I just remembered an interesting tidbit of information that I learned when I gave myself an electrical shock some years ago. It is a human’s natural instinct for the hand to grab when there is an electric current running through it. That’s why people hold on when being shocked, when it’s really in their best interest to let go. Is this something that’s naturally ‘hardwired’ in us, and does this explain some of the behaviours and patterns that we’d really like to let go of, but find ourselves holding on to?
Aside from the physical wiring, there may be some advantages to both holding on, and letting go.
Holding a thought
What we focus on expands. When we hold an unwavering thought, there’s power in it. But even in this, there may be ways of letting go to accelerate this power While we might hold the thought, “I’m going to meet the love of my life at the party tonight”, or “I’m going to win a million at the lottery”, at the exclusion of all else, we might be selling ourselves short. There might not be the love of your life at the party, but if you keep the thought that you’ll find someone, you might just meet a new friend, business partner, or person who might introduce you to that desired love. If it’s a million you want, there may be other, more proactive options and ideas than just sitting around for the million to drop. Holding on to the end while letting go of the ‘right’ way of getting there often takes us further than we ever expected.
I spoke about hardwiring, but more and more studies mention that while we can’t ‘grow’ more brains, we can create more efficient or extensive networks of synapses or connectors. Using the colloquial expression ‘use it or lose it’, areas that are not pumped up by thoughts, feelings or actions tend to wither. This is good news for both holding on and letting go. Our working through and honest inattention to areas that we’d like to let go of seem to happen (this is not a forced thing, because when we think “I WON’T think about such-and-such” the mind excludes won’t and thinks about it). Meanwhile, our broadened attention to areas we’d like to grow tends to nurture these seeds and vine-like connectors in the mind.
Holding on to pain and suffering
So this is painful, and that person has made us suffer enough. Why is the problem still there? The subconscious mind has its own ‘reasoning’ that may not rationally make sense. Often (but not always) there are inherited patterns or ideas of what our (and others) behaviours and life ‘should’ look like. Most often there was a good reason at the time to establish an interpretation on life, due in part to limited information and inexperience. And then it becomes familiar – and many people find that (probably subconsciously) the familiar feeling is less daunting than a whole new approach or perspective. What if I’m not the same person I and others have gotten used to? What if I fail at being different than I have been for so long? Hamlet spoke in his ‘to be or not to be’ soliloquy about the unknown that it “puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of…” So sometimes with puzzled wills we hold onto, or bear, our situation as it stands.
But what about holding on to joy?
So we’re ‘supposed to’ let go of negative feelings that aren’t supporting us, right? But we can still hold on to good feelings? On the whole, the mind likes to learn through repetition, so a constant or repeated positive thought tends to sink deeply into the mind and becomes default programming. Yet, I was introduced to a thought just a short time ago about letting go of positive feelings as well. The rationale is that as we may sometimes fear letting go of negative feelings that have been companions for us, when we hold on to good feelings it’s as though we’re saying “that’s as good as it gets.” It may, on a subtle level indicate that the happiness or joy or contentment is the maximum we can ever do. Wouldn’t it be neat to think that, while you can appreciate these great feelings, you can be renegade enough to put forward that there could be even more? With an easy-going curiosity about how fantastic you can feel… pushing new limits of positivity.
You’ve got to be in to win
I went to the racetrack last week, something I do about every two years for an afternoon out. Mostly it’s for the people and hospitality. The last time I went I bet on one horse in three different races, and was disappointed to not win a thing. This time I put just a little bit of money on a couple horses in just about all the races. Of course I had my ceiling spend, but I was open to getting into it, and ended up with some wins and some losses, taking me above my initial sum. I only mention this story in that I was willing to let go of something to get something back. And I did. This is often the same in love or relationships, in business and ventures, in sports and hobbies and learning. Our results tend to happen when we let go of the idea that we’ll fail and hold on to the idea that there are odds in everything – and you’ve got to play to have the possibility of winning. Anyone who’s ‘let go’ while dancing or getting involved in a project, or some form of personal expression understands the wonderful rush and reward afforded by that self-inflicted freedom.
I hope you can hold on to the messages of this newsyletter that work for you, and let go of the rest.
Take care and have a wonderful November,