We create a vast construct of our lives. A towering city of activities, accomplishments, commitments, relationships, interests, purchases, habits, work and plans. We strive very hard to maintain it all. And to keep building.
Some of it we love. Some of it we need. Some of it we aren’t that fond of. Some mistakes we wish we could demolish. Some of it’s our idea, but some of it comes from others’ expectations. Some of it comes from our own expectations. Some of those expectations change over time. Or, they should, but we’re so busy building and maintaining the vast city that we don’t take time to review what we really should be building.
What happens if the city grows in a direction you don’t really love, because you didn’t control the growth?
What happens if the city is stripped away?
What happens if it becomes to big to handle?
When you step back from your life for a moment…how does it look with the perspective a little distance gives?
How much of it matters?
How much of it would you change if you could?
I’ve practiced yoga off and on for years. More off than on, but the last two years I’ve been more consistent and it makes a huge difference in my mental and physical health. One of the things I enjoy doing periodically is going through Adriene Mishler’s 30 day sequences. I’ve done them each several times and I’m in the middle of one again now. This sequence, is called Yoga Camp. It includes a mantra along with each day’s practice. The mantras are generally not that meaningful to me. There’s nothing wrong with them, it just doesn’t resonate all that much for me. I know they affect others differently. But, the other day, for some reason, one just really hit me hard.
Adriene’s mantra was “I release.”
I’m not sure if it’s the years of restlessness in my work coming to a head. If it’s thinking about traveling light like I talked about a few weeks ago. Maybe it’s working with refugees in Greece recently. Maybe it’s summer and having fewer responsibilities. Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s a whole bunch of those things coming together at one time.
But, “I release” really struck a chord. I sat a on my yoga mat for a good long while and the things I need to release just washed over me.
I’m ready to release my long held expectations of what my life would and should be. And those expectations that have come more recently…what my life will be.
I’m ready to release the “should’s” that tend to guide my path.
I’m ready to release my constant need to become…something else.
I’m ready to release my need to be perfect.
I’m ready to release my need to be in constant control. Not of others, but of myself, my actions and my emotions.
I’m ready to release anything I own.
I’m ready to release the need to succeed as a measure of worth.
I’m ready to stop trying so hard and just be.
I’m ready to walk into what’s next with a clean slate and space to grow into.
Releasing things…letting things go that no longer serve us…old hurts for example, can be a difficult process. Even if we want to let go, it can be hard. This decision–the “I choose to release” part is only a first step.
This week’s art started with me thinking like an illustrator. I was thinking about the idea of carrying all these things that we really need to let go. It’s like carrying a backpack full of heavy rocks around with us everywhere we go. Or, if you’ve more than a backpack full, it’s like dragging a wagon of them around with you.
But, I just couldn’t get started with that piece. Which is a problem, because I’m headed out camping this weekend and I need to get this done a few days earlier than usual!
I’m struggling with art right now. And having been out of the studio for a month makes the situation worse. So, instead of the backpack and rocks piece, I started one that’s much different. Much less literal. More intuitive. More difficult. And released it from the need to be good. I decided to just get in and paint while sitting with the ideas from this podcast. It became a Pushme–Pullyou piece about freedom and captivity.
So, here’s the question for you today. How would you finish the sentence, “I release…?”
Want to process the ideas in this podcast further? Download the Coffee Talk Worksheet or put this week’s art on your phone: Episode 37 Downloads