Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Tag: Letting Go (Page 1 of 2)

How to Live and Die with Presence, Compassion & Grace

Letting Go w/ Love and Mindfulness | Terminal Illness

One of my readers asked me to write about living with terminal illness.

Since, I haven’t faced the shock of a terminal diagnosis myself, punishing rounds of treatment to forestall an ultimately incurable illness, or the emotional turbulence that insists upon coming along with a final prognosis, I wondered what I could write that wouldn’t seem intellectual, impersonal or trite.

At the same time, I think about impermanence often.  I’ve studied the Buddhist teachings on death and dying.  I’ve had moments I thought might be my last.  And I spent a year wavering around 84 pounds, not sure whether my weight would go up or down.

So perhaps something I share today may provide comfort, bring insight, or help you release attachment to this life, whether you are facing terminal illness or not. Because learning to let go is crucial to finding a deep abiding peace whatever your stage of life.

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How to Let Go of Attachments and Find More Ease

Ocean - Letting Go of Attachments

Human beings face two causes of death: untimely death and death due to exhaustion of their natural life span.  Untimely death can be averted through the methods taught for prolonging life.  However, when the cause of death is the exhaustion of the natural life span, you are like a lamp which has run out of oil.  There is no way of averting death by cheating it; you have to get ready to go. – Padmasambhava

I know!  Death is probably the last thing you want to hear or think about.  But honestly, accepting impermanence and death is the best way to learn to live fully in each precious moment given to us.  That doesn’t mean dying will be easy, but it could be easier.

The ability to meet death with an open heart depends, however, upon letting go of all your attachments.

Yes, every single one!  You have to let go of everything when you die.  Your possessions, your relationships, your work, and your body all get left behind no matter how deeply you cherish them now.

Can you imagine that?

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Plagued by the Past? How to Let Go.

How to Let Go of the Past

The stars surprised me.  At the beginning of the year, they told me I need to focus  on healing, surrender, and closure all the way till August.

“Be sure to include a big dose of rest and maybe even a creative retreat,” they insisted.  “Look back on the last 12-year life cycle and focus on the loose ends, forgiveness, and letting go,” they said.

I’m used to looking back a year at a time, but 12 years!  Sounds like a good precaution to avoid the top of regrets of the dying.  But holy-moly, at first I couldn’t even remember the last 12 years.

“Nothing happened,” I thought.  Funny that mind of ours, isn’t it?

With this starry nudge, I’m getting into the retrospective groove.  Just in case you want to look back too, this is what I’m up to.

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Letting Go for Health and Happiness

Sunrise - Letting Go

Life has proven intense of late with too many healthcare appointments, dreaded dental work, and double house maintenance and repairs.  And that’s just part of the picture.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I have a problem with pushing myself beyond my personal limits.  As you can imagine, I’ve felt overwhelmed more than once in the last few weeks.  Nevertheless, the age-old urge to keep going, no matter what, kept nudging me over my line.

Fortunately, before too long, a strong voice arose:  “I cannot do this anymore.”

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The True Meaning of Non-Attachment and How It Sets You Free

Sadly, non-attachment or detachment as proposed in Buddhism is radically misunderstood by many.  Non-attachment actually brings about the most profound sense of care, compassion, and freedom you could ever imagine.

But, I understand why the word “detachment” might send chills up your spine.  So let’s set the picture straight.

What Does Non-Attachment Really Mean?

Non-attachment doesn’t mean being cold as a stone. Emotions don’t cease to exist as you learn to let go.  You just relate to them differently because you understand their ephemeral nature.  And that, thank goodness, means there’s a lot less to get riled up about.

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3 Secrets for a Happier and Healthier Relationship

Pink Roses

Most relationships are driven by hidden fears and expectations; unconscious habits and deep patterns.  I’m no exception as most of my life I’ve been compelled by these same mysterious processes to act out in my relationships too.

But, now I know this doesn’t have to be.  By intentionally working to understand and transform your deeper, darker habits far more clarity will arise in your relationship as well.

Warning:  this is not pat relationship advice, or a few tips to band-aid your ailing partnership.  I’m asking you to consider what really matters when it comes to keeping your deepest alliance honest and true.  Here are three special insights that keep my heart open through the inevitable ups and downs of any relationship.

1.  Be honest with yourself and each other, but in a very kind way.

Now, this is tricky as we’re all subject to self-deception.  Even the person dedicated to living consciously is not 100% aware; not yet. Thus you have to know and accept this, and have a bit of humor about the fact there’s simultaneously a layer of delusion occurring in your life and your relationship.

This is precisely why, when the stars line up in a particular formation, the person you think you know like a well-worn book, may surprise and pain you by having an affair, taking off on an around-the-world tour to find him or herself, or engaging in some other previously uncharacteristic behavior.

Guess what?  Those seeds were already present. You just didn’t see this coming due to these layers of delusion that are a part of everyone’s unfolding life and relationship.

On the other hand, your relationship might just keep going and going and going, but is it an honest and vigorous one, or more like a stagnant pool of muddy water?

One of the best ways to have an emotionally sound relationship is to keep working on yourself. That means constantly excavating the self-deceptions, and bringing them up to the light.  Being honest with yourself and your partner, while accepting one another, self-delusion and all, will enrich your relationship with deep knowing and integrity.

  • Do you love the person as they are not as you think they should be?

2.  Want the other person’s happiness at least as much as your want your own.

True love is not a passionate wave that washes over you, making you slightly insane for want of the other.  That forceful energy is probably just the karmic link that brings you together at the start.

Then, sooner or later, it’s down to the kitchen sink level, and all the ways we project and reflect our stuck places to each other. Of course, all these triggered moments are interspersed with the semblance of happiness, otherwise we would soon give up on this so called ‘love.’

What then is real love?  It’s wishing your partner to have genuine happiness and wanting them to actualize their full potential in this life – whatever that might bring.

  • Do wish for this person’s happiness, even if it were to mean leaving you?

3.  Be willing to let go.

This is not an easy aspiration to have nor to actualize.  But, if you’re unwilling to let go of the relationship, then it’s attachment not love.  Or the two mixed together in a way that will cause just as much suffering as love.

Whatever comes together will one day fall apart.  It’s a fundamental law of the universe  While it may be death that finally separates the two of you, the odds in these divorce-prone times tell us the disunion will likely occur much sooner than that.

If you are dedicated to the truth, you will offer all the goodness you can to the relationship never knowing or clinging to how long it will last.

  • Are you willing to release this person when the time comes to do so?

I sometimes wonder if the worst times in a relationship aren’t actually some of the best times because they shake the illusory ground we’ve created, reveal our delusions, and wake things up – at least for a little while.  Whereas the good times tend to keep our unconscious agreements – the ones that cause us hell – distressingly in place.

It all comes down to this:  Are you able to hang onto and live the truth, as you currently know it, in your relationship?  Or is it all just an enormous effort to try to keep everything unchanging and smooth?

Of course, there are many practical ways to enrich you relationship from actively expressing appreciation every single day to weekly dates to learning new communication tools.  But, without these three principles as the foundation of your relationship, these efforts could be like band-aids that eventually fall off.

Is it easy to apply these three principles?  Unless you’re enlightened, not in the least!  It’s an aspiration, and a continual practice.  Every time you are triggered, pray, “May I let go.  May I react in a new way with clarity, spaciousness, and goodwill.”

While it’s not necessarily easy, the more self-awareness you bring to your relationship, the more you’ll find healing, mutual support, and breathing room.

How do these three principles resonate for you?  What keeps your deepest alliance honest and true?

I’m so glad you’re here! If you liked this article, please subscribe for free updates by email and connect with me on Facebook.  If you can take a moment to share this post on social media, I would be very grateful.  With love, Sandra

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