May 19

A lesson in letting go

"I breath in, I let go."

A Reiki Master taught me this easy mediation technique: on an inhalation, think "I breath in". On an exhalation, think "I let go". That's it. So easy to do but so profound.

Every exhalation becomes an opportunity to let go of worries, expectations, fears, pressure, or negative thoughts. While you're focusing on your breath, however, you don't dwell on those things - you just let go. The aim is not to think of what you are letting go of, just that you are letting go.

I saw a perfect example of the concept of "letting go" in a family of swans this morning. Yes, swans. Swans don't meditate or do breathwork, so how did they let go? And what you may ask, is there for a swan to let go of?

These swans let go of their nest, their source of comfort and safety. I know this because early in April, I took a photo of the swans building their nest on a little island in the middle of a pond in my local park. The female was seated on the nest while the male brought her sticks and twigs. It was quite touching to see these big white elegant birds building their nest. This morning I walked past the pond and saw a family of moorhens had taken over the nest. A chick and one of the adults were comfortably seated on the swan's nest. How dare they, I thought.

But then I saw the family of swans and I understood. They no longer needed the nest. It had served its purpose. So even though the parents had painstakingly built the nest over many weeks, and it was the place where they had raised their young, they let it go. Now it serves a new purpose for another family.

As humans, we hang on to so many things unnecessarily: old beliefs, bad memories, hurtful words of others, bad habits. Also, the time and effort we had invested into something. But these things, if they no longer serve us, can be let go of. It's not always easy, though. But the more we get comfortable with it, the easier it becomes. That's where a daily meditation-like with a mantra like "I breath in, I let go" can support us in that journey.

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Marc Bowden
May 22, 2021

Hi! Your article is interesting. Several years ago I also discovered this technique for myself, but over time I noticed that it is no longer as effective for me as it used to be. What do you think is the problem? Do you know any other helpful techniques?

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