Have you ever been told to “just let it go?” I have — many times. But it’s easier said than done, as the saying goes.
Being a sensitive and emotional person, I take comments more seriously than most. And, therefore, it’s hard to “just let it go.” I have carried hurts for years, not in a vindictive way, but rather quietly. My oldest sister, contrarily, would allow her sensitivity to grow into a grudge, abandoning friendships without a word and making negative comments for years afterward against those involved.
I have more of a tendency to hold on and to try to see where the other person is coming from. The hurt may remain for a while as I work through it all, but it lessens over time. And a friendship can be rekindled, if I so choose. It’s up to me.
I take my hurts to Mother Nature and watch the examples she presents. A while ago, I took a walk in the woods by my home.
I hesitate on the forest path … a shaft of sunlight draws me, peeking through the tree branches above. Like a beckoning light, it calls to me to come, to stand, to be still. As it touches my face, my eyes lift upward. I feel the incredible warmth of the sun above and I bask in it, closing my eyes, absorbing fully the penetrating heat to my very bones. I open my eyes to sound, the sound of solitary leaves drifting down. A gust of wind tosses them slightly before coming to a softened landing. I hear another … and another … The tree is shedding its leaves, letting go of what it no longer needs. Cold is approaching. Winter will arrive. Come spring, this tree will open its buds, blossom and sprout new leaves, growing taller than before.
“Is there a message here?” I ask myself.
It’s autumn in the Adirondacks — 58 degrees. There’s crispness to the cool air. Autumn here is more than just a season. It’s a calming down, a quieting, a cooling time before winter sets in with snow and cold blustery winds. I delight in autumn with its muted tones as trees change in reaction to the cold and yield all the beautiful hues previously hidden beneath an overcoat of green. I allow myself this time to spend with Mother Nature — time to walk along the forest path, time to bask in the sun’s warmth, filtering through tree branches, time to just be.
Winter is a time to follow the example of the hardwood trees and release the hurts, the anger, the sadness we have held onto through the other seasons. Those things do not serve us well. They sap our energies and color our true nature.
By releasing their overcoat of green, the trees reveal their hidden beauty of myriad colors. Likewise, by releasing the hurts I’ve been carrying, my beautiful colors will shine through.
Negative emotions can affect our impressions of others and make an imprint on the choices we make. Winter is a time to work through and shed those negative emotions.
When I am in balance emotionally, physically, and spiritually, I am slow to anger, I am able to see the situation from another’s perspective, I am patient. I feel loving to all and outgoing to any I meet, warmly greeting them.
When I am troubled, I have no patience, I’m defensive of my opinion, I am critical, and quick to snap at anyone. My voice carries an unmistaken tone that is not complimentary. I may feel worthless and jealous. And I don’t smile. These feelings do not make me happy. In fact, they make me feel miserable. When I am stressed, this is how I am. So, what do I do to pull myself out of the doldrums?
I let Mother Nature weave her magic as I walk down the forest path or sit outside, letting her wind blow through my hair, listening to her birds joyously singing their tunes. I watch the clouds floating by and imagine I’m floating right along with them. Closing my eyes, I take deep breaths, feeling her air fill my lungs and slowly releasing that air, over and over again.
I begin to shift my focus from how hurt I am feeling to recognizing how grateful I am for everything I have, not material things, but the caring people around me who offer their love and support. And then a whole world opens up to me and I feel myself expanding my view to everyone, even strangers I haven’t yet met.
I am thankful for where I live — the house I live in, the town I live in, the country I live in, even the world I live in. And I begin to understand that I am part of it all and because of that, I have a responsibility to take an active part and grow positivity wherever I go.
The hardwood tree sheds leaves like I need to shed the negative feelings I harbor. And like the tree that, in the spring, buds, blossoms, and grows. I need to release the negatives so I can blossom and grow, also. And only I can do that.
Being thankful for whatever I have is one step toward that letting go. Speaking aloud what I am thankful for somehow gives credence to my thoughts. And they become not only thoughts but actions.
As we recognize all that we are thankful for and speak that aloud, we shift our focus away from the negative to the positive. Our somber mood slips away and we begin to experience a lightness which, given time, yields a state of happiness. For we have truly let go of what no longer serves us and replaced it with a deep gratitude for all we have.
Debby Havas is an author living in Jay. Her writings describe her experiences in the healing energies of Mother Nature.