money, status, situation, etc.) Bring your attention to the internal, deeper, psycho-spiritual-relational process within. This will bring you peace, calm and serenity. When we focus on externals, enough is never enough.
. Stop worrying about what other people think and commit to it as a way of life.While hanging onto your morale compass, free yourself from being consumed or controlled by the opinions of others. Choose to care more about how you feel about yourself than whether or not your neighbor approves. We are our happiest when we live our lives in a way that is aligned with our authentic selves.
. Exhale. With an audible sigh, exhale through your mouth, releasing all you no longer want or need (i.e. anxiety, stress, guilt, shame, worry, etc.) Inhale deeply through your nose, drawing in all that you need (i.e. peace, strength, serenity, courage, love, etc.). Repeat this cycle, allowing your exhale to become longer and deeper than your inhale and notice your mind/body/spirit calm and relax.
. Purge unnecessary belongings. Clear your home and office of any items you neither love nor use. Make space in your life for peace and joy.
. Free yourself from toxic relationships. Assess your support network and have the courage to shift boundaries or even terminate relationships that are not good for you. Create space in your life for new and healthy relationships.
. Exercise self-compassion. Did something dumb? Made a mistake? Join the club. We are human. Stop the self-flagellation and cut yourself some slack. Use the experience to learn and then move on.
. Practice acceptance. Stop second-guessing the past. Cease wishing things were now the way they were once. Remove “shoulda, coulda, woulda” from your vocabulary. All things happen for a reason. Bring your attention to the present moment, for that is where life occurs.
. Open your mind. Rigid, black-and-white thinking can keep us stuck. Free yourself by considering what you don’t know and opening yourself up to new and unexpected possibilities.
. Laugh at yourself, laugh at life and learn not to take it all too seriously. This will help you loosen your grip and relax into the ride of your life’s journey.
. Detach from fear. Fear causes us to move through life with clenched jaws, white knuckles, closed minds and guarded hearts. Most fears ultimately stem from the fear of death. The more you make peace with the fact that death is part of life, and choose to celebrate life rather than have fear monopolize it, the more you be able to mindfully unplug from the awesome and often irrational power of fear.
. Release the feelings you store in your body through exercise. For example, run and imagine your feet are pounding out every bit of stress into the pavement. Whack the tennis ball and feel the release of the anger at your boss. Ride your bike and imagine with each rotation of the pedals you are cranking away your fears and limitations. Practice yoga for increase mind/body awareness and to recalibrate your life energy. A good massage and great sex are also positive ways to release energy stored in the body.
. Express yourself. Find your voice and share your stories with people you love and trust; friends, family or a wonderful therapist. Journal or write creatively. Create art. Dance and move. Make music or sing. Cook or bake. Garden. Release and share the unique spirit of light and love inside of you.
. Process your grief. Whether you lost a loved one through death or a break-up, honor your loss. It is the “hanging on” that will continue the suffering. A love that is lost that is meant to be will come back if you let it go. Hanging on prevents you from moving forward.
. Detach from your ego. Your ego is the false construct that you think is who you are — aka your “mind.” Don’t expend energy defending yourself or taking things personally. Connect with your essence—the deeper entity that lies within (aka your authentic self or soul.)
. Forgive. Resentment keeps you tethered to the past and prevents forward movement and growth. If for no other reason than yourself, forgive and let go.
May you let go of all that binds you & free yourself to live with a conscious mind, an open heart & a dancing spirit!