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Why letting go is the only way to beat a difficult transit

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A major transit from one of the slow moving outer planets to a planet or point in your natal chart usually translates into big life change, usually over the course of several years. This can leave us feeling confused, frightened and often completely wrung out. Sometimes it’s a real challenge to keep our emotional head above water. While things shift constantly around us there seems to be no foundation, no steady point to which we can anchor. This is when we must learn the sacred art of letting go.

Often, the emotion we feel most strongly is fear, but this primary emotion can become overlaid by a series of secondary emotions including anger and despair. It can be difficult to disentangle the truth of how we feel from the swirling chaos within. But when we emerge from the fog of our confusion we find ourselves confronting a truth that may be hard to accept: if you cannot control it you need to let it go.

You would be forgiven for thinking that letting go is a passive approach but I assure you there is nothing passive about it! Unclenching your fist from the edge of that cliff face may take more effort and force of will than anything you’ve previously achieved in your life, especially if it’s not something you’re accustomed to doing.

Letting go is no mean feat but it’s worth it. Like an acrobat trusting to the strength and timing of their partner we need to be able to have faith that we will be ok, that something greater is at work and that we will eventually emerge victorious.

I’m not a religious person but one of the most beautiful expressions of letting go that I know is found in Reinhold Niebuhr’s serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” These three qualities, serenity, courage and wisdom, are the essence of letting go.

Difficult transits remind us that we are not in control of our lives. We may believe we are, we may construct all kinds of edifices and systems to give ourselves the illusion that we are, but we’re not. At any point life can take a u-turn and everything we’re attached to will come tumbling down. Accepting that this is the nature of reality, that everything is impermanent, is at the core of letting go.

Buddhist teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh sums this up perfectly when he writes: “Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”

And the funny thing is, when we stop trying to force life into our preconceived idea of what is right or good we allow it to take us to entirely new and wonderful places. Life can open up for us in ways that we never expected. This is the reward of letting go.

The power of letting go…

If you’re like me you’ve experienced the wonderful freedom of letting go more than once in your life. When you felt you were about to break from the effort of holding on so fiercely you decided your only option was to surrender. What happened when you let go? Please share your experiences so we can all learn from each other…

11 Comments on Why letting go is the only way to beat a difficult transit

  1. Once I forgave my alcoholic dad. It was a tremendous feeling! I suddenly realized that I wanted to see him again (he and I had been separate for some years then) – and so I forgave him and reached out to him. It was a great year.

    But… alas. It didn’t last more than that. Because a year after he fell in, being drunk, being on bad behavior, comparing me to his girlfriends’ children instead of taking responsibility for his actions. I’m sad to say that my forgiveness couldn’t cope with this ongoing future. I forgave the past, but I couldn’t remain in the future with him.

    And yet, I have forgiven him. But I also watch out for myself, and thus cannot let him be a part of my life, since he is so clearly dysfunctional. Sometimes letting go, also means letting go of something physical… a relationship for example, even if forgiving is the way to heal your heart from past sins of that person.

    • Hey Anette… your are right: forgiveness doesn’t mean putting up with someone’s poor behaviour. Forgiveness is about realising that everyone is doing the best they can at their current level of consciousness and that their actions are not really about us. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t move away from an unhealthy situation or person. We can forgive someone while simultaneously deciding never to see them again. Sometimes that’s self-love… X

  2. This is a beautiful meditation in any language, for anyone any place.

  3. Right now I am trying to let go of my envy of others because now I realise it comes from my shame surrounding how I express myself and how I think that affects my dreams of connecting with my soul mate.

    • Hey Liv, thanks for sharing :) it’s difficult to see beyond the presenting ‘problem’ to what lies beneath but you seem quite adept at it… x

  4. The most powerful book I’ve ever read on surrender is, “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer. Must read. Changed my life!

    • Hi Laurel… I read Michael Singer’s ‘The Untethered Soul’ some years ago and it touched me strongly. I’ll definitely check out ‘The Surrender Experiment.’ Thanks for the tip :)

  5. Hi Faith,
    That moment when I decided to let go is still fresh in my mind. This happened in 2007. My husband was diagnosed with non-alchoholic liver disease and the only way to fix him is to get a liver transplant. I always believed that I am a strong person as I have had to face crisis in my lifetime already.
    But here I was at the end of my rope. The only person who can donate is me and I have our minor child and elderly mom who are solely depending on me.
    I started believing in the higher power more than ever. If there is something that can help me from this free fall and all the risks in front of me. I was in a darkest corneri have ever been in my lifetime.
    But luckily today, my husband survived and I survived the surgery and we will be celebrating our 6th anniversary in April this year.
    I am glad I decided to take that risk and did what I had to do despite all the odds in my favor. That was one free fall I took and happy that I did!

  6. I had a really bad configuration in the sky 2,5 years ago. Once I decided not to fight it but take one day at a time and move through it, life became incredibly better. It actually moved me in the right direction, although at that time I kept wondering how did my world fall apart in the space of 2 weeks.

  7. Hi Faith – thanks for the timely re-posting of this article! The current transits of Pluto, Uranus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune are definitely nudging me to enhance my capacity to surrender to what is. Mastering the art of letting go is becoming a necessity! So, your input on this state of being is greatly appreciated.

    I’ve mainly had two types of experiences with letting go. The serenity prayer comes in handy at all times. However, when facing events reminiscent of life changes due to societal disturbances, I’m reminded of Viktor Frankel’s “Man’s Search for Meaning,” which transmits key points about ultimate types of “surrender” this life may involve and how to “be” during that time.

    When I’m tense primarily due to inner turmoil, for various personal reasons, then surrendering myself to Nature’s wisdom, (breathing in fresh air at parks, gardens, tree-lined streets, mountain-side, ocean-side and/or lake-side locales, etc.), helps me regain equilibrium.

    When I truly let go, time stops and I feel cradled by ethereal forces, almost like I’m out of this world. At that point, nothing matters, and I feel truly grateful for what is, even when I’m facing circumstances that I’d have labeled as fearful/intolerable, beforehand.

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