I was asked for advice on “successfully letting go, when you know it’s time to let go.”
The context was athletic identity but this applies to everything.
There are three components of how I deal with my attachments.
Understand that mortality is going to force me to let go of everything.
In the context of physical power, we are forced to deal with this in middle age. You’d have to be a very out-of-shape twenty-something not to notice a shift as you move from 40 to 60.
Every transition in our lives can be used as preparation for the Big One that awaits us all.
Another example, from the preschool years. Parents dealing with grief from the disappearance of their babies. Our kids growing up is an opportunity for continual letting go. I miss our babies (but it’s ok).
My greatest attachment is to my kids. Some day we are going to have to say goodbye to each other. Preparing for that day is part of what remains for me.
Acknowledge that the strength of my attachments is due to chemical signatures deep within me. I can feel them.
The transcendental experiences I had, while racing, live within me. When I speak of racing, my skin electrifies and my muscles warm.
Same deal with thinking deeply about my leaving my kids – though not as pleasurable! I feel them below my heart, just in front of my spine.
If you look deeply into these experiences, these attachments, they can be a source of tremendous energy. There is a lot of power here.
Counter my grasping by meeting my obligations to those closest to me.
Put simply, my antidote to my mind is to be a good guy.
With a deep feeling of goodness, it’s easier to let negative thoughts pass through me and not get caught up in the opinions of others.
I deeply know that my current life is aligned with my core values.
If you’re (secretly) wigging out then it’s information that you’re out of alignment. Start acting better and your mind will follow.
To see the power of these techniques, consider the times of your life when you’ve done the opposite.