Recently I recognized an old pattern of behavior that was impeding my growth, and so I began to resolutely explore the thoughts and attitudes that were underpinning this pattern. I was not pleased with my discoveries, and recognized that I had only myself to blame, as I had let these timeworn thoughts and attitudes infect me like a cancer. I felt like a victim. It was time for me to release an outdated and unrealistic belief that someone would rescue me from my internal “dilemma.” I had to step forward into a new way of doing things, or I would become annihilated by my own inertia. Nothing changes unless something changes!
We are men who can let go of the thoughts and behaviors that no longer serve us. To release ourselves from our enslavement to past events or addictive patterns of thoughts or feelings is an ongoing, necessary transformative work in the task of maturity. The word “release” has its root in the Latin word relaxare which means “to stretch out again, to slacken.” This is the opposite of “to brace.” Many of us live with a braced approach to life; the brakes are on and we wonder why we are not moving forward! Everything stays the same. We find ourselves blaming everyone and everything for our “stuckness.” How can we change? “Let go of your old way of life, put aside your old self, which gets corrupted by following illusions” (Eph. 4:22).
Developing a regular practice of releasing can assist you in living a less tense or rigid form of life, as well as get you started with a more realistic approach to your humanity. These practices can occur daily, weekly, or monthly. Here are some examples:
- Mindful breathing
- Tai Chi/Yoga
- Clenching/unclenching of fists
- Exercising forgiveness
- Shadow work
- Solo time in nature
- Aerobic exercise
- Massage therapy
All of these practices can trigger a release of tension within us when done consciously and with purpose. Like a skilled landscape architect, we use discernment in choosing what fits the “environment” of our particular life. In the end it’s about creating the smoothest possible ride through the inevitable rough patches on the highway of life by letting go of patterns we no longer need.