I hang onto stuff. I cling to things that I think I may need one day. This can be something physical, such as a coat, a dish or a book, or it can be something abstract, such as emotions, thoughts, patterns of behavior or a relationship. I hang onto things because I worry about what will happen if I don’t have them, and because I may need them to fulfill some vague need in the future. I also resist releasing them because my thinking comes from a place of lack rather than abundance. Paradoxically, this reluctance to let things go has kept me trapped in that place of not-enough because I don’t make space for the free flow of energy. I have had moments of purging throughout my life, and I have made it a point to live much more simply, but although I have sort of superficially given this some thought, I’ve never really dug down into the nitty-gritty of it. And then yesterday I had one of those moments, an emotional and spiritual relapse of sorts that forced me to recognize that I am only ever one step away from doing something completely out of alignment with who I am because I am still tethered to the strings of something I haven’t released.

Last year could probably be defined for me as “the year of creating boundaries.” I had to do this because of my habit of hanging onto things that no longer serve my highest good or that of the other person involved. Fear keeps me locked into relationships that I convince myself are beneficial, when really they are a place of stagnation – my ego’s way of keeping me small. That’s not to say there hasn’t been any good in those relationships; rather, it’s an acknowledgment that fear has played its role in me not allowing those relationships to take a different, more healthy course.

For many years, I had a lot of old relationships that I kept alive in my mind and that I was able to revive with the expansion of the internet. This has been both a blessing and a curse. Bringing these connections back to life filled in all of the little holes that I didn’t know existed but that riddled my soul. Just like a cigarette or a drink, making a connection with one of these people could stuff some cotton into a hole so that I wouldn’t have to feel what was really going on.

Over the past several years, I have been trying to let go of old beliefs and patterns, but I realize now that I’ve been doing it from a place of obligation. I recognized that I had to do these things, and so I would, but sort of begrudgingly. I perceived that letting go would be good for me karmically, and I’m tired of spinning the same wheels over and over again. I was also aware that it would be good for me and the other person involved because a lot of these relationships had an element of toxicity in them.  And finally, I knew that it was the right thing to do for any other people in the equation. Knowing all of this was enough to push me in the direction I needed to go, but it wasn’t enough for me to really fully digest it.

Yesterday I was given the opportunity to do just this. I am coming out of a wonderful relationship with someone that I love very, very much. It has been a very mature relationship for me, one in which I experienced exponential growth. In fact, I  was shown a completely new way to love someone, and it was such an amazing experience that even though I miss him and love him so, so much, I was able to let him go (for the most part; there’s still some tugging, but if it’s meant to be, it will come back around). For now, the relationship isn’t going in a mutually beneficial direction, so like big kids we agreed to go our separate ways, and we did it really nicely – no deception, no disrespect, no dishonoring.

It’s been a few weeks now and though I’ve shed a lot of tears, I have felt comfortable. And then yesterday, the Universe wanted to know if I was paying attention, and it threw me a little bone, just to see if I would bite. I did. It looked good, just dangling there in front of me. I convinced myself that it was okay, just this one little bite wouldn’t hurt anyone. But deep down I knew that despite how appetizing it looked, it would leave me feeling hollow if I ate it, and I did anyway. I knew all the way through my core that grabbing for the immediate gratification was not going to be satisfying at all, and yet because I was still hanging onto an old belief system, I snagged it anyway. The result was horrible. I could feel its effects on everyone involved, whether they knew about it or not. One plus one still equals two no matter how hard I try to bend the laws of mathematics.

Thankfully, though, I really have made progress, and so instead of retreating to my rabbit hole, I asked myself how I could learn from my actions so that I would not do it again when the occasion arose. I came to a conclusion, and with a confession and the help of a friend, I worked my way through it. The Universe, because it has a great sense of humor and because it still wanted to see if I was paying attention, threw me another bone just a few hours later. Unbelievable! But you know what? I acted completely in alignment with my ideals, and I walked away from the situation empowered and grateful that I was able to take care of myself and that I was able to show respect for another, even though that other had no idea what was going on.

It only occurred to me today that I was in the process of letting go of relationships and entanglements that had given me a false sense of safety and love, and that in doing so I was cultivating faith. And as I was mulling this over in my head, I internalized the notion that faith takes care of everything. I can get rid of the sweater that I like but that I never wear because it scratches my neck, and in doing so I can make room for a sweater that I like and that doesn’t scratch my neck. In the same way, when I let go of relationships and old emotional patterns that no longer serve me, I make way for the new and improved relationships and emotional patterns that nurture me and my growth.

I was able to see this in my body as well, and in the bodies of everyone as we cling to our rigid belief systems. The energetic manifestation of holding onto something old – this stagnation – creates the energy blockages that foment dis-ease in the system and that later manifest as illness in the body. Letting go allows for flow, and that free flow opens the mind, the body and the spirit to something better. It allows us to rest in faith, the knowingness that everything is taken care of and that this Universe is infinite abundance. It is only me and my restrictive thought processes and outmoded ways of feeling that keep me from experiencing that abundance. Letting go creates space for the miracle to happen, and the journey allows the magic to unfold.