This year marks a pivotal moment in my career. Year 10 as a teacher, trainer, and educator. Maybe it’s something about heading into the double digits that has me checking and double checking my occupational trajectory. Am I keeping the promises I have made to myself?

If it were up to me I’d sit by a rainy window and write all day long for the joy of it. The rest of my life, however, dictates that I devote so much more of my time to less joyful pursuits. So consequently, I write for joy and do everything else for survival. And there is that word which has flipped over and over like a desperate fish in the net- survival. 

Survive or Thrive

We’ve all heard of the idea of surviving vs. thriving. It’s the dichotomous dynamic most of us are living in. I made many promises to do the latter over the last few years and yet here I am again wondering if I’ve kept those promises. I promised to downshift into a pathway of life that allows for emotional, spiritual and health focused growth. For each promise I broke, I realized I was unwilling to give up something for my greater good.

I still wanted to “prove” myself by arriving early and staying late at work- a habit I’ve been trying to break for years. Every Saturday I’ve given up to attend a workshop or lead a training event was a promise broken to my family. Each evening I microwaved a quick meal instead of crafting a nutritious dinner was another promise broken. And every Saturday I spent grading or cleaning instead of walking in the sunshine and enjoying a morning breeze in nature- missed it again. 

Something has to Break

Truthfully, who is truly able to compartmentalize their life into neat boxes and not let it all bleed over consistently and disrupt boundaries? In the grand scheme of life, something has to break. We get to decide what and move it to the back burner. We get to decide when to let something go so that something else of greater value can be focused upon.

So why, with all this authority to captain our own ship in life, do we allow life to toss us around as we hold on so tightly? Many times we’re holding tightly to immature versions of our lives, our true selves, our life’s purpose or even the most important people in our lives. I’m wondering lately what would happen if I stopped holding on so tightly? I wonder if opening my palms and letting go would allow for other greater opportunities?  

Letting Go

Reflecting on last year and making hopeful plans for this year, I’m thinking of letting go. I’m letting go of Lochness like fears. I’m moving out of old roles of surviving to thrive in peace and joy. Somewhere deep inside, some of us may be wondering where to find the courage to risk the illusion of safety and duty for the uncertainty of freedom and peace. But wondering about the illusion of freedom is not freedom at all.

What does one let go of to thrive? What promises do we keep to ourselves? Take chances on today’s promises. We can’t know for sure how things will turn out in the years ahead but we do know how we feel about the decisions made today. So let us become the advocates for our own bodies, minds and souls. Most important of all may we listen to the promptings of our inner most hearts, reminding us daily of the promises we made to ourselves. We made them for a reason. Let go of the lesser for the greater.

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