So, you want to Bamba with the big boys? Contrary to social media belief, the secret to being a big boy is actually being at peace. We are all in pursuit of peace and calm (I hope) but getting there can be a challenge. It truly is one of those things that are easier said than done but it can be done. Many of us fill our lives with activities and connections in the hope that we will achieve abundance and opportunity, especially in big cities, and as useful as this approach can be, it also accumulates clutter. Clutter is not simply made up of physical objects that surround or obstruct us, but also emotional and psychological obstacles that steal our peace, our calm, and our stillness from us. We have to learn to let some things go!
In the Change Series, I spoke about how our social conditioning compels us to try and satisfy societal expectations at the expense of our personal growth. In much the same way, we hold onto certain people, situations, and scenarios because they tick certain boxes and project a certain image. I can assure you; that they do not serve you now and will not serve you in the future. Accept the signs, they are flashing for a reason: either they want you to notice them, or the batteries are faulty but either way, notice them!
As I always do, I have some personal experiences with the process of letting go that has been hounding me recently. I have been holding onto someone who has always shown me that they will not step up to the plate and provide me with what I need. Now, as much as I would like to deny it (because it honestly makes me look silly), I am also responsible for this person’s behaviour. I am responsible because I have been asking for something the person has never promised and I’ve been upset that they are delivering on their promises because it is not what I want. I’ll also say that I was operating from a place of hope, which is never a bad thing, but sometimes hope becomes desperation and that is a bad thing!
The point about this scenario is that holding onto this person and their non-delivery of my expectations has been occupying such valuable space in my mind and emotions, creating clutter and chaos where calm and peace could be. Even I will admit that letting go has taken time and is still not fully realised for me. It is simply not realistic to just yank yourself out of a situation without processing your experience and confronting the truth about it. That takes time, but you must be intentional about it. Intention and honesty are key in the process of letting go.
Letting go is an important first step on the journey to peace, which is the home of stillness. Or is stillness the home of peace? Perhaps they are housemates? Neighbours? Childhood friends, who live in the same neighbourhood? Okay, they’re related, let’s just say that!
As with my experience, the real task is to remove unnecessary obstacles and distractions from our environments that divert us from connecting with ourselves. There is a lot of value within us, often obscured by the constant search for value from the outside. We are constantly bombarded by the idea that we have to accumulate things from outside, forgetting that we have so much inside that also needs nurturing.
By the way, although I use clutter as a metaphor, the physical clutter around us, in our homes, offices, or cars are also obstacles that we can address as a training ground for letting go of the more difficult emotional and psychological obstacles. Our physical environments are often a reflection of what’s going on inside and they are a great place to start.
That salt and pepper shaker you don’t even like that you got at your first housewarming from a person you’re no longer friends with? Chuck it! I sound like that evil Kermit meme, but honestly, these are the small patterns that start a process of holding on, for no good reason, and eventually seep into our emotional and mental housekeeping. The salt and pepper shaker seems like a silly example but think about it: it’s a useless object in your space, attached to a memory that you no longer need, holding you ransom for someone who doesn’t contribute to your life anymore. You can see how when that small action has the potential to dictate how you handle more serious scenarios that are simply barriers to your peace.
This process of letting go is the first step toward achieving better emotional and mental wellness. Life and I do not say this lightly, is difficult enough. We are held at gunpoint by capitalism every day and we have so much to do, just to survive. Many things are out of our control, so we owe it to ourselves to take control of the things we can. We are disempowered by systemic failures and poor governance, but we can still preside over our peace and well-being with authority.
This is a process of inventory checking, where we take a good look around us and identify the items we no longer need or the ones that don’t work and move on without them. There is nothing more satisfying than being in a clean, neat, orderly living space – in fact, it brings me a sense of peace and stillness. Why would we think we can’t replicate that with our thoughts and emotions? It’s a time for cleaning up on the inside the way we do on the outside. Letting go of the clutter and noise is a gateway to stillness.
Like with everything, starting is the most difficult part, but our lives can be a place of peace. Unlike Jennifer Lopez, I want to issue the instruction: Let’s get still, turn the chaos down and chill. Now, you are ready to Bamba with the big boys.