Last week in the southern hemisphere we welcomed the Autumn Equinox (March 21), the official start of Autumn. This is one of only two times a year where the sun crosses over the equator and day and night are approximately the same length. After the Autumn Equinox the days slowly become shorter as we creep towards winter.

The weather has definitely changed in our neck of the woods, with cloudy, rainy days and cooler mornings, Autumn has arrived. The Autumn Equinox is a “time to release the past and move forward with clarity as we begin to prepare for the coming Winter” (Glennie Kindred 2005). Now is a time for letting go.

Letting go can be scary. Letting go can be hard work. But letting go of emotions, attachments, material possessions, and anything we no longer need in our lives is worth every bit of the heartache, discomfort and fear, because what you gain after the process is so much more than what you had been holding on to. Trust me… I’ve been through the process more times than I can count. And will continue to go through the process of letting go, as it is a challenge that is continually present in each of our lives. I’m not sure it ever gets easier to let go of emotions, but it definitely gets easier to let go of possessions once you make it a regular practice.

Last week we kicked off our #30in30declutter challenge. Each day for 30 days we are letting go of one item from one particularly area of our home or life. One item is much easier, and far less scary, then say tackling a whole room and having to let go of multiple items from one room at a time. But how do we let go of emotions we’ve been holding on to and carrying around?

There is no easy answer to this.

We all react in different ways to avoid or deal with emotional situations that arise. We can pass blame, find fault in something or someone else, we can create a life so full and busy that we never have time to deal with the emotions or situations. We can run away or retreat from life. I’ve done all of these. But in the end, every emotion or traumatic situation I’ve avoided, has always come back around to slap me in the face. And at this point I’ve had two choices: 1)  ignore and run away again (knowing that eventually my emotions will catch up with me again!!); or 2) take a deep breath and face the fear and pain that can come with dealing with uncomfortable emotions.

For a lot of my twenties I continued to stick with the first choice. Ignorance is bliss… well, at least until the universe catches back up with you and a life time of repressed emotions boil to the surface. When not dealt with though, emotions can show themselves in many different ways. The aches and pains that pop up in our body for no apparent reason, illnesses and health problems can in some cases be related to the emotions we’ve stored up in our bodies. In my early twenties I would lose my voice five to six times a year. When I finally began to stand up for myself and speak my mind, the bouts of tonsillitis and laryngitis stopped and I haven’t lost my voice since. The messages our bodies try to communicate sometimes take a while to sink in, especially if we’re not paying attention.

Letting go of varying emotions and attachments is different for everyone. There is no set of exact guidelines, what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. Yoga, breathing and mindfulness can be helpful. Scheduling time into your daily or weekly routine to do nothing can be beneficial too. By taking the focus off of being busy, the mind and body have time and space to reconnect and evaluate how you are feeling and what emotions may lie behind the signs and symptoms your body is sending you. And for all the positive thinking and affirmations, some times the mind and body just need to a big old cry to release emotional baggage.

So as we move into Autumn take some time to revaluate how you mind and body are feeling. Write out new intentions to move forward with clarity and know that it’s okay to let go of past hurts, feelings and attachments. In the words of Elsa (Frozen), “Let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore.”

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