Going with the flow–how letting go is better than hanging on

Jul 20, 2017 | Blog, Change, For the Soul, New, Parenting, Qigong, Self-love | 6 comments

Is summer flowing by as fast for you as it is for me? We have moved down the road for the summer, living in our tiny lakefront cabin. Being here forces me to log off. To go with the flow. There is no internet (or running water) here and cell service is intermittent at best. This is good for me. Limited distractions, being on the water, sunsets, and living simply allow me to re-connect with myself. I recently wrote an article in The Elephant Journal about seasonal balance if you’d like to check it out. 

Summer is when I focus on my business and my life, by not focussing, and see what percolates up from the calm waters. It’s a time of pause.

The pause takes conscious effort. I sometimes feel like I should be doing more. This got me thinking about forcing things and struggle. It seems we all live in various states or degrees of struggle. I sometimes find myself trying to force the next thing.

When really, I always do better when I let go of struggle (and perfection) and go with the flow.

Letting go has been a lifelong lesson for me.

If you know me, you know I’m pretty easy going. But I have this thing inside that wants everything that comes from me to be perfect. I had to quit pottery class many years ago because I found it too stressful! Pottery is supposed to be relaxing! As I was creating my piece I was constantly nervous about wrecking it. Once it had been fired, I would spend hours deciding on a glaze because I didn’t want to wreck it. The older (and wiser) women would always say to me “What’s the big deal? It’s only dirt! You can just make another one.” I just could not adopt that attitude.

I have many other examples of my need for perfection (and uptightness) over the years, including my kid’s birthday parties, sports races, Christmas morning (all showered with makeup on before the kids woke up!!???), sewing curtains, creating videos and online programs, the list goes on and on.

Even as I write this, I feel the anxiety starting to tighten the muscles in my chest and at the base of my throat.

In more recent years I have been working on designing a new way to live. I know that life is meant for joy and happiness, not for stress and struggle. So really, I have been working on going with the flow. Letting go of the things that make me anxious and of the relationships that are too much work. Swimming upstream is so hard. I am strong and I managed to swim upstream for many years. It was exhausting but I was doing it! Eventually I got tired. Then I found a rock to cling to. I clung to this rock for a year or two. Pausing, catching my breath, and listening. Then do you know what I did?

With my eyes and heart wide open, I let go.

I released the rock and allowed the current to carry me. Oh my it felt so good! I didn’t strain or struggle. I relaxed.

What did this look like in my life? I closed my in-person practice and worked only with distance clients from home, focussed on the people, tasks, and activities that made me feel good, that I was good at, and that came easily to me. I created more space to just be present with myself; to allow mind and body to connect. And I noticed the great things that were right in front of me. A beautiful home with an incredible view, a loving husband and kids, a healthy body.

I also started to appreciate and acknowledge my gifts.

I have the gift of knowing.

Having the gift of knowing means I see (or get or know) the big picture in another’s life. Then I know how to help them where they’re at right now. I’m able to share simple day-to-day solutions with them, using my gift of knowing, and I’m able to see where their blocks are energetically and physically, and I can help them remove those blocks. It comes easily. Teaching also comes easily to me. It’s another gift that fills me with enthusiasm. So I started doing more of these things in my business. Life became easier. I had more time to be with myself, which is really nurturing to me now; but wasn’t always. I used to be bored when I was alone and would need to fill that time with something or someone. Now I savour my time alone.

The rock that I clung to was my intuition.

I paused and listened to it. Then I took the plunge and trusted it. Part of this new flow involves letting go of the belief patterns that have been programming me for years. Belief patterns that stem from childhood and beyond. My story. We are all shaped by our experiences.

Our experiences create the lens through which we perceive life.

But I did not need to go back and re-visit my past experiences to heal; I did not need to understand why I was behaving the way I was.

I am confident that we don’t need to revisit the past in order to heal.

While re-visiting the past may be interesting and insightful, it is not necessary and can, in fact, be a huge distraction and consume much time and resources. For me, and for many of my clients, healing occurs by being present with yourself. By slowing down and getting quiet.

The physical body carries all the messages the mind holds.

In order to heal completely, we have to address the physical body, as well as the mind, the emotions, and our connection to something bigger (the universe, nature, God, spirit, whatever it is for you).

Spring Forest Qigong brought about healing my body, mind, emotions, and spirit. I am not perfectly healed (letting go of perfection!), as life is a constant balancing act and we need to keep our channels open so we don’t get stuck on our beautiful journey downstream. Qigong is helping me with that.

Now when I am faced with challenges, I focus on letting go. It seems counterintuitive but when we struggle and try to force things to be a certain way, everything gets constricted and the energy can’t flow.

We miss opportunities when we view life from a place of constriction; reducing the opportunity for flow.

My most recent challenge is my daughter Claire moving away to go to the University of Alberta this fall. She made an error in her communication with the University somewhere and lost her opportunity to live in residence. This has kept me up at night. I know this girl, but I have to remember she is not me. I also moved away from home to attend the same University. Living in residence allowed me to feel safe and make important connections as I transitioned into life on my own. She is not me and wherever this path takes her is meant to be. If I constrict the energy around what I think should happen, nothing will flow smoothly.

My work is to help her find a solution and to allow myself to let go of the perfect scenario I had envisioned for her (and me). By being open, other interesting opportunities are presenting themselves.

By relaxing and going with the flow, I feel better physically and mentally and I am able to see this playing out perhaps differently than I had planned.

At least I am working on it! And that is perfect (perfectly imperfect)! So while I still lie awake at times and worry about her future, I turn to the tools I have and work on letting go; through gratitude, breathing, and connecting. This always feels better than worry, fear, and struggle, and it helps myself and my family get through life’s challenges.

What do you struggle with? Have you found tools to help you with your challenges, fears, and struggles? Are you able to focus on the parts of your life that flow smoothly and bring you joy and happiness? I would love to hear about it in the comments below. And if you happen to have any connections to university housing, I would love to hear about that too!

Enjoy your summer and look for the opportunity to let go when you can–or even just to pause.

Love and light,

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By letting go…it all gets done. ~ Lao Tzu

Interested in joining me for live online Qigong practices?  Join here! If you can’t make it live, I will send out the recording the next day.

Do you have 10 minutes? Morning Mojo is my first online program that offers you a simple video to follow a 10-minute Spring Forest Qigong practice. In 10 minutes a day, you can gain energy, feel peace and happiness, and achieve balance. Check it out over here.

When body and mind are together, you are fully present. You are fully alive and you can touch the wonders of life that are available in the here and the now. So you practice not only with your mind but with your body. Body and mind should be experienced as one thing, not two. On that ground, you see that everything you are looking for is already there. Whether it is enlightenment, nirvana, liberation, Buddha, dharma, sangha, or happiness, it is right there. In fact, that is the only place, the only moment, where you can find these things. ~Thich Nhat Hanh



  1. Rhonda

    Thank you for this, Sue. I have an issue I have been struggling with and, while reading your article realized that letting go is NOT the same as giving up. Somehow, in my mind, the two were synonymous. Valuable lesson.

    • Sue Crites

      Thanks for your comment Rhonda! Yes! Letting go and giving up are not the same. We can approach things from a different perspective.

      I think we need to allow the space for other amazing things to happen, which won’t if we are tied to the outcome or constrict the energy.

      The example I gave below involved some curtains I sewed this winter. In my need for perfection, I put the project off for months (even after purchasing the most amazing fabric). For me the need for perfection was also about the fear of failing (or wrecking the project). I lightened up and instead of focussing on fear and perfection, I instead focussed on how fun it is to create something. They turned out almost perfect!!

  2. Mr. Wayne Noel

    Thank you Ms. Sue for the article. I had a question and I think it answered it. (Will minimal alcohol make me less of a healer?—not if a little makes you happy.) Just let it go. I will stay clean as my experiment continues. I have sugar sensitivities, low thyroid and low testosterone and looking to “fix” that before I can do anything else cause that gives me the energy to do everything else. Taoism says to “unattached to the outcome” the art of letting go.
    I will speak to Michael, in Master Lin’s office tomorrow, to talk about the “Energizer” job they have available; I think I am too scared and tired to go to.

    • Sue Crites

      Hello Wayne!

      Alcohol will not make you any less of a healer, as long as you are not doing both at the same time ;)! As I mentioned in the blog “the physical body carries all the messages the mind holds”. Keep that in mind as you work on treating your symptoms. Going deep into your qigong practice will help you heal on all levels, as you already know! Be kind to yourself Wayne, you are doing a great!

  3. Michele

    Stress and struggle are part of life’s journey. Even letting go is a struggle. Acceptance of one’s self-perceived flaws is important, but the quest for perfection means we are never giving up. When you mentioned getting up all showered, dressed and make-up on for Christmas morning did it ruin your Christmases? Probably not. But are you still beating yourself up for behaviors that are part of who you were, are and are evolving to be? You can still strive for excellence knowing the result may not be perfect, as perfection doesn’t exist. There is a catch-22 in striving to let go…perfectly.

    • Sue Crites

      Hi Michele,
      Thank you for your insightful comment! Letting go is certainly a struggle! But letting go and giving up are not the same. I agree that we can still strive for perfection, but sometimes the things we are striving for are not as important as we think they might be. I am not beating myself up for my past behaviour; I look back I see myself in a new light. And I smile and have compassion for where I was on my journey. Many of the things that I thought had to be perfect were not important.

      The Christmas morning thing didn’t ruin my Christmas but caused me stress instead of being in the moment and enjoying my family. I still strive for excellence, but instead, now I focus on the things that make me feel good and that make life less of a struggle. Don’t get me wrong, the curtains ARE perfect, but I had to work on approaching the project with more ease than I would have in the past.

      Self-acceptance is always a struggle. So is being okay with being imperfect, and moving on from that rather than beating myself up. You are right, striving to let go can be a struggle, but the result, for me, has been more peace, contentment, and joy.


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