“Just let it go?” “Don’t be afraid?” Or the dentist, with drill in hand says “Relax.”

The obvious question is: How do I do it?

You want to let go of fear, depression, weak thoughts or stressful situations … yet, it seems like you can’t. You remain lost in the swirl of feelings, the bad times keep coming, and you cannot find a way to well being.

Why we resist letting go

A less obvious question is: why are we so hesitant to let go. The very idea of letting go may bring feelings of dread or even touch off a cycle of full-blown fear.

Sometimes we think that by letting go, we will enter The Void. It’s not simply fear that we won’t get what we want, but a sense that we will lose something essential, although we are not even sure what. Letting go seems like an acceptance of what we simply don’t want to accept. It feels like a loss of control, being cut off from a story we have always accepted and held dear. Letting go may conjure fear of letting ourself or others “off the hook,” yet it actually it leads to accepting responsibility for the choices we make and the ability to create a life more to our liking.

What happens when you “hold-on”

Jim was repeatedly abused as a child. Through years of therapy he had made a great deal of progress. He learned to handle his anger and depression, and has been a good parent. However, he still suffered the affects of his early abuse — sexual difficulties, chronic physical complaints, anger and heartbreak that he thought would never heal. In fact, Jim believed that if he let go of his anger — and the after-affects of his abuse — he was letting his abuser off the hook. After all: if his life was good, and he was healthy and successful, it might mean that his abuser hadn’t done such a horrific thing, after all.

Liza had suffered through several miscarriages, then lost her uterus and her baby in childbirth. Struggling with her grief, it felt impossible that she would ever feel good, feminine, whole, or truly happy again. She was angry at her husband, her doctors, the world, and herself. She believed that her unhappiness was an inevitable and would always be with her. Liza also harbored the sense that if she moved on — perhaps creating a family through adoption — not only would it minimize the importance of her pain, but, she would not be honoring her baby who lived so briefly.

In the stories above, both Liza and Jim were afraid that letting go would result in loss of control, and they would not be able to find a better feeling place than what they were use to. As many of us do, they feared letting go. They actually identified with that part of themselves that holds on, and they worried that a loss of that identity would open the flood-gates to even greater misery.

Actually the opposite happens. “Holding on” stops the flow of the life-sustaining, life-enriching energy that support all Life. “Holding on” blocks the fullness of who we are and diverts the natural unfolding of our life. “Letting go” allows the flow of energy to resume, opens doors to our full potential, strengthens our sense of self and our connection with Source.

Releasing your grip on anger … letting go of feuds and conflicts, may feel like you’re letting others off the hook. But, what’s really happening in the vast majority of situations, is that you’re letting yourself off the hook — a hook that snagged your feelings, your life, your energy and pain — a hook that is holding all those things in place so that they keep replaying themselves, in your here and now, over and over again.

Despite our attachment to the familiar, you can’t fully enjoy the positive things that you have in your life, or create new positive things in your life, by holding onto feelings, stories and situations that are made largely of negative vibrations. You won’t create a life of abundant joy by living in a vibration of struggle and stress. “You can only get to joy, through joy” a spiritual teacher once said.

Don’t confuse letting go with giving up. Rather, letting go is moving forward. It opens a door that lets in what you want in your life. “Holding on” may feel stronger, safer, and more predictable, but, it actually keeps us locked into our problems and our past.

When we let go, when we allow the present moment to unfold with a fresh mind and open heart, we come into our true nature as spiritual beings — we get lighter, we feel more expansive, and we create a personal reality around us that feels like home.

How to get where you want to go

First, it’s important to become conscious of your limiting thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Notice how they affect your energy and feelings of well-being. Become aware of how it feels when you hold on to negative feelings, stories or situations — is there tightness in your body? Your chest may feel constricted, your neck or throat tense, your energy is generally low.

Now, just for a moment, let go and see what it feels like. Simply focus on something positive that you like, rather than trying to let go. You can do this by shifting your attention to something specific that you truly enjoy, and breathe deeply. Think about something real that makes you feel good … like walking on the beach, your favorite music, or puppies. You can also think about a circle and notice how your body relaxes. See the difference in how you feel? Doesn’t that feel better?

OK … you’re now at a higher vibrating, better feeling place, than where you were just a few minutes go.

Now, try moving into an even higher level vibration. Don’t retreat into old familiar feelings as your consciousness and vibrations will follow you to that lower level. Don’t go backwards by focusing on fear, anger, and old familiar stories — you’ve done that a million times before and it’s not worth repeating.

Continue to move up on the vibrational scale, on the feelings scale, by intentionally dreaming. For a moment, bring to the front of your mind, into full consciousness, one of your dreams or highest hopes. It doesn’t matter if it’s crazy … we just need a dream that makes you feel terrific, that puts a smile on your face … a dream that makes your spirit soar!

Enjoy that dream for a few minutes. Feel the feelings resonating in you as you engage with it. Enjoy it to the roots of your being!

How do you feel NOW? Compare this current state of being to how you were resonating just a few minutes ago. Believe it or not, the way you are feeling now (on this higher vibrating level), is actually more like who you really are. This is the space of your true identity. This higher vibrating, good feeling space is like “coming home” … is it not? You have.

Be open to all that is possible. Don’t pretend or mask your feelings but decide what you want in your life and become a vibrational match to attract it. If you want love and joy, put your attention on thoughts and experiences that support it.

How our stories unfolded …

Jim discovered that he could fully heal, without condoning what had been done to him. He recognized that when he was overly focused on his anger and pain, more anger and pain followed. Jim learned to shift his emotional state. When he felt pain, he acknowledged it but he decided not to wallow in it. He re-directed his attention into thoughts, feelings, situations and dreams that made him feel better. He learned that if he thought about a vertical line running down his body, from his neck to his trunk, he instantly felt grounded. He could then direct his attention to things that brought him pleasure. Initially skeptical, as he practiced he felt lighter … and that was a good thing, as he recognized the “incredible lightness of being” to be his spiritual Self. Jim became healthier, experienced greater control over his life, and more joy than he had ever felt before!

Liza learned that replaying her losses over and over in her mind, that she was re-experiencing her trauma and bringing even greater sorrow into her life. When her pain was almost unbearable, Liza participated in some integrated energetic training. As she was helped to shift her vibrational patterns, she became open to the possibility of allowing joy back into her life — and, she remembered that joy was the reason she wanted a child in the first place. She realized that living in a joyful, loving manner was a better tribute to the child that she lost, than holding on to feelings of grief. Rather than running from the fear of further disappointment, she learned to strengthen her energy field. One creative way she did this is by using deep breathing, while imaging a field of brilliant colored circles. Liza has now decided to build her family through adoption, and is focusing her attention on feeling the pleasure she’ll have with a new baby. Using her energy and attention in this way, she’s found a source of joy in herself and has become a powerful magnet for the life she wants to have.

The key to letting go is not to worry about the process, or the past. Be open to change so that better feelings, energies and Life itself is allowed to flow. Place your attention on what you want, and watch the universe respond to your new, positive focus.