you and me

Don’t Sculpt Your Soon from Then and Now.

I’ve been doing a lot of letting go recently. All my life I’ve held on to things so closely. I’ve held them tight in my chest, deep inside my heart, clutched fiercely in my hands.

So very many things that hurt. I’ve been full to the brim with all sorts of poison, while dreaming of being pure and light.

So, I’ve been bringing letting go to the forefront, seeing what’s there. What it feels like to let old things go, asking myself who it is I really want to be.

I’ve nudged at my resistance — gently, kindly, and with loving patience, along with trepidation and some sadness — wondering why I hold on to some things so belligerently, so completely, with the kind of focus and commitment that would be applauded if it wasn’t so very damaging.

And last night, during my Yin yoga class, I settled into the deep breathing and the held postures, enjoying the feeling of active release and focusing deeper inside than my everyday changing attention. But when the teacher asked us to start breathing in Let and breathing out Go, it hit me.

All this time I’d been focusing on letting go of the past, a dialogue between now and then. An active letting go of the old hurts and the righteousness and the stubbornness and the poison and the exhaustion and the confusion, yes. And oh, is that so good, and so important!

But I’d left something out, something key. I’d not been looking at what I hold on to about the future.

Because we live just as much in the future as we do in the past. We sculpt our ideal futures from where we are now and hold them as clarity, and we speak just as passionately and consistently to our hopes, to our future self and the life we hope to create, as we do to our past self and the regrets we hold.

And in doing this, we have just as much chance to suffocate ourselves and our lives as we do when we hold on to the old things.

We dream from what we can imagine, our dreams locked into the structure of the image we hold of ourselves right now — what we’re capable of, where we’re going, what we can measure and touch, building our soon on the blocks of then and now. And with this we do ourselves an incredible disservice.

Who you or I can be in six months, a year, 10 years, could be someone so utterly different from who we are now that we look back in awe. What work we’re doing in the world, how that will look, how we can give back, how we can be with the people and communities we love, where we live, who with, it could all be unimaginable from where we are now.

Let go. Yes.

But keep letting go of the future just as much as you let go of the past. Let yourself be unrecognizable, your future unimaginable.

Dream, yes!

And when you do dream, dream of what you want your future to include, but always, always let go of the specifics. Leave this to life. Dream of an extraordinary love, yes, but drop the how and when and what it will look like. Dream of a home that you feel safe and grounded and in love with, yes, but let go of the rest.

Dream of living a life of deep service that enriches the world, yes, but don’t stress if you can’t yet see how. Dream of being financially stable, yes, but let go of exactly how that will come about. Roll around in your dreams, melt into them, and be utterly moved by them, and keep letting go, letting go, letting go.

Open to life.

Trust it.

Instead of the details, focus instead on who you are today. Take full responsibility for the choices you make. Around money. And your time. And your relationships. And your environment. And your workplace. And your community. Make today the fullest it can be: the most purposeful, the most alive, the most self-loving.

And within your day, always, always, give space to life, to creative inspiration, to deep breaths, to being present to the world around you, to giving time to what makes you happy. And stay alert for the opportunities that come your way, the ideas you have, the excited spark, the pull in your belly and in your heart. Get to know who you are.

And let go. Let life do the rest.

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Anna-Marie Swan is an incorrigible word tinkerer, who, after years of false starts and the kind of writer’s block that would have left her bald if she was a hair-puller, now writes and writes. And loves it. She is energized by creativity and innovation, especially when it is purpose-driven and aims to bring something really special into the world. Never satisfied unless she is in the midst of multiple projects, she also creates beautiful and response graphics and websites with her partner, W. And since she’s really only at her happiest when birthing a new idea and shaping it into something innovative or beautiful, Anna-Marie and W have just bought a cottage in France and are excitedly choosing wallpaper and tiles. Sadly for W, Anna-Marie seems to have extremely good (read, expensive) taste. You can read more at Gold-Mended Life.

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