Letting go is everything.

I’m coming across this idea everywhere lately, whether I’m doing a spiritual practice, doing research about psychology and neuroplasticity or training on pleasure principles. It’s also a pervasive idea in the collective right now, and you can see it everywhere.

I’m not just talking about how to let go of the past or letting go of pain; I’m talking about the idea that we go through life taking control, performing actions, and plowing ahead, and all of this doing is preventing us from BEING. And when we’re not BEING, we’re not actually accomplishing the things that we want to accomplish with all that work.

It’s the reason that we keep going through the same lessons over and over again, repeating the same patterns, seeing ourselves up against the same challenges. We try to learn more about how we can change. We try harder. And still, nothing seems to shift. This can be frustrating.

It’s not about learning or teaching. It’s about allowing and receiving.

People are putting out more meditation workshops, talking about self-care, bringing women together in circles instead of classes… You hear me say it when I advise you to stop DOING so much. And I know that it freaks you out when I say that. Like, how is that possible? Laundry has to get done, bills have to get paid, kids have to stay alive…

The thing is, you’re still going to DO the stuff. That is what is ingrained in us. We can’t stop it completely. We won’t. It’s our automatic way of operating. We will never stop pushing, working, and taking action.

But what if we could bring ON something else? Not more work, not more pushing, not more action. But what if we take ON the ability to simply allow and receive?

This is what it means to balance the feminine and masculine energies within you.

It creates a divine union that allows you to harness ALL of your gifts—not just the ones that society has perpetuated as productive of valuable.

Sure, to achieve this balance, we might have to swap out some of the work and pushing that we’ve been doing. This shift happens in your mindset more than anything, though.

I’m trying to shift this balance with my exercise habits.

Here’s an example: I recently realized that my body doesn’t feel good when I sit and work/paint all day. Being sedentary feels icky. I’m achy, I feel sluggish, I feel weighted down, I don’t feel physically energetic.

In the past, I’ve told myself that moving my body = exercise, and if I’m bothering to exercise, I better be losing weight. It’s a tricky thing, because once I get on the exercise train, my mindset instantly shifts into “work” mode. I can be super diligent about it—I can push myself for 30 minutes a day, which makes me start counting calories and weighing myself. And then when I don’t see “results” (i.e. I don’t lose weight), I get pissed off and stop altogether.

This cycle repeats itself over and over again.

But yesterday I realized something different. I noticed that when I don’t move all day, I get cold. Being cold makes me irritable and achy. It doesn’t feel good. I decided that I was going to do something that feels really good—go for a walk—when I’m starting to feel that sedentary coldness come on.

Sure enough, it happened around 11 am. I asked myself what I wanted. I wanted to move, and I wanted to be outside. I took a break, grabbed my headphones, strapped on my sneakers and headed out the door.

Now, the thing is that I’ve told myself that I HATE exercising, that I like walking, but any other kind of pounding feels awful until after the fact, when the endorphins kick in.

I reminded myself to just do what feels good.

And halfway through my walk, I picked up the pace. I jogged to the beat of the song. I didn’t force myself—I legitimately wanted to do it. It felt wonderful to expand my lungs, feel the breeze and jam out a little bit. And I stopped when I felt like stopping.

You know what? It was glorious.

I went out for another quick walk this morning after driving the kids to school. Halfway through, I picked a wildflower off of a vine. It smelled like candy. I sniffed it the whole way home. Talk about a beautiful stroll!

Stopping to smell the flowers is more than important—it’s what we need to balance out our hard work. It allows us to receive, which balances out the cycles of pushing and doing. Receiving prevents burnout. Allowing ourselves to stop giving so much puts us in a space of receiving. And when we receive, we begin to balance out our existence.

We create space instead of filling it. We flow instead of force. And everything just seems to fall into place.

Where could you use some letting go in your life?