9 beautiful releasing rituals that will help you let go

24/01/14

renee-ackerman

 

Goodbye, she whispered softly and gently placed her hand on my shoulder.

Tears were streaming down both of our faces. And over the past few days – her last days in this office – she had run out of tissue paper. Apart from the dread of walking back out into the world with mascara smudged all over my face, I couldn’t care less. I let the tears flow.

After spending hours upon hours in this room, sharing my vulnerability, my chaos and my (hopefully, slightly beautiful) mess, my therapist was leaving her job. And leaving me.

For those of you who are lucky enough to never have needed therapy and/or become attached to your therapist, I can reveal that it feels an awful lot like you are a little baby bird, sent out into the world far before you are ready to fly. Pushed out of the nest and left alone.

For weeks, I had been dreading this day, and here I was, in the middle of it.

Goodbye, I quietly sobbed in return and walked towards the door.

Letting it go

Over the years, I have become a master of letting go.

In the last two years alone, I have ended a long relationship, moved twice, sold an apartment I had designed and decorated from scratch, let go of more than half of my possessions, broken up with friends and said goodbye to wonderful people I am not likely to ever cross paths with again.

Some things have disappeared from my life out of necessity. Some have been dismissed willingly. Some have been given away anxiously.

And all of them have been let go of painfully.

Letting go is challenging, and sometimes you have to do it again and again and again until it sticks. You show it to the door, and somehow it keeps creeping back in. And then you gently guide it back out.

The cue here is gently. It is as true for letting go as it is for any type of change. What you resist persists.

The key to letting go is embracing acceptance. There cannot be release unless you accept.

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And just like acceptance, letting go is a practice. Consciously deciding and repeatedly acting is the way.

Personally, I  practice acceptance and letting go the same way I practice yoga: Several times a week, with intention and purpose. Bravely, humbly and gently. Truly.

These days, I am working on letting go of my story. After years of analyzing and agonizing over the past, I am becoming increasingly ready to let go of what happened to me. At this point in my life, it no longer serves me to identify as the victim. I am so much more than that.

For me, letting my story go means accepting the parts of me that are shaped by my experience. Letting go of my story means being fully present, without burying myself in memories or despair. And most importantly, letting go of my story means learning to see myself as whole and healed, not broken.

In addition to faithfully committing to let go in my mind, repeatedly, every time I fall back into old ways – I am working on opening myself up both energetically and emotionally. The way I let go is active and spiritual, symbolic and visual. It helps me make the intangible clear and definite. And in this, I am connecting with my power.

Releasing Rituals

There are as many ways of letting go as there are people. But one thing is universal, and that is the need to find meaning in the chaos. One way of making the process easier to relate to is to do a releasing ritual. Here I give you my favorite rituals for letting go.

Burn it

Write a letter, a note or take a photograph and burn it to ashes. Light the fire with intention and awareness. Watch the fire as it burns and feel how your body physically lets go of the energy you are releasing in the flames.

Release it with the wind

Sending something to fly with the wind a powerful ritual to let go. I believe this is why so many people wish to have their ashes spread with the wind when they die. A way to release something using this technique could be to intentionally blow on dandelion seeds, drop a feather from a tall place or let sand flow through your fingers on a windy day at the beach.

Make a flower mandala

Buddhist monks use mandalas as a way to practice non-attachment, and it can also be a beautiful way of letting go. This summer, I made a flower mandala with intention and care – and then I destroyed it, mindfully. I recommend that you do the same to visually let something go.

Send it to heaven

There are at least three beautiful ways to release something by sending it to heaven. My favorite has to be lighting a sky lantern and watch it fly away on a dark night. Another favorite of mine is to tie a note to a colorful balloon and let it rise and disappear into the ether. Finally, you can fly a kite and then cut the cord, releasing it into the world.

Do yin yoga

If you crave a more physical form of ritual, I recommend yin yoga. This gentle form of practice is all about finding ease and to relax into the poses. I find this is a great and ritualistic way to learn how to let go, because in my yin practice I am constantly reminded where in my body I am holding on. With every exhale, I try to let go of tension, thoughts, pain, emotions and everything else I am carrying into the yoga room with me. Try yin yoga. By the end of the class, you will feel light, calm and clear.

Let it float away

Another beautiful way to let go is to let your issues flow away with the river. There are several ways to do this, but my favorite is definitely to let either flowers or lanterns get carried away with the stream and out of sight. Knowing that what I have just released will be carried by the water all the way to the sea, gives me comfort. Another, cute way to do this is to write your thoughts on a piece of paper and make paper boats.

Create a ceremony

The sky is the limit when it comes to crafting your own releasing ceremony. Use something that speaks to you and lights up your soul. For me this is sage, amethysts, feathers, essential oils and meditation. For you it might be photographs, flowers, prayers or chanting. Ask your inner spiritual guide to lead the way, and you will not walk alone.

Say a blessing

Before I release a relationship, I find it powerful to say a blessing. One of my favorites – that I have memorized – is this:

May you be filled with loving kindness. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be happy. (Ancient Tibetan Buddhist blessing)

Clear a space in your house

Letting go of something physical can really be helpful in letting go of more intangible things as well. The way I do this is that I clear out a space in my home. It can be a shelf, a window sill, a drawer or an entire room – and I go through all of my belongings to see what I don’t need anymore. When I have found the items, I either recycle, donate to charity or give them away. The open space I have created symbolizes the deeper work of letting go, and at the same time creates room for the new.

Moving on

Before I left the room, I turned around to look at her one last time.

It was a last futile attempt of holding on to something I was forced to let go. For just one more second, I wanted to cling to that sense of security she had provided for me. I knew that I would most likely never see her again, and turning around to see her one last time was a way of trying to imprint the presence of her into my memory.

With a heavy heart, I turned around…

And she had already turned away.

So I did the only thing I could do. I walked out the door and down the hall.

I wiped away my tears.

And I let her go.

 


This post is part of the Let it Go Project: a collection of stories leading up to a beautiful releasing ritual, hosted by Sas Petherick on the 30th of January. All the details for this free event are here. And you can take part! Be inspired by other posts in this project, and share what you are ready to let of of on the Let it Go Project Community Page!

What are you letting go of? Comment below!

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen January 25, 2014 at 4:58 am

Thank you Marthe!
I found you quite by accident..(Pinterest??) But you came at the exact right time! I love your messages of hope and positivity. Anything IS possible. I just wanted you to know, you touch more people than you could ever know. Thank you for doing what you do!

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Hannah Carnett January 25, 2014 at 4:59 pm

I love you.

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Walter January 25, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Always, when something comes to an end if you leave the seed to another, unexpected, rewarding, different start their growth.
I let go of many things in my life. I felt like the person in the story (not if you are) but in each end, “something” unexpectedly felt divinely, not magically introduce me to give a new path towards a new learning .. ..
Embrace LIGHT
Walter …
from Uruguay / South America

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Lala January 25, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Thank you.

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Natalie January 26, 2014 at 3:09 am

Thank you!!! Would you mind if I shared this my group of adolescents? I work at a rehabilitation treatment facility. We are focusing on acceptance and I think this could be so beneficial for them…

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Marthe January 26, 2014 at 9:35 am

Thank YOU. :) Go ahead and share as much as you like! Happy if I can help! :)

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Tamisha January 26, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Hi Marthe – this is SO gorgeous. Thank you for sharing it. My favorite paragraph:

In the last two years alone, I have ended a long relationship, moved twice, sold an apartment I had designed and decorated from scratch, let go of more than half of my possessions, broken up with friends and said goodbye to wonderful people I am not likely to ever cross paths with again.

I can identify with every one of these, also in my last two years – it’s such a gorgeous feeling when you find someone who has experienced what feels like a mirror of emotions and experiences you have also experienced. I honor you for your vulnerability and for this beautiful post.

I also loved that you talked about acceptance as being an integral part of letting go. It is so profound, yet simple. I saw a quote recently that said “healing can truly occur once the person suffering no longer sees value in the pain.” There can’t be release until we accept or healing until we let go of needing the pain.

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Fe Marylin C. Bulaclac January 27, 2014 at 2:46 am

Thank you so much!!! This will surely inspire my friend…your inspiring message came at the right time.
Thank you, thank you and God bless!!!

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Rhonda January 27, 2014 at 6:03 am

I’m not sure how this tailspin started….finances, kids growing up and moving on, all of my securities washing away. I’m a huge emotional wreck! Your help is pulling me through. Along with my love for my God and his grace! I praise him for you! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK!

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Vienda March 22, 2014 at 3:51 am

This is SO gorgeous Marthe, + such perfect timing as I just finished creating my own version: The Gypset Guide To Releasing Rituals ~ A 7 Day Program: https://sellfy.com/p/MkFP/ which I’d love to share more with you about on my site http://www.viendamaria.com! xx

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angie April 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Hi:) I’m currently letting go of my first longterm relationship & first love. The breakup is 2 weeks fresh and it’s very difficult to enjoy anything right now, and to snap out of this and stop dwelling. This was very helpful and I can’t wait to try some of the above. Especially like the ‘ceremony’ suggestion. Thank u!!

Any other suggestions are greatly welcomes :)

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nadine lee July 27, 2014 at 9:29 am

Thank you for this post. It has come at perfect time as I practice a full on new moon releasing ritual tonight!
I am ready to let go of all self judgement & anything that is holding me back from truly expressing myself & unleashing my creative gifts into the world.
Thank you
Nadine Lee (nadinelee.com.au)

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K September 16, 2014 at 4:56 am

I’m letting go of the office I’ve restored painstakingly myself. I’m letting go of a company I spent 7 years building myself with incredible amounts of elbow grease, time, nausea, passion, worry, and stick-with-it-ness. I’m letting go of the community I was raised in. I’m letting go of the burden of being a symbol of progress in this place. I’m letting go of my identity being entirely tied to my work. I’m letting go of doing everything alone. I’m letting go of being lonely. I’m letting go of lack and making due. I’m letting go of hunger and moving toward accepting feast. Much is waiting for me. But first I’m learning to let go.

Thank you so much for this wonderful post.

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Victoria September 17, 2014 at 2:06 am

I love what you are letting go of. . .such courage! I commend you.

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natalie December 27, 2014 at 5:05 pm

wow…beautiful..you sound like a lioness, roaring in the wind!

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Victoria September 17, 2014 at 2:04 am

I am letting go of resentment and the need to prove myself to people whose approval doesn’t actually matter to me. I’m letting go of all the ideas and beliefs that no longer/have never served me.

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natalie December 27, 2014 at 5:03 pm

bonjour and thank you for your sharing and wonderful words..i recently- 2 years ago – at the age of 45 years old -broke- the world I was in and freed my soul . I was in a high paying and unsatisfactory job, a 4 year fantasy romance, unfulfilling friendship and knew that it was time…I cut my job in 2, went back to the gym, sold my jeep, 3/4 of my stuff and then took a deep breath……after all I was financially secure, that was the hardest part, but there has not been one moment where I said to myself-what have you done!- I was ill, so stressed I thought i had cancer….there is a sense of surrealism when you do it the first time, i have always been able to move about, start anew, but this was big! when there is an awareness of death, the reality that some day it WILL happen, you cannot validate living a life of pain in anguish, fear, stress….FREE YOURSELF- give yourself the gift of being happy of being you, because there might never be another tomorrow.

so i came back home, opened my little arts and crafts shop..and i will say to you once i made up my mind and focused on my longtime dream every door opened up to me like magic- i get the shivers when i write this, but it is the truth.

the shop did not go as well as i thought, but has had my creative juices flowing, on to chapter number two….i am able to let go, say aurevoir without the angst and stress i had before knowing that there is more beauty and joy coming my way, because i believe.

good luck on your journeys…believe in you, your dreams, the universe….weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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Megan April 16, 2015 at 2:15 pm

I am trying to let go of a very abusive childhood. All but five years of my life were filled with the abuse and the time has come to accept it and let it go. I found your page and it helped to see the various ways I can let go. Thank you for sharing. It gives me hope.

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Heather June 19, 2015 at 2:01 am

Wow, great read. I had no idea there were so many ways to help let things go. I’ve let go of a job, friends, and possessions but I’m still hanging onto a few memories and wishing I hadn’t let go of some things… I guess I haven’t completely let them go.
You’re right it is hard, and it does take practice. But it always sucks.

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Rachel September 12, 2015 at 2:00 pm

I found this very helpful and it has motivated me to do something I should of done years ago and I will do this tonight. Very motivating thank you x

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Lefentse September 13, 2015 at 4:34 pm

I’m trying to let go of my boyfriend who has just disappeared. I need to let him go from my life. Break up with him without being able to tell him to his face. I have no idea where he is or what happened but he’s been gone for more than a month. We are in a long distance relationship so this is straining as it is. Thank you for your share

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Jaison September 16, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Thank you for this inspiration to make this process work in my own way.

Blessings to you.

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DIANDRA November 5, 2015 at 5:43 pm

This message is exactly what I needed to help me continue on in my journey of release. Right now I have chosen to release all people who are not aligned with me for the highest good. After ending a relationship with a partner I felt no longer served me, I decided after some time to date. Now that I am, I am experiencing even more practice in being very clear with what i do & do NOT want in my life. Its very easy sometimes for us to only focus on asking, praying & meditating on what we desire but I am learning how to clear space in my life by letting go of certain things in order for the NEW to flow in unimpeded.
Thank you for the various ways in which I can bring releasing more comfortably into my life. I have chosen to do a mixture of Burning, Smudging, and Dance to release all thing which do not serve me.

Many Blessings!

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Kiersan November 7, 2015 at 8:33 pm

Hi !
I found this post kinda accidently but I’m very glad.
I was in some kind of “friends with benefits relationship” with a guy. And at some point *drum rolls* I of course, got somehow too involved, too attached. And at the same time, he was constantly lying to me because he had a real, official girlfriend. It’s been like 5 months since I ended things and until then I had not realized that I needed a concrete way to let go of this episode.
I really like the idea of burning a letter. I have to admit the river, letting it float away thing seems beautiful and really full of symbolism. Plus that tibetain quote is so peaceful I’d be willing to contact him again just to say that. Just to make things ok, peaceful.
Anyway, thank you very much

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Lee Robertz February 21, 2016 at 8:20 pm

I am letting go of a pain that I once believed had no end. After finding my 19 year old son after he died from suicide, my mind was covered in the memories of this horrible morning for more than 3 years. I am grateful I am learning that I and only I have the strength within myself to let go of a moment that if I allowed could haunt me until the day I die. Letting go is a natural part of this life we live and yet it can be a difficult journey if we fear it. I am learning that gratitude is a great way to change the world I live in and I am now grateful for the knowledge that I can let go of a moment and still hold the memories of my beautiful son. The last moment of my sons life does not define him, the things he did in life defined his beautiful character. But without releasing the heavy energy around that moment I am trapped in grief. Thank you for sharing in your journey may you find peace in the living moments of your life.

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Liz March 17, 2016 at 8:40 pm

I have decided I am ready to let go of my old thought patters, old patterns of the way I deal with things or not deal with them, and the old story of my past. I have been going through an extremely challenging situation and even though I had faith it had a purpose sometimes I wished it would just go away, but the bigger part of me said I don’t want this to go away, I want to deal with this now so I don’t need to experience it again. I wanted to be shown what I needed to be shown so I could work through it. It recently occurred to me that all of these old issues or current feelings of struggle and discomfort were to help me recognize my old thought processes and so I could watch myself and see how I think etc. I’ve realized I don’t have to continue doing things the way I need to, i just need to recognize when I’m doing it and let it go. It doesn’t just go away though I have to work through it and create a new way of being and doing. Thank you for the ritual ideas, I feel like this will be a helpful way to send the energy out to the Universe that I am open and ready.

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Kae August 19, 2016 at 3:17 pm

A mentor of mine said, “Sometimes things have to die before new can come in” and they were right. Because the negativity of a person, hanging on by a thread, not having closure are all bad things to drag around. Letting go of a long time friendship where there were children involved growing into adult hood was the only thing that kept us connected. The “have to for the kids” justification. It broke my heart but so did they. Many times over, with actions that were not part of my value system of what a friend should be. The kind who are jealous of your new home, leave you stranded on moving day and 2 house closings, belligerent phone calls if you didn’t come to something they wanted you to, undercutting remarks, and so many things that I could go on for days the kind of people looking back are so happy to be rid of….. And they just had to go……I wrote them a letter and told them so. So they don’t feel like they have to include me, because I had been around so long practically knowing their next move, their emotions, their anger, their sadness. It no longer worked for me. So although these things are hard, burn things, have a ritual, get rid of as many things that they gave you or put them away for a very long time because it does not help the pain of letting go. Although I doubted myself, all the way to the mail box I thought “This has to be done…..think about all the tears those people made you cry…..it is over” and that was the strength I needed to finally tell them that they lost me. If you look at it as “them losing you” then it makes things so much better. You didn’t lose a friend if they were never a friend anyway. They lose. And to have gratitude for it all. Because it’s them who made you learn about yourself.

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