There comes a time in every one of our lives where we have to let go and move on – moving on from a relationship, moving on from a job, moving on to a new destination.
Sometimes moving on is easy and things just fall into place effortlessly, but other times, it can be outright painful.
Very recently, I would say a year back I went through an experience that traumatized me to no ends. It involved getting into the unknown, it involved letting go of my comfort zone in which I had become a bit too comfortable in. It involved doing something with mixed feelings – a part of me wanted to take the risk and do it and a part of me did not. I won’t go too much into this event but what I am going to reveal are some pointers and understandings that helped me get through this phase and to a large extend are still helping me.
The Pain of Moving On
Why is ‘moving on’ so difficult? The answer – it involves change.
‘Moving on’ requires you to leave the known and enter the unknown. The mind wants to hold on to familiar patterns cause there is a sense of protection in familiarity. On the other hand, getting into the unknown feels unsafe.
Moving on also feels like you are leaving a part of you behind. And scientifically speaking, that is actually true to some extend. When we move on into the unknown, our brain has to discard old neural pathways and build new ones. So in a way, you do lose a little part of your identity when you let go of the old.
Pointers to Help Ease the Pain
Here are some simple pointers that have helped me and can help you give up resistance and overcome the pain of moving on.
1.) Every experience in life is temporary
Life is a flux, and its very nature is to change.
Life is a beautiful collection of temporary experiences – Matthew Kahn
The day becomes the night and the night rebirths itself into a new day. And no matter how much you resist, the cycle continues. Resistance only makes you feel drained, it is much easier to surrender and merge into the flow of life.
Takeaway: Your current phase of life is just as temporary as the previous phase was. The mind may make you believe that this phase is going to last forever, but nothing lasts forever. The good and the bad both pass away and the relentless cycle of life continues. The only thing that remains steady is what’s on the inside. Become one with this inside and you will not be swayed by the what happens on the outside.
2.) Every experience teaches us valuable lessons
Have you ever wanted to turn back time? Go back and do things differently?
If you could go back in time with the knowledge you have right now, you can set everything right. But the fact remains that you cannot go back in time. The good news though is that you can use the same bit of knowledge to work towards your future.
Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer – Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Every experience teaches you valuable life lessons. It helps you understand yourself better. The more you understand yourself the more you grow from within transforming into the person you were meant to be.
Be thankful for everything that happens in your life; it’s all an experience – Roy T. Bennett
Takeaway: Find out how the previous experience helped you grow. What are the positives that you can take away from that experience? What did the experience teach you about yourself? Thank life for that experience and how it helped you grow.
3.) Where you focus matters
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new – Socrates
Your attention has a lot of power.
This is why, you must always be aware of where your attention is focused on the most. If you focus your attention on worrying, you will feel drained and confused. Instead, if you focus your attention on finding the solution, you will be able to tackle the current situation and come out of it sooner than later.
Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous in the end – Robin Sharma
Takeaway: Your attention has a lot of power. Focus all your attention on finding solutions and achieving inner growth and wisdom in the process.
4.) You have the power to learn
You cannot stop the waves but you can learn to swim.
A new situation requires new learning.
You feel like you lack the skills to face this new situation. But what you forget is that you have the ability to learn. Re-focusing your attention on acquiring the new skills can help you adapt quicker to the change and before you know it, you will be able to glide along smoothly.
The quicker you learn, the faster you will be able to tackle the problems that the current situation brought forth and come out a winner.
And the best way to get your mindset into the learning mode is to first fully accept the fact that the past is gone and is not going to return. Once you have accepted this reality, you can now focus all your attention in adapting to the new situation at hand.
The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward. —Steve Maraboli
Takeaway: Pick yourself up and work towards the new skills required to tackle the new situation at hand. With time you will adapt to this new situation and it will no longer feel as painful as it feels right now. And without a doubt, there will be a hidden gem that will reveal itself sooner or later.
5.) There is a space in you that is always ‘still’
The external reality keeps changing, but what remains steady throughout is your inner self.
Your inner self is like a movie screen. There are many events projected onto the movie screen but the movie screen remains the same. It does not get even slightly altered by what is playing on it. It always remains still.
Once you get in touch with this inner self, the external will slowly start losing its tight grip on you. You will no longer be swayed by it and will remain still and steady. Neither will you get uncontrollably excited in joy or majorly depressed in sadness.
The only way to get in touch with your inner self is to practice stillness. Be a witness to your mind rather than being lost in the mind. Here are a few processes that can help you:
Practice Meditation: Mediation is a powerful practice that can help clear your mind of toxic thoughts. It helps the mind calm down and relax. And a calm mind can help you make better decisions.
If you have time to breathe you have time to meditate. You breathe when you walk. You breathe when you stand. You breathe when you lie down. – Ajahn Amaro
There are various forms of meditation but the one that is most beneficial is the one that involves concentration as it helps you gain control over your attention.
Here’s how I like to meditate:
Simply sit in a comfortable place and divert your focus to your breath. Feel the cool air hitting the tip of your nostrils as your breath in and the hot air going out as you breath out. As you focus your attention this way, thoughts will try to pull you in, but be aware of the thoughts and bring your attention back to your breath every time you catch yourself pulled in by the thoughts.
Practice Present moment awareness: Bring your awareness out of your thoughts to the present moment. Consciously see, feel and listen to your environment. Also become aware of your body and its current state.
Feel your emotions: Whenever you are in the unknown the predominant emotion in your body is fear. The best way to handle fear is to become free from its constant pull.
Instead of giving into the fearful thoughts, become aware of the energy behind these fearful thoughts. Fully feel this energy. See where in your body this energy resides. See how it feels when you consciously feel it. Watch the energy dissipate and slowly lose its pull on you as you feel it fully without running away from it.
6.) No decision is a wrong decision
Whenever you are in the unknown, there is a question the lurks in the back of your mind – ‘Did I make the right decision?’.
But here is the hard truth – no decision is entirely right and no decision is entirely wrong. This is because there are pros and cons in every situation. In some situations, the cons are more evident than the pros at an initial stage, but that does not mean that you won’t realize the pros at a later time.
And here’s something else. No matter what decision you would have taken, you would have still ended up attracting a similar experience. So the situations might be different but the experience would have been similar.
Takeaway: Don’t waste your energy regretting the decision you made. Instead, divert your energy to uplift yourself so you can tackle the situation at hand and get yourself to a better life experience.
You attracted this situation based on your current vibration and you can take yourself out of this situation by learning what the situation is trying to teach you about yourself and then taking measures to make those changes in your life.
7.) You cannot control everything
You think that you are in total control of your reality, but that is not true. Even though you do control certain aspects of your life, you don’t control it all. This is because, you work within a larger context. There is a higher intelligence and everything is being orchestrated as per this intelligence.
Here’s an analogy: Imagine driving a car. Even though you are in control of the car you are driving, you are not in control of the state of the roads. You are also not in control of the environment – it could rain, there could even be hailstorms. No matter how carefully you drive, you might at some point end up in a bad patch of road (or a bad weather condition) and during this time, you will have to trust that the bad roads will end and smoother roads will re-appear. And in the end, it’s the bad roads that will make a better driver out of you.
Takeaway: Don’t beat yourself up over what has happened. It’s not your fault. Instead, believe that the situation is trying to teach you something and is helping you become the person you were meant to be and thereby help you get what you really want from life.
8.) Sometimes You Need to Surrender to Life
Surrender to what is, let go for what was, have faith in what will be – Sonia Ricotti
When you are in the dark, the best thing you can do is surrender and allow life to lead you towards the light. The very energy of life is pure positive and hence you can trust that life will lead you towards the light.
The state of surrender is not a passive state as the term might make you believe. It is a state where you flow with life while recognizing and taking paths that appear along the way.
Here’s an analogy: Instead of going against the stream, you go with the flow, but still use your paddle to maneuver the boat where-ever you see the light. So instead of wasting your energy going upstream, you use the same energy to maneuver the boat in the right direction using the flow of the stream to your advantage.
Change is the essence of life, be willing to surrender what you are, for what you could become – Reinhold Niebuhr
Takeaway: Whenever you feel directionless, let go and surrender and let life guide you. Develop a complete trust in life and believe that life will show you through.