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The Courage to Release What’s Not Working

A close up photo of bittersweet with a snowy forest in the background

“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.”

—Eckhart Tolle

“When you let go you create space for something better.”


In the Northern Hemisphere the winter solstice, known as the longest night of the year, marks the start of winter. Because daylight hours gradually begin growing longer, the winter solstice is celebrated in cultures across the world as a time of the sun’s rebirth. Even while the temperature drops and the sky grows heavy with gray, we know spring is on the way. We know brighter days will come.

The same is true for our lives. When life looks gloomy and events drag us down, it helps to remember that change is in the air (even if we can’t immediately see it). Like the dark nights of winter, we may just need some time for going within, for deep stillness, and for releasing the old to make way for forthcoming growth.

During this time, we can ask: What needs to shift in my life? What do I need to release?

Sometimes, we hold on to things that no longer serve us. Maybe it’s a job, or a relationship, or a family situation that we’ve outgrown. Or maybe it’s a grudge, resentment, or hurt feeling long past its expiration date. Or maybe it’s routines, traditions, or ways of doing something simply because “that’s the way it’s always been done.”

But what if our holding on no longer serves our wellbeing and happiness? What if our refusal to let go is actually holding us back from moving forward in a healthier direction?

While making the necessary shifts in our lives is not always easy, holding on to something that’s no longer working is often more painful.

It takes courage to walk away when we have become accustomed to things being a certain way (even if that certain way is harmful). But walking away also means walking toward something new and opening a space for something better.

Next month, we will explore Part II: Embracing the New.

Meanwhile, know that the sun’s return can serve to remind us of our immense power for self-reflection, regeneration, and rebirth.

Happy Solstice wishes.

Peace & Love,

Diana J. Ensign

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