Viewing entries tagged
letting go

Stop Letting Go!

The ebb and flow of the ocean tide is mesmerizing. It comes and goes — swells and wanes.  We sit on the beach and relish in the sound of that constant change. When that kind of ebb and flow, swell and wane, takes place in our day to day life, we grab hold of whatever handle we can find and grasp it as tightly as possible. We refuse to let it wane or swell or whatever is the opposite of what we expected and thought we needed.


That big account never came through. Believing this was his golden ticket, he’s stuck, bewildered, rehearsing what he could have done differently. His worth lay on the unsigned contract.

He left. She’s on the couch soaked in tears believing she’s nothing. Her worth just walked out the door.  

He’s never before been dismissed. The shock continues to haunt him every day. His worth still sits at the desk.

She can’t get past the unbelievably, disrespectful behavior from three years ago. He continues to repent, reinvent, restore. Her worth is reflected in his mistake.

He lost his leg. His new form is foreign to him. He can’t see a way into his new normal. His worth is pinned to a fully functioning body.

"Let go." It sounds so simple, like letting go of the car door handle on a hot summer day. What if it’s not about letting go at all? Perhaps, we all need to grab hold — grab hold of our worth. Stop assigning it to things that it never belonged to in the first place. Our worth was never meant to ebb and flow. It comes from our very creation, not our achievements, our relationships, our physique, but from a place deep within us.

If you’re having trouble “letting go,” look at what you’ve attached your worth to.

Where Lipstick Goes to Die

There’s a drawer in my bathroom where lipsticks goes to die.  That stick that wasn’t quite the right color but I might want it one day or the sticks my sister gave me because she’s not using that brand anymore, I just drop them in the drawer.  And, my personal favorites, the ones that were the perfect color and I used them completely but there is still some good lipstick in the tube that can be dug out with a Q-tip, are in the drawer.  Here’s the problem: there are also some essential things in that drawer like toothpaste and a toothbrush, makeup brushes and hair ties — things I use daily or multiple times a day. They are hard to find because there is so much dying lipstick in there.    

Count 'em.  Can you find 12?

Count 'em.  Can you find 12?

As I wrestled with getting what I needed out of that drawer today, I was reminded that we do this in life.  We hang onto things we don’t need — things that aren’t serving us anymore.  The phone conversation that left you feeling uncared for, the worry about your children or finances or job that keeps playing on repeat in your brain, the terrible hurt that left you brokenhearted years ago are all like my lipsticks.  They are taking up space in a place that you need to actually use multiple times a day and they make it difficult for you to use that space well.

As we say goodbye to 2016, it’s the perfect time to release some of the things that are not worth keeping.  Cue Disney’s Frozen “Let it Go” by Idina Menzel.  When we hang on to worry, pain, stress, ____ (you fill in the blank), it holds us in a victim mentality and keeps us blaming others.  We’ll never find joy there.  

We have a choice — hang on to things that hold us back or let go of them.  Maybe you need to enlist some extra support to let things go or perhaps you just need to get still and let yourself work some of it out.  Take a step today because no one needs an entire drawer devoted to the death of lipstick. 

Let Go

I watched a women last week maneuver up a 25 foot pole, walk across an inclined pole at that height, move over a tight rope with side ropes to hang onto, shimmy across a pole with one line to grab hold of arriving at the zip line platform completely in tact — body, mind and emotions.  However, when it was time for her to step off the platform, let go of the rope and enjoy the ride down the zip line, she couldn’t let go.  Stepping off the platform was a completely different experience from hanging on for dear life.  Letting go is so unnatural.  

These hard places, these difficult seasons, these places of blood, sweat and tears are all worth it when the thing that is making it difficult resolves — when we have a victory, a big W that brings us to a wonderful conclusion.  But there are some hard places, difficult seasons, blood-sweat-tears that don’t end with a W in our column.  Sometimes the only resolve comes from letting go.  

Letting go seems so impossible when you’ve poured so much into it.  It leaves you standing in front of your community, business partners, family with nothing to show for all that you’ve invested.  It almost always seems like if you could just give a little more time, a little more effort, a little more money, things will start to work out.  

Relinquishing your right to hold onto something that is precious to you is the most painful thing you will ever do. 

Letting go of personal expectations and surrendering the ideal for reality requires a totally different kind of release.  Twenty-five feet up on a wire with a handle on a rope is painful, scary, difficult and seems so very hard, but twenty-five feet up and letting go of the rope is near impossible.  When you let go, you create space for something better -- better for you, better for them, better for the community. 

What is your cherished person, thing, desire, habit, position you need to let go of?

When you think about relinquishing, what do you find yourself doing?

What next step might you need to take in order to move closer to laying it down?


Start at the Finish Line

Start at the Finish Line

The Phases of Transition

Count the number of times you’ve moved. Add the number of times your family size has changed — siblings that were born after you, the time you got married, had your own children, etc.  Keep calculating by adding the times you’ve changed schools.  Include in your total every job you’ve ever had.  Have you lost count yet?  My family size changed the day I was born.  That’s the first transition I was a part of.  Three years later my dad took a new job that moved us hundreds of miles away.  In my short 50 years (notice the use of the word “short”), I’ve experienced 40 transitions like the ones you are trying to count.  But that’s okay because I went through the transition training in Jr high, right?  NOT!  If life is made up of transitions which are full of uncertainty (and we all enjoy uncertainty), why wouldn’t there be some kind of equipping for transitions?  

In the ancient cultures, there were rituals that marked the season changes and the passage of time throughout life.  Each of these rituals helped children understand the process of transition.  Few cultures have managed to hang onto ceremonies or rituals that provide equipping for transition. Current day rituals or ceremonies you might be familiar with are the Jewish bar mitzvah and the Latino Quinceanera.

The Quinceanera, a huge party for girls turning 15 that rivals the extravagance of a wedding, marks the transition from childhood to adulthood.  Early in the evening the teenage girl hands her doll to a younger sibling to show that she is putting away childhood.  At some point in the evening, her father ceremonially replaces her flat sandals with heels to signify her transition to adulthood.   At the close of the evening, she carries a scepter symbolizing she has authority over her own life.  The entire maturation process is compressed into one memorable event that dramatizes the transformation of a young person from dependency to independence.

Start with the End

This ceremony illustrates the three stages of transition. The phases of transition are commonplace — beginning, middle, ending.  However, it’s the order of these steps that throw us off.  A transition starts with the ending.  All transitions must begin with a conclusion. At a Quinceanera this is illustrated when the teenager hands her doll off to someone younger. She is letting go of something that played an important role in her former season. Grand finales seem better suited for the end but in transition it’s required that you start with a letting go of the old.

Stop during the Intermission

The middle, the in-between or the intermission allows you to stop the action and take a breath.  Our society continuously calls for us to speed up, move faster, run to the finish line.  Seldom do you find anyone calling for a pause. This happens in the middle of the Quinceanera when the father exchanges his daughters shoes.  Everything stops, the dancing, the music, the party atmosphere and everyone gets quiet in order to reflect.  Transitions, by their very design, are engineered for the purpose of slowing things down.  

End with the Beginning

After the letting go, the slowing down, you can now arrive at the beginning.  When the 15 year old girl is handed her scepter, she has now arrived at the opening act of adulthood.  All transitions end with a new beginning.

Transitions can set you up or trip you up. If they’ve been tripping you up, take a look at the beginning, middle, end.  Would it help if you progressed through the end, then the middle, then the beginning?

If you need support in your current transition, email me at