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What Happens When You Learn to Let Go?

by Elise Museles

What Happens When You Learn To Let GoAs most of you know by now, the pursuit of perfection was once the force that drove everything I did. I was an ardent t-crosser, an every-i-dotter, an if-everything-isn’t-exactly-how-it’s-supposed-to-be-I-can’t-sleep kind of person. I needed to be in control…of everything, including the things I couldn’t control.  Does this sound like you or someone you know?

For me, it reflected most in my obsession with weight and food. I studied health all my life, tried every diet, and pored over every book out there in search of the “right” way to feed my body. I followed a long, complex list of dietary rules, and worked tirelessly to implement them in my day-to-day routine. I assumed that by following every piece of advice I thought was relevant to me, I would concoct the perfect way to nourish myself.

As you might imagine… that never actually happened.

Exhaustion eventually caught up with me, forcing me to take a step back and relax a little bit. I loosened my grip on the rules, and relinquished my need to control it all.  I got out of my own way.

And when I did that, everything changed. I learned to tap into my own intuition and trust my instincts. Nourishing myself through proper nutrition and plenty of self-care became simple once I started to listen to my body. I felt more energized and alive than ever.

I set myself free.

Life is like that. If you try too hard to engineer an outcome, it will almost always short-circuit and sputter in your hands. But when you detach from your vision for the result, the universe has room to pull the pieces together on its own, in an even more gorgeous pattern than you might ever expect.

I’m going through some chaos in my life right now – it’s been one thing after another.  My husband was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease. Our beloved pooch, Willow, has cancer. I just got back from an unexpected trip to California to visit my dad who was hospitalized with pneumonia…I won’t bore you with the details, but needless to say, things are feeling pretty unsettled.

When life gets like this, it’s like traveling back in time to my old perfectionist self.

My craving for control cranks up about 1000%, as I’m sure yours does too in similar situations. It makes sense…the more helpless we feel, the stronger our need to put ourselves in the driver’s seat becomes. So we start to over-think, over-analyze, and stress about the tiniest details…. and slowly but surely, that awful feeling of overwhelm creeps in again.

The hard-to-face truth is that sometimes you can’t “control” what is happening, but what you can control are your reactions to the events going on around you.

So I’m re-learning to release my need to constantly call the shots. I’m breaking each challenge down into bite size pieces, and doing everything I can to put my best foot forward. Whether it is supporting my husband and my dad through their recoveries with a positive attitude, nourishing food and healing energy or focusing on giving my sick puppy the best quality of life possible while we’re still lucky enough to have her, I’m placing my trust in the process.  And I’m reminding myself that stress (exacerbated by the need to control) is counterproductive.

I’m learning. I’m letting go.

The bottom line is this:

Instead of trying to “be in control” of every detail of your life to suit your ideal vision for the future, have a little trust and faith that when you do your best, the universe tends to unfold as it should.

Life will always be a rollercoaster filled with ups and downs. Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath, lift our arms to the skies, and let it ride.

Question of the day: what have you released lately? Share your comments & insights below.

13 Responses to What Happens When You Learn to Let Go?

  1. Emily October 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Bravo Elise. I’m on the same ride.

    • Elise October 26, 2012 at 2:04 am #

      Thanks, Emily. I love having you as my friend & colleague sharing this journey together.

  2. Erika Elko October 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    My heart reaches out to you and your family, Elyse. And this is a WONDERFUL post. Much love.

    • Elise October 26, 2012 at 2:16 am #

      Erika, thank YOU for the kind words & support. So glad to heat that the post resonated with you!

  3. Mauree Jane Perry October 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Thank you, Elise. You are wise. Your writing is engaging . Your recipes are excellent. The butternut squash soup is among my favorites. Thanks for all your effort and many talents. Keep up the great work. I am letting go of being everywhere at once…..all at the same time! Mauree Jane (Ami’s Mom)

    • Elise October 26, 2012 at 2:14 am #

      Mauree Jane,
      So nice to hear that you are learning to let go and trying not to be everywhere at once…let me know if it helps!
      I really appreciate your thoughtful comments about the recipes & blog posts. That soup is also one of my faves. We have been making it and putting pumpkin seeds with a drizzle of pumpkin oil on top before serving. It is delicious!

  4. Elyssa Larranaga October 27, 2012 at 1:05 am #

    Amazing post! You are a true inspiration!

    • Elise October 27, 2012 at 3:46 am #

      Thanks, Elyssa, for taking the time to comment!

  5. Becca September 15, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Question of the day: what have you released lately?

    One month ago, I moved to Israel for a relationship with an Israeli man I met in India last winter. I’ve been trying repeatedly to release the expectations I’ve put on myself to master Hebrew, fall in love with Israel, be perfect and courageous and kick-ass in every imaginable way, especially when I’m actually at a point in my life where I need to nestle into myself and heal as never before. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to stay here, but I do realize that finally venturing into discovering what self-love is is the ONLY option for me from here on out, regardless of where I am, who loves me, or whom I love. It’s very hard, and I feel exhausted and far away from home, but I know I’ll come through this somehow.

  6. Ksenia October 8, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

    Bravo on letting go… Working on it myself. According to my mentor, I’m a control freak 😉

    • Elise Museles October 11, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      Hi Ksenia…it’s tough, and definitely a practice. Love seeing you here!


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