Updated: Aug 28
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I nearly drowned because I didn't know how to let go.
I was 7 or 8 at the time and my church was having a picnic at the beach. It was nearing sunset and all the kids were summoned away from the shoreline to where we had pitched a tent.
For whatever reason, a group of us kiddos wandered away from the gathering BACK to the shoreline. We treaded the receding tides while we chatted childishly.
I don't remember much, but I do remember this:
As I walked along the water's edge the sea took one of my slippers!
I was pretty upset about it, not because my parents would be mad but because it was MY slipper, and I wanted it back!
So, I stupidly went after my slipper - right into the evening's rising tides.
After tussling and struggling with the waves I recovered my lost shoe!
As I triumphantly raised it in one hand waving it around like a flag, my friends stared at me wide-eyed from the shoreline.
I couldn't understand the horror in their eyes till I realized how far out the water had taken me from shore.
I could barely stand!
I battled the ocean for a bit, and I guess one of the kids - in panic - ran to get my father because the next thing I remember was getting a brutal whooping from him as he dragged me to the vehicle to get dried off.
If any Caribbean person knows anything about lashes it's that those on wet skin are the most memorable - and NOT in a good way.
The Art Of Letting Go
I've always had a difficult time letting go: toxic friendships, relationships, grudges, personal effects - you name it. I could play my mistakes, failures and heartache over and over again like a record while simultaneously punishing myself in the process.
I often yearned for things I had lost, wondering what I could have done differently to retain them.
As a very tender person and self-proclaimed healer of the world I take most things personally (we're unlearning this).
I've tried "letting go" for most of my life and have always ended up failing miserably.
But when the pandemic hit I found myself trapped with a lot of unresolved issues I needed to deal with. I learned there were some things I didn't need and that frequently purging our lives is vital for optimal living.
The art of letting go, I've found, is founded in understanding these three things:
Ask yourself the following:
UTILITY - HOW does this thing/relationship/space serve me?
RELEVANCE - Does this STILL benefit me?
ACCOMODATION - Does my life have space to accommodate it/them anymore? (Have I outgrown this?)
It's probably time for some spring cleaning (yes, yes, even though it's summer). Some of us are hoarders because we've become comfortable in the relationships and spaces we've outgrown. And this is not to say that if an entity in our lives doesn't check all three boxes of utility, relevance and accommodation that they get the boot.
Sometimes it means reshuffling and reprioritizing the things in our life. Other times it means throwing some things out with the trash.
For example, a job.
Sometimes we take a particular job for a specific reason. It doesn't always mean that we see ourselves creating a career around it, but that we need the income or experience to one day further ourselves in a particular direction.
But sometimes we get comfortable. The money could be great (or not...) but our environment has become toxic, our every day tasks do not match our talents and the job we're in has no room for upward mobility.
It also means that sometimes we start our careers out on one path but end up on another, for example an engineer who re-routes to entrepreneurship.
We are not stagnant beings.
Our lives are continuously evolving and we should be moving and expanding as things around us change.
Try using this short survey and filling in the blanks for yourself:
UTILITY - _________ allows me to do XYZ (something important or necessary) which improves my quality of life.
RELEVANCE - _______________ solves an issue or improves my quality of my life.
ACCOMODATION - I can continue to accommodate ______________ because I have the time, resources, energy and finances to do so. ______________ does not drain me and leave me empty in ANY way.
Did you do the survey above? Discovered that you need to reframe someone or something's position in your life?
Whatever your discovery, always choose you.
Life is too short to live with regrets and resentment.