Category Archives: Let go Let God

Bottoming out and bottoming up

What if “bottoming out” actually required bottoming out?

We’ve all been there, or know someone who has. Hit rock bottom. Bottomed out. It’s a common metaphor used especially often in the world of addiction and recovery. It describes the point at which everything had no choice but to change. Some refer to it as the moment of surrender, or letting go to let God. I think of it as the moment of possibility.

Here’s the thing though… all too often, I see or hear stories of people who have bottomed out without actually doing so, which requires them to do it again (and again, and again). I’m going to paint you a picture.

photo 1Imagine we all live in barrels (bear with me), and at the bottom of those barrels lay all the sediment and debris from our lives. It’s the land of negative thoughts, pain, suffering, and fear. So, as we get close to that bottom of sludge and mud, we would naturally want to move as far away from it as possible. Hence, often times we hear of people hitting bottom and making changes.

However, “hitting bottom” can be just our big toe touching the sludge, causing us to instantly leap toward the top of the barrel in our best effort to avoid the boggy madness. Or, sometimes we can go in up to our knees before we jump to make a change. And sometimes, sadly, people drown in the muck from sitting there and staying in it without movement.

But, what if there were another way? What if I were to tell you that all that you know about positivity and hope is not only “above” you in the barrel, but the source of light is also below you – through the muck? What becomes possible then?

Here’s how I see it.

photo 2At the bottom of every barrel there is a hole. That hole may be tiny, no bigger than a pin, or it may be large, but it’s there. On top of the hole is a covering, not a plug. It just sits there. Occasionally it allows the muck to seep out, but mostly it just holds it all in place.

Now, what if swimming down through the muck and getting to the covering to move it out of the way actually allowed your barrel to empty the sludge? What if the way “out” of the bottom is actually through it?

Too often, I think we bottom up when we are bottoming out, which often leads to hitting bottom again (or grazing bottom, actually). I think, though, we’d have a lot more success in wellness if we chose instead to plunge deeper into the mess at the bottom to release it from our containers. Of course, that would require some work and support, but it would be well worth it if we could drain the barrel and exit out the bottom. That would truly be bottoming out.

From there, who knows where we could go? Anything would be possible. Which means, at the bottom of every barrel lies possibility.

Water is Life and other wisdom

Let Go… Live in the Now… Be the Change…

Those are beautiful and wise sentiments, aren’t they? I agree. There are so many truths in the wisdom and teaching that has been shared. All of these and many more are great suggestions for living a more peaceful balanced life. But… (you knew there would be a “but” from me, didn’t you?)… they can also be very shame-inducing and part of an endless cycle of fear, failure and lack.

Here’s why: Suggesting to someone how to BE, is virtually the same as telling them what they currently ARE is wrong. (Even without actually saying the words “You’re wrong.”)

“You’re wrong,” is an incredibly powerful statement. It negates and trivializes another person’s existence, experience and truth. Furthermore, these mantra-esque suggestions are statements of hindsight. They don’t express the actual work someone had to go through to arrive at this enlightened state and wisdom. (The Buddha didn’t just “let go” for example, it took a fair amount of searching, process and exploration for him to arrive at “letting go.”) And therein lies the problem I have with these distilled statements of truth.

Stating a simplified truth as fact disavows the process,
and the process is where enlightenment occurs.

So, my goal is to give some meat and substance to commonly-held truths or wisdom. My hope is that it will help you along your journey to know that you’re not alone and perhaps gain some insight into your own process, via someone else’s (aka: mine). Here’s a simple metaphor to get us started and explain my intention:

The example: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

In this instance, the wisdom statement made by a thought leader might be: “Water is Life.” The sages, gurus, and teachers who have arrived at that statement could more accurately say, “Water saved my life,” but it’s less auspicious. Most importantly, though, how they got to this simple truth might sound like this:

“I was thirsty, tired, alone, scared, and I didn’t know what to do. As I sat at the side of the road, several people passed me who told me there was water up ahead. A few strangers gave me sips from their own supply. Sips! Sips do nothing when you’re dehydrated! What were they thinking? Why couldn’t they just give me their water?! But finally, I saw a footpath, and I started walking. At first I stumbled. A lot. Then it became easier. Then the path stopped and I had to find another one. And another one. All the while, I was still thirsty, but there was some shade along the way, and I took refuge in it, pausing here and there. That was nice. Finally, at a bend in the path, I saw a well. At the well, I sat down. How was I going to get the water? Maybe someone else would come along who had a bucket. So I sat, and sat, and waited. Waited for someone else to come help me relieve my thirst. Nobody came. Heck, I didn’t even know if the well had any water in it. So, I walked on. Still thirsty, I thought of turning back. Many times. Actually, sometimes I did. But I remembered what one stranger said – there’s water up ahead. Maybe he wasn’t referring to the well. So, I kept going. It wasn’t easy. In fact, a lot of the time it hurt and I was in pain. But I kept going. Hoping the stranger was right. Then it happened. I heard it before I saw it – the gentle babble of a clear stream. Water! Open water! Flowing water! My heart sang! I found water. I found water!!! An endless supply of water. I walked over to it, cupped my hands, and took my first sip… I would be thirsty no more. Ahh, life.”

Much (much) later, that entire story would have been boiled down to “Water is Life,” a simple, easy truth. However, in that simple, easy truth we’ve lost the humanity in the wisdom. The story TAUGHT the truth to the teacher. And, in my opinion, the story is much more powerful, accessible and pure.

Sadly, a simple phrase, such as “Water is Life” can be shaming for some, and simply inaccessible for others, no matter how true it is. Which is why I hope to breakdown some of these sayings into bite-size stories that help them come alive.

As such, you’re welcome to send me your suggestions or questions for addressing other “truths” you’ve heard along the way and might be struggling with, and I will do my best to shed some light on them. And may I suggest the next time someone tells you to “let go” because it’s the path to happiness and freedom – perhaps you could ask them exactly how they’ve managed to do it, because the wisdom behind the truth lies in the story.


Letting Go

Two nights ago I was channel surfing and I stumbled upon something I’ve never watched before. It was Joel Osteen’s program. At first I was going to keep switching, but something he said caught my attention. His sermon was on moving mountains, but the point at which I joined him he had just said something that stuck with me. So I listened. It wasn’t necessarily new to me. In fact, it’s similar to other ‘teachers’ I’ve read, and things I’ve taught clients of my own. But it was new words, and I liked them.

He said: “Let there be light,” as he was quoting from the Bible. But what he said afterward is what made all the difference. He went on to explain that the use of the word “let” implied that there was an opposing force already in existence. As an example, he said, “let go of my hand” implies that your hand is currently being held or restrained. Therefore, “let there be light,” means that there was darkness, through which light was needed. And instead of asking for light, God directed it to appear. As Joel said, he ‘commanded’ it. So, here’s the deal:

What if we used the word ‘Let’ more often in our lives – but with conscious thought? There’s a great Christmas song called “Let there be peace on earth.” A great idea indeed! But what if we invoked the power of that word for smaller, everyday things? Wouldn’t that, couldn’t that, collectively create peace on earth? Here are some of my suggestions, what would yours be?

Let me speak with love and grace today to everyone I meet.
Let compassion be my guiding star.
Let me choose healthy foods, just for today.
Let others share their light with the world.
Let acceptance be the driving force in interactions.
Let me share my experience and strength with others.
Let me be open to receiving the wisdom of others.
Let gratitude fill my every thought.
Let there be joy in my heart and a smile on my face.
Let me be myself, who I am, now and always.
And finally. . .
Let God.

The last one is quite possibly the most simple and the most powerful. There’s a saying many of you might be familiar with: “Let go and Let God.” Sometimes, it truly is that simple. We can pray for what we want or need, but without handing it over to God (the Universe, Divine Grace, etc.) we are not allowing our needs to be met. As with everything, it is a two-step process: 1) focusing thought, and 2) letting go. So, with my list above, I focused my thought and energy on things I think would make me, my community, my country and the earth a happier more peaceful place. But in the end, I’ve only taken the first step. The second step is to actually let those thoughts go. If you think of it this way: as long as you are holding on to the thought of what you want, you are not allowing the space for it to become reality. Do you see how that works?

If your hands and heart are full of the “idea” of something, there is no room for that something to become physically real.

Why? Because it’s trapped in the energy of being a thought, nothing more. It’s when we let go of the thought, that it finally has the opportunity to become reality. And God (the Universe, Divine Grace, etc.) has the opportunity to do their part by making it real, or better.

So, “let” is a powerful word indeed. But its true power is unleashed when we use it as it was intended: by invoking its power, and then allowing it the freedom and space to realize its potential. What would you ask for today? And are you willing to then let it go?

In Love and Light,