“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” ~ Rumi.
This quote hits home on every imaginable level for many of us, myself included. May is notorious for being a month of moves, graduations, travel, new jobs, etc. We often experience myriad emotions ranging from reticence to excitement, and joy to sadness. In an effort to find calm in the chaos, we hold on! We hold on to anything from undesirable habits, comfortable relationships, or our favorite pair of jeans. We hold on to thoughts cemented during our high school years or parental guilt. We may find ourselves unwilling to let go of unmet expectations, a full household, or perhaps the happiest time in our lives (so far).
Consider that as we eat and drink, our body extracts important nutrients and vitamins in our food in order to fuel our body, mind, and spirit; at the same time, it works to eliminate waste and redundancy (Too much protein, gotta get rid of that. Too much fat, where can I store it?) If the body doesn’t eliminate its surpluses, they accumulate, wreak havoc, and are stored as fat. As long as we don’t join a hunger strike or the cast of Naked and Afraid, the extra fat does nothing more than encumber our movement and deplete our energy. In much the same way, our body reacts to extraneous thoughts, habits, relationships, and personal belongings that flood us and stifle our growth.
On a daily basis, but particularly in times of transition, we must consider what is adding “fat” to our lives and what is vital, supporting our very existence. This week, I have continuously asked myself those questions as I returned from a brief visit in LA with my 23-year old son and began to pack and move from the home where we raised our family. What am I taking with me physically, mentally, and emotionally? What will support my personal growth, as well as that of my family, clients, and community? What is best left behind? These are both figurative and literal questions. To just name a few, I’m leaving: my “mother of young children” designation, holes in the walls, empty bulletin boards, the piano that awakened us each morning, the fireplace at which prom photos were taken and holiday gifts exchanged, the butcher block at which every garlic pod was crushed and ice cream pie created, and the kitchen table where time stood still for just a bit. I’m leaving behind, “he said, she said,” 3:00 a.m. homework panic, carpool traffic, and impromptu parties. Yet, the most challenging part is leaving behind a time when my hug and some fresh baked brownies were enough to change the day, my presence in bed during a thunderstorm brought slumber, and a bedtime story, followed by “stargazing” at the painted ceiling, brought conversation and connection. We let go to create space and energy to hold on! This new space allows me to dust off memories, reframe photos, uncover handwritten cards, cherish engaging conversations with my husband and grown children, enjoy more “date nights”, nurture relationships with treasured friends and clients, and cherish family time (whenever we can get it)! Most importantly, this space allows me to continue to share hope, peace, support, and above all else, love.
Note: I have taken the liberty of paraphrasing Rumi’s original quote: Life is a balance of holding on to that which nourishes and supports our physical, mental, and spiritual growth while letting go of that which encumbers our thoughts, energy, and potential.
Live Well/Be Well.