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The devil we know?

Updated: Nov 9

I sit and watch the last of the leaves hang on to the tree.

Are they hanging on for dear life, worrying about what the next phase will be or are they just waiting for a gentle breeze to take them to the earth?

We hang on so tightly to what we know, we often miss what is waiting there for us if we would just let go.

Why do we hang on?

The devil we know?

We aren’t good enough?

Complacency?

Worry?

Anxiety?

Self-righteousness?

Stubbornness?

Fear?

All of the things we let go of, are still a part of us. They are still pieces of who we are. They don’t disappear, they are there to be used again in another way, to remind us of learned lessons, to teach us about growth or maybe to keep us aware.

There have been many things I have held on to for dear life, in my life. I have held on to relationships, but without letting go I would have never known complete acceptance of who I am as I am.

I have held on to beliefs about myself but without abandoning some that I outgrew, I would not be who I am today.

I have held on to jobs that did not put me in the best place for my sanity because I was afraid that the next one might be even worse. Or maybe I was comfortable with the craziness I know.

I have let go of my need to be in control, or I am trying. I grew up believing that, “if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself”. In holding so tightly onto that belief, I missed out on seeing and helping others grow.

I have even held onto clothes that do not fit for a myriad of reasons. Ah, the reasons:

They may fit again someday.

It is nice to have a pair of big jeans, just in case.

I laugh at having three sizes of clothes in my closet. Those that fit, those that used to fit and those I can wear when bloated. The laugh is not real though. The laugh is the belief that I will never truly let go of the belief that my body is often the only thing I can control. I use my body as a meter for if I am worthy. Will people still love me if I am not slim enough? Will people believe in me more if I lose weight? Am I a better writer, teacher, speaker, wife, mother, yogi, friend if I am slimmer? Do people react differently do me as my weight goes up or down?

This week I started going through my closet. I started looking at the clothes that fit and those that do not fit. Some that I felt might not fit now, still fit perfectly. Many of the items that do not fit, never fit in the first place – they were on sale and I thought they might fit someday. Actually, maybe they were on sale because they were cut weird. I have pants that are too big in the waist but fit everywhere else. I have pants that are miserably tight in the waist but baggy in the legs. I have pants that fit just right. I feel like Goldilocks each time I go try on my clothes …this one is too tight…. this one is too big …this one is juuuuusssst right.

Let it go. If I can let go of clothes that no longer make me feel comfortable. I can let go of feelings, beliefs and baggage that are weighing me down.

My brother, sister and I helped our parents clean out their work basement this week. We were appalled at how many things my stepdad had held onto. We were amazed at the old tools, scraps of chicken wire, rusted nails, empty buckets and bottles that were being kept. Maybe he is a hoarder but maybe he grew up in a time when there was not enough. He was the child of depression-era parents. You didn’t throw anything away. It was interesting seeing how the cleaning out of this part of their house affected each of them. My stepdad held on to each item for dear life and became anxious. My mom seemed lighter and happier as the stuff was cleared away.

Letting go and holding on tight. We have to be ready to let go. Others can’t force it on us. Or can they? I have held onto some things so tightly that they were destroying me yet when someone forced me to release, I found growth.

What are you holding onto?

What is holding you back?

I look at the leaves on my tree. They are changing. Some of them are still hanging on. When they decide to let go, they will dance and swirl on their way down to create a blanket for the earth. Maybe our baggage is more easily released if we think about it settling around near us but not holding us back.




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