reflection

The Daily Practice of Letting Go

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“Letting go” can oftentimes feel like a loaded term. Used extensively in the personal development world (hello!), sometimes it can have subtle, condescending undertones.

Like, just do it already and get your awesome on!

I mean really, if we could just let go, we would. Trust me, I get this. And honestly, I run into this dilemma often---actually, pretty much daily.

So I’ve been thinking about this idea of letting go quite a bit. I’ve also been feeling through it.

“Feeling through” means leaning in, pushing into our sore spots and cracking open tightly shut doors. For me, it also means creating boundaries where barriers used to stand. All of this generally ignites feelings of fear, uncertainty and oh-my-god-am-I-going-to-die-now-because-I’m-letting-my-guard-down?-and-shit!-they-could-really-hurt-me-because-I-love-them!!!, kind of thing. My inner critic definitely has a flare for the dramatic.

As this is something I’ve been working on, I thought I’d share what I’ve discovered letting go means. And what I’ve found it doesn’t mean.

Letting go means: softening (as opposed to puffing up or feeling like you’re putting on your armor) allowingopeningbeing (as opposed to doing) putting our heartfelt intentions out there, then letting what may, happen (and not worrying or obsessing about the outcome) facing our fears and moving forward anyway (letting go of the past, our stories, or whatever we’ve been telling ourselves that’s held us back all these years…) finding real, deep intimacy with our partners wearing what you REALLY want to wear getting that tattoo (or getting that one removed) praying meditating moving your body trying the new thing saying no to things that make you feel heavy following your joyline, step by tiny step counting on the people in your life who remind you of who you really are (because sometimes, being in the thick of our own lives, we easily lose sight of our beautiful, authentic selves) forgiveness

Letting go does not mean: being lazy that we’re not taking accountability for our own lives becoming a victim of circumstance allowing all hell to break loose because we aren’t in control of our own lives being passive aggressive---saying one thing because it’s “right,” but really feeling another denying what we really feel and shoving it down/away allowing our lives to be ruled by “should’s”

Letting go, I’ve discovered, is a practice. Not unlike meditation. Not unlike yoga. Not even unlike any other practice you may hold near and dear to you---like running, that saturday morning ritual, writing, or creating. It’s like anything that takes perseverance, lots of failing, and picking ourselves back up to try and try again. Every day.

Let go.

Try again.

Keep going.

Rinse. Repeat.

Watch your life expand. Open. Allow. Things you never imagined possible will start showing up and taking hold. Let it happen. Let go.

Little Signposts

2014-11-12 16.13.09 Authentic power has been on my mind recently. What does it mean to be powerful? For me, power had a negative connotation. Whether it was thinking of a dictator, or someone who clawed their way to the top, it never gave me the warm fuzzies. So naturally, I shied away from it. However, in turning away from my power, I went the other direction. This put me in quite the pickle as this approach never sat well with me either: the people pleasing, the passive aggressive comment because I was so scared to be direct, learning how to keep a straight face while really feeling panicked inside. Recently, I've had some opportunities to step into my authentic power. I didn't realize this (or see them as opportunities at the time!) because, well, I was super scared and relying on old, knee jerk ways to deal with situations that just needed my truth.

So I posed the question over and over in my mind. What is authentic power? Where does it come from? Does everyone have it or it's potential? Who is authentically powerful? And on and on. The answers I got back were direct and in and of themselves pretty powerful. Because I kept asking myself this, I realized I was seeing little signposts about it everywhere---signs, emails, flyers, even instagram. Most of the messages didn't even mention the word power or what I had envisioned power to be like previously. Instead they were filled with super affirming messages of: BE, JOY, TRUST, and LIGHT. But there they were, the answers to my question about power.

Below are a few snippets from the collection of things I've read recently that have rung so true. And by sharing them, I'm practicing stepping out of my comfort zone of sorta-truth into real truth. It's uncomfortable and a tad bit scary, but I've realized that if I truly want to cultivate specific things in my life, I have to reach out in order to receive. Like attracts like.

Maybe you'll find inspiration from them, too.

The wound is the place where the light enters you. --Rumi

Try to show up as an adult each and every time. It's not easy. Sometimes your child-self wants to express herself in sulks or passive-aggressive actions. That's okay. It's your learned knee-jerk automatic reaction. Just, if you can, allow your adult self to come onto the stage. Relationships and situations will work much better the more you can do that. --Danu Morrigan

No one is asking you to be original. We're asking you to be generous and brave and to matter. We're asking you to step up and take responsibility for the work you do, and to add more value than a mere cut and paste. Give credit, definitely, but reject the fear that you're doing something that's already been done before. Sure, it's been done before. But not by you. And not for us. --Seth Godin

Positive feelings are a form of power. And power is all kinds of uncontrollable, elevating, disruptive, expansive, and threatening — to your own fear, and to people who prefer low-risk living. Joy threatens unconsciousness.

We push away positive feelings because the light emotions can create a stark contrast to the dark emotions. The joy will expose our sorrow. If we don't go to the height of our joy, we don't have to go to the depths of our pain.

Once you experience joy, whether it's something as simple as appreciating the sharp red of fall leaves, or it's an incredible orgasm, or it's the transcendence of deep self love meeting love of another — whatever the form, you're closer to the power source. Power sources are inherently dangerous. Positive feelings might make you a little bit louder. Maybe blindingly bright. You will be less easy to fool, less likely to settle — you’ll be too big for the box. Get big.

Choose the joy. Burn the box. Leave the flock. Go for deeply adored. --Danielle LaPort

Women have often felt insane when cleaving to the truth of our experience. Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake, beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other.

When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.

The lie is a short-cut through another’s personality. Truthfulness, honor, is not something which springs ablaze itself; it has to be created between people. Truthfulness anywhere means a heightened complexity. But it’s a movement into evolution. --Adrienne Rich

Present moment, future glimpse

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This weekend, I had the pleasure of photographing the Zabel brothers and their girlfriends. Wanting to do something unique and special for their mom who is battling cancer, they came to me with the idea of capturing them while gathering together and sharing a homemade brunch in her honor. It as a way to share with her a slice of their daily lives while keeping true to their roots and upbringing. I'm going to make a bit of a leap here, but the way both Andrew and Robbie were well versed in the language of food makes me think that gathering around the dinner table with good food and open conversation were priorities in their household growing up. Their easiness and respect of one another seemed to hint at a history of coming together at meal times, exposing a true generosity of spirit.

As a new mother myself, it was the first time I really took note of a sibling friendship. The respect, hilarity, and overall easiness these brothers have with each other is really moving -- and noteworthy. So often sibling relationships can be fraught with tension, that ease is the last thing that comes to mind. Watching them, I imagined Mrs. Zabel's warm, courageous, strong and real mothering speaking through her adult sons loud and clear. If I was her, I'd be so proud -- of both her sons and herself.

This was by far the best brunch I've had in a long, long time. Fresh and seasonal, everything was hand made right down to the tomato juice in the Bloody Mary's. It was inspiring to see how this food was made not only to eat, but to express a heartfelt affection and nourish the soul of everyone involved, near and far.

Necessities

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Recently, I've been having some loving and lovely heartfelt conversations with fellow parents. It's been so nourishing and restorative on so many levels, helping me put space and perspective on the intensities that can arise from the day to day of new family life. I have so much serious gratitude for these snippets of conversation, these moments of heart connection, that it's spurred a (much appreciated) shift of things inwardly. Since Little Mister came along, I've been pretty adamant about finding and connecting with other parents who I would be friends with even if we didn't have kids. For me, the quality of my daily interactions makes a huge impact on my overall wellbeing.

Getting outside as much as possible, play, real connection, healthful food, good great literature/stories that expand my horizons, nourish my soul and inspire me to be a better person--these are my necessities in life. It's reassuring to have a short list to go back to, lest I forget.

True, Kind & Necessary

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Is it true, kind and necessary? This question was posed in the book Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne, pertaining to simple, kind speech. It's a filter meant to help us to speak less, but more consciously. It allows the true meaning of our words to come forth -- without any spin and counter-spin, noise or drama, they mean more.

The author jots down true.kind.necessary on his calendars or notebooks so he can carry them throughout the day. He notes "like everything worthwhile, it takes practice to consciously erect these filters somewhere between our minds and our mouths."

Like everything worthwhile...

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?