Release the Net

{Etsy print by CuriousPrintery}

{Etsy print by CuriousPrintery}

I have a net that seeks to capture every jumping fish in the ocean,

every balloon in the sky

of my mind.

“Just in case,” it thinks.

“I might need it for a rainy day.”

The things I need to pack,

the conversation I need to have,

the idea for an article I need to create,

the email I still need to compose.

I don’t want to forget.

I don’t want to lose it.

So I hold on desperate,

clutching every thought that floats on by.

With stillness,

through meditation,

I’m reminded to let go.

I release each thought and watch it sink

and disappear under tow

or wave as it flies beyond the sky.

I don’t need it, I realize.

What I have in this moment,

a breath,

a pause in thought,

a silence,

are necessities to be free.

Pack light

and you’ll find all the answers you truly need.

Let go

and you will allow space

for miracles, mysteries and meaning-making to unravel in your life.

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Writing Lessons: What Writing Can Teach You About Letting Go

{Etsy journal by BroadwayHouseBooks}

{Etsy journal by BroadwayHouseBooks}

Every day I strip my writing.

Sometimes I work on small business features.

Sometimes it’s advertorials.

When I get a chance, it’s a picture book, or a self-help piece.

But no matter what it is, I always go through the same debilitating process of cleaning up prose. The hard thing is sometimes they’re good parts I fall in love with, but they’re also completely wrong for what I’m working on.

Why Editing Prose is Like Editing Your Life

It’s hard to let go of what seems right.

It’s difficult to push my finger down on delete when I want so much to find a place for that phrase.

It’s heartbreaking when I must finally let it go.

But I realized that the alternative, leaving out of place words just because I can’t part with them, ends up spoiling everything.

How familiar that song sounds when sung about love, friendships, jobs that don’t work.

On the surface, they look good, they seem right. We’re hooked in deep. They serve our need for certainty and comfort. We’re too afraid to be in the space between where we are to where we want to be.

It’s not easy to let go into nothingness.

But when we are courageous, when we’re willing to give up whatever or whoever it is, the mystery of the unknown will surprise us with life-growing and healing gifts.

Like the ill-fitted sentence that must be sacrificed in order to create a whole piece, sometimes we need to give up the certainty in our lives, for the pleasure and joy that comes with finally, letting go.

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Put to Bed the Fighter

{Etsy decal by 60SecondMakeover}

{Etsy decal by 60SecondMakeover}

why it’s good to be a fighter…

I was born a fighter. I think I must have came out of the womb with gloves on. Well except that I was delivered via C-section so maybe I wasn’t quite ready.

I carried this mindset my entire life. It dictated my academics and shot me up from a C-average student to a straight-A’s one.

What that’s led to is a lot of great opportunities and surprising successes. And just as surprising failures.

What I’ve learned in looking back is that it’s not always the fight that wins the battle, but the letting go, surrendering and accepting what is. It’s a great thing to be a fighter. You need someone in your corner to fight for your dreams, to stand up for what’s right, to make a difference. But you need a listener to propel you into the life you were meant to live.

leaning into what is…

When you have an innately fighting personality, you believe with 100% certainty that you can control everything. Your body may be tired. Your soul may be fatigued. But your mind says, “Keep going!” And you listen. What happens over time is that you stop communicating with your intuitive voice. You live on adrenaline to keep going. Eventually, you run on empty and get sick.

It’s the same thing with living your life. I think being a straight A-student gave me the false impression that if I only work really hard, I could get everything I wanted right away. I forgot about ambiguity, faith, the unknown. I forgot about trust.

When you fill up every single space of “what if,” you leave little room for things like magic, mystery, serendipity.

It’s not wrong to go for what you believe in. But you won’t get to your dreams by going on your own. Don’t let your mind drive you all the time. Sharpen your intuition by trusting your instincts and allow your soul to guide you.

The struggle isn’t always the fight. Sometimes it’s about settling in softly into the present moment of the unknown and having the courage to walk patiently without answers, without solutions to your current problem and just be.

 

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The Key to Having More

{Etsy print by wickedpaper}

{Etsy print by wickedpaper}

Everyone wants a better life. They desire bigger homes with huge lots, more money, a better job. But when it comes down to it. What we’re really after is more love, deeper relationships, a more meaningful life.

And you can easily get all of those things. You just have to focus on what you really want and stop getting distracted with all the other stuff.

Watching Oprah interview Nate Berkus on Super Soul Sunday was a great validation of that. She talked to him about his newest book, The Things That Matter. I love the title for its simple play on words and its breaking down of the stereotype that things don’t matter, that they are superficial. It also brings attention to the things and people that really do matter. Once you get clear on that, you’re that much closer to getting what you truly want in life.

On Letting Go

One of the reasons why we don’t have what we want at this moment is that we’re holding on to something-a memory, a belief, a relationship-that just doesn’t serve us anymore. We hold on out of fear that we won’t get anything better. We hold on because what we know is less scary than what we don’t know. We hold on out of a lack of faith that we can’t get what we want. We hold on because a foggy past can easily meld into an idealistic memory if we aren’t too careful.

I love what Oprah says about holding on:

“Most people are trying to hold onto wanting the life to be what it was. One of the greatest spiritual lessons I’ve learned from anybody who’s sat in that chair [for Super Soul Sunday] is that when you are resisting the reality of what is that is where all of your suffering comes from. You’re wanting the moment, the time, to be something that it can’t be is what causes the suffering. And your ability to transcend and accept that that is gone, and now I must move on and create a new normal is the real great spiritual lesson no matter what it is you’re going through.” [If you want to watch the entire show, Oprah has the full episode on her website.]

Once we let go of what was, we make room for what is. Life is such a gift if we stand out of our own way and let it happen.

On Gratitude

When we focus on what’s not working, life can be a real bummer and love sucker. When we immerse our selves in what’s working, it’s as if the world opens up like a budding flower. Suddenly, you have a lot more than you think you did. Your friendships may not be working or your job may suck, but you have an understanding partner or feel safe and comfortable at home. Every single person can find something to be grateful for even if it’s for this single breath. When you devote time to what’s working in your life, your life grows.

If you want more in your life, you can create a wish list/collage, you can gripe to your friends about it, but don’t forget to work on these two things. If you do so, you’ll be surprised by how much things change in beautiful and unexpected ways.

What matters to you? Is it your family, your health, your pet dog? What are you most grateful for? Let’s share the love and let it grow here.

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Cultivating a Garden of Patience

Garden of patience

{photo by The Inspiring Bee}

It’s not easy to wait idly while the world goes by. It reminds me of being a kid, stuck in the house, angry and resentful as I watched drops of water fall literally raining on my parade.

It’s that same impatience that plagues me. There is a part of me that wants to stomp on the ground and say, “Now! I want it RIGHT now!!”

Is it just me or do you have a little kid in yourself like that too?

Do you wish that you already knew what you wanted to do with your life? That you could press fast forward on your life to get the good stuff. I hear you. I’m the same way too.

These last few weeks I have been teetering on the unknown. Not sure where my future was going. Plagued by the uncertainty of the presence. It’s not that I haven’t been busy. But behind the appointments, the writing, there has been an underlying feeling dripping with fear.

What’s next?!

Did I make the right decision?

And why can’t my future get here a little bit faster?!

I hear it. And I know it’s my ego. I also know that patience is something I’ve been wanting to work on for awhile. And you know what happens with those pesky wishes right? They come back with a vengeance, testing you to see if you really meant what you said.

I can’t say it’s been easy. But like all the hard stuff in your life, they’re just teachers with lessons they’re hoping you’ll learn. And if you don’t? They’ll just come back again with a new test, same lesson.

Here’s the thing. You want to cultivate more patience in your life? 

You need to know you are not 100% in control of everything.

You need to take this time as a gift.

You need to remember that there is always a greater force out there with a purpose higher than your own.

You need to sow those good intentions, have faith that they’ll grow and forgive yourself when they don’t.

If you can learn to let go of the hold you have on a certain outcome, an expectation, a belief that things have to go your way or else, you will begin to see the gift in front you. You will realize that there is a purpose for the time you have. That all we have is time. That what you really want isn’t like that trench coat you have on backorder or that iPad 3 you’re on a waiting list for. Your purpose isn’t limited. There will be no “sold out” just because he or she got it before you. Your time will come. You just got to believe in it.

Eventually you’ll find that the time you used was part of the path, that you needed to go through it in order to get to where you wanted to go. Maybe you weren’t ready. Maybe you needed time for self-healing and reflection. Then, just when you start to feel like you don’t really need whatever it is (job, relationship, etc.) anymore, you’ll get it.

Don’t believe it?

Well that’s kind of what happened to me.

After a month of waiting, my Beliefnet column is finally up. You can check out my first post on positivity here. Please share it if you like it. Let’s spread positivity. =)

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Letting Go of the Happy Ending

{Unplanned shot taken at a truck stop somewhere in Arizona.}

There’s a deep inherent desire in all of us to believe that every aspect of our lives should come with a perfect, happy ending. Maybe it’s been drilled in us from watching too many romantic movies and reading too many fairy tale happy endings. Although it gives me a twinkling satisfied feeling when I leave the theater, I know it does nothing for my sense of true happiness in the real world.

That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in magic and miracles and possibility.

Quite contrary.

But I believe that when we give up hope for perfection, we get something better than we expected.

I’ve wasted too much time holding onto relationships that weren’t good for me, projects that didn’t fit and opportunities that were more of a hassle than beneficial. Although I can’t get that time back, I can back my future my changing my present.

In the end, we all need to let go of control and let in faith.

Maybe your career isn’t perfect. Your home would never be on the Nate Berkus show’s “House Proud” segment. Your family is more Osbournes than the Brady Bunch. And your relationship? Not the fairy tale ending you dreamed it would be.

But when we base our lives on an imaginary, unrealistic picture, we not only sell ourselves short. We sell our lives short.

It’s almost Christmas and New Year’s is right around the corner. It’s a great time to start recognizing the real gifts and magic out there now. Instead of trying to force an unrealistic vision, why not celebrate the freedom of life itself?

I realized that whenever I’m caught up in the end result, I’m missing the big picture and all the possibilities that come with that.

The best gift I can give myself is learning to be grateful for this moment and this moment only. In order to so, I must let go of the vision I have that a life lived perfectly is a life well-lived. This means that I must let go of the perfect day and even a perfect moment. This means that I must give up on having everything I want to accepting a life lived the best way I can. It’s an exchange that may feel like a sacrifice. But in the end, I know it’s one gift I won’t want to give back.

What will you let go of in 2011?

 

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What Made Me Drop to My Knees

When I was in Arizona, I wanted to fall to my knees.

And it wasn’t the canyons (Grand + Antelope) that did it for me. Nor was it the red rocks that made me feel a profound sense of peace and well-being.

Surprising since there were more than enough reasons to be in awe.

I’m embarrassed to say that my trip to Sedona RE-minded me that I’ve still got a lot to learn when it comes to this class called life.

 

The Big Drop to My Knees Moment

I felt sick to my stomach when standing on this ledge overlooking Horseshoe Bend. And it wasn’t vertigo or a fear of heights. Nothing admirable like that.

I had already experienced about 6 days of awe having traveled all the way from Phoenix to Tucson to Antelope Canyon and now here.

After taking about 500 photos of things like this:

I noticed that not only had I almost run out of battery in my camera, but I ran out of memory too. Being far from an outlet and my computer, I decided to delete a few. Guess what I did instead?

I DELETED MY ENTIRE CAMERA!!!

Over 500 photos of our entire trip.

The only reason why I have these is that my super smart husband was able to recover them-well most of them. The others came out like crap and looked like this:

And as embarrassed as I am to admit it, I have to be honest and say, “It’d about ruined my trip.”

Can you believe it?

I was willing to throw away 6 days of memorable experiences with my husband just because I didn’t have proof that we were there. We still went horseback riding, saw the stars falling from the diamond filled sky, walked up red mountains and gazed at the sun as set on the Grand Canyon.

And the Lesson Is?

I wonder if going to Arizona had less to do when the sense of spirituality and magic I felt while I was there and more about the lesson it taught me. This familiar desperation was a sign that maybe it’s time for another challenge. You know how I love my challenges.

As we countdown the weeks to another year, I’m focusing The Inspiring Bee on two words. And it’s not “eat less” “make more” or any of the normal yearly resolutions. This year I’m going to focus on different aspects of letting go.

Two words I’ve been having trouble with since I was a kid waving to the toilet bowl. {True story by the way.}

This week I’m letting go of the hope for a perfect photo and gaining acceptance for what is.

What will you let go of?

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