How to Let Things Come to You and Let Things Go

key-on-table-words-how-to-let-things-come-to-you-and-let-things-go-blog-post-by-Santa-Rosa-therapist-Patty-Bechtold-at-wiselifetherapy.com

Is a part of you longing to let things come to you? I know that might sound a bit passive, particularly in the world in which we live. Normally you’re advised to go out and get, fix what’s wrong, and pursue (rather than receive) the next thing.

Although letting things come to you can be considered an act of receiving, it is definitely far from passive. While it may not be as purposefully active as you’re used to, without a doubt there is forward movement involved in it.

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What does it mean to let things come to you?

When you let things come to you, you traverse the space between being and doing. There is movement in that space that’s more like the meandering progress of a journey rather than the deliberate pushing forward to a specific destination.

It’s the leisurely road trip rather than making time and getting there fast. It’s not caring if the old pickup truck in front of you is poking along. And it’s definitely about opening up to those unexpected detours that take you places you never could have imagined.

Letting things come to you is a practice that asks you to be with the comfortable discomfort of waiting rather than forcing. In doing so you begin moving toward patience rather than urgency.

Without a doubt there is a certain kind of wisdom in letting things come to you.

Why would you want to practice letting things come to you?

Well, think about the possibilities. How would it feel to be able to retreat and wait patiently rather than bearing the weight of decision fatigue?

Imagine being sought, rather than constantly seeking. Or trusting, rather than having to pursue vigorously. And then, letting yourself turn toward the path that’s unfolding, so that the things that want to come to you can actually find you.

In my own journey as well as in my work with women (in my Santa Rosa therapy and coaching practice), the thought of letting things come to you is often paradoxical: both tremendously compelling and slightly unnerving. Still, it’s no secret that many of us have a deep yearning to loosen the reins and step back.

What a gift it might be if you chose to retreat from the constant pressure to do more and be more. Not to mention the unending list of tasks to be completed.

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How do you step back, stop reaching so hard, and let things come to you?

Sometimes it begins when a person has a big life wake up call. Here’s an example: Years ago I heard a story about a man who died and came back to life.

He was running some kind of race (a marathon, I think) and as he crossed the finish line he collapsed. His heart stopped. Things looked bleak.

But a valiant doctor wouldn’t give up. She kept the CPR going long after others told her it was hopeless. And despite the odds, his heart sprung back to life.

His heart stopped again (and was revived again) in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Once there they opened him up and unblocked his arteries. Life surged on.

As he came to the end of his story what he most wanted his listeners to take away was this:

“Nothing’s worth worrying about.”

For as long as I can remember I’ve been captivated by stories of people who go to edge and back.

I trust them because there’s a universal theme present, a shared experience that’s almost always the same in these stories. And that theme (and the wisdom embodied within it) makes more sense to me than the do more/have more/be more mantra that we’re all familiar with.

I’ve noticed that when people have been to the edge and back their perspective on what matters most changes and they carry a deep-in-their-bones connection to the life force.

They…

  • worry less
  • love more
  • open up to more balance
  • find hope and joy in the small moments
  • unhook from hyped-up definitions of success and making it
  • let things come to them so they can more easily let things go (like worry, anxiety, fear, and stress)

Those who’ve been to the edge and back have a lot to teach us about letting things come to us.

The good news is it doesn’t take a near death experience to begin letting things come to you (and letting things go). You can begin by reframing it as an experiment and trying on any of these practices…

  • deliberately taking time for quiet and stillness
  • considering the complexities of wanting
  • questioning the prevailing advice about what you should be doing
  • acknowledging that you’re ready to shift gears
  • letting yourself wander into unfamiliar places
  • feeling both the freedom and discomfort of the unknown
  • keeping space open in your hours/days instead of filling them up
  • honoring your own unique rhythms
  • keeping your promises to yourself

Of course, you don’t have to do all of these things at once! In fact, I could write a separate post about every single one of them.

If you’re new to this concept though, it’s probably best to start with the last one on the list: keeping your promises to yourself.

Letting things come to you begins with keeping your promises to yourself.

By this I don’t mean the big promises you’re endlessly encouraged to make in life. You know, the resolutions, goals, intentions.

What I’m talking about are the dozens of small, sometimes tiny, promises we quietly whisper to ourselves that often go unmet.

The pause at sunset. The nap on a rainy afternoon. Really looking into someone’s eyes. Running your fingers through the rosemary. Lighting a candle just because. Powering down your screens and going outside (instead of consuming or working beyond your capacity).

I suspect you know exactly what I’m talking about because you likely have your own tiny promises. And you probably know that women are usually really good at keeping our promises to others, but not always to ourselves.

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This is what I wish for all of us.

The kind of promise-keeping that cracks open the door to letting things come to us so we can let things go.

For now, I’m giving the last word over to poet Christine Valters Paintner, who says it far better than I ever could.

Give Up Your Endless Searching

Lay down your map and compass

and those dog-eared travel guides.

Rest your weary eyes from so much looking

your tired feet from so much wandering,

your aching heart from so much hoping.

* * * * *

Lay down in the soft green grass

wet with morning dew, and watch as

the tree heavy with pendulous pears

bends her long branches toward you

offering you perfection in every sweet bite.

* * * * *

Give up the weight of knowing,

for the reverence of quiet attention

and curiosity, for the delight of

juice that runs in generous streams

down your chin.

–Christine Valters Paintner

Would you like support with your own journey?

If you’d like help knowing yourself better and feeling freer to be who you truly are, my free course — Finding Yourself Again — is a good place to start.

My course can help you gain insight on the critical voices and beliefs within you and begin to transform them with creative and imaginative approaches. It’s based on the same practices that have helped my clients reclaim what’s missing and move toward what matters.

You can learn more about this free course here. And if you have any questions, get in touch.

Patty Bechtold

Patty Bechtold

Welcome. I'm a Santa Rosa therapist and life coach, and I help women who feel like something’s missing in their lives or themselves. I specialize in self-esteem, anxiety, depression, grief, life transition, and women's groups. On this blog I write about different approaches to help you find your way back to your deepest wisdom. Thank you for being here.