Sunday, January 11, 2015

Move Forward by Letting Go

Dear friends,

I wrote Move Forward in 2015 about setting goals and
making progress in the new year. Yet at times, the way we move forward is to let go of what is holding us back.

I think of this often as I pinch off the dead blossoms on my marigold plants. Pruning allows new blooms to flourish.

I also think of it as I see the small stump in my flower beds. I can't remember why we cut down the holly tree so long ago, but the old stump has its own gray swirly charm and beauty right there in my garden. It's a reminder that we had to let something go, and that's just part of life.

I think also of the pioneers. We've all heard tales about piles of household goods left alongside the trail. Travelers had to make tough choices about what to haul along for future use or what to lay aside so they could even arrive at their destination at all. They had already had to let go of their old lives to prepare for their new adventures, but there was often more laying aside to do along the way. They had to let go to move forward. So do we.

I realize that letting go is not an "all or nothing" deal. We can start by letting go of a little, and see what happens. Then we can let go of more as necessary. That's the approach I am taking, and it seems to work for me.

I'm letting go of a lot of clutter - books, papers, clothes, stuff. The less I have, the less I need to shuffle, dust, reorganize, store... I'll have more time and space to LIVE. Not only that, but other people can really use many of the items I don't need anymore. I sold several books to a used bookstore for store credit, passed along a bunch of them to my adult daughters (only what they could use), bagged up a huge pile of clothes for Father's Closet (a free clothing source at a local church), and have started boxing up excess household items. I've just plain dumped a lot of other clutter like old papers and clothes with stains. The trash can and the giveaway box are my friends.  I need to repeat one of my new mantras, "I will not curate clutter!" Maybe you can't bear to part with a memory. You can take a photo of a sentimental item that you otherwise don't need - and then give it away. Sometimes I tell myself, "This was part of the old me. I don't identify with this anymore, and I don't need the reminder. Time to clear out, start fresh, and move along!" Let it go!

I'm letting go of bad habits. One of my bad habits is not making the best use of my time. When I think of adding an activity, I need to ask, "What is this going to add to my life? Is it going to make me a better person or is it going to distract me from more important priorities? If I still need to do it, how can I minimize any negative impact on my schedule?" I also need to look at my current activities, even "little" ones that distract me. I installed StayFocusd on my laptop to set a limit on daily time spent on computer games. I like it because I can still play a reasonable amount to relieve stress, but I don't get sucked into it, so it's easier to get my work done and get to bed on time. Another of my bad habits has been not paying enough attention to what foods I eat. I can choose to stop eating unhealthy foods and start eating life-giving ones. Cutting out sugar wasn't as hard as I expected, and now I've got my sights set on some other reductions and eliminations. Hopefully, I'll be letting go of even more pounds than I already have! Let's move along to health and productivity one step at a time!

I've been letting go of my role in unhealthy relationships and influences. For some people this means cutting someone out of their lives entirely. That's not always possible or necessary, but I can still stop enabling toxic behavior. I can step back, set boundaries, limit time, guard the level of emotional intimacy, change the dynamics. I can let go of the need to fix every situation, and instead let people face their own consequences. I can let go of placating those who are trying to manipulate me. If I can't completely shut out the voices, I mentally reach for my emotional volume dial and tune it way down. Then I can think, "What would this message mean if it was properly expressed? Is it valid? Does it apply to me?" That way, I can let go of knee-jerk reactions and learn to respond thoughtfully and kindly. I also don't need to expose myself to toxic spew or read things that completely stress me out. I can choose the music I listen to, the videos I watch on YouTube, the blogs and books I read. I can ask myself, "Does this message empower me for progress - or does it take me back where I don't need to go?" I want to live wisely in who and what I allow to affect my life. Sometimes that means letting go.

I want to be a strong and healthy woman: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Like a pioneer, I need to move forward by letting go.

(Watch Pioneer by Honeytree for a great encouragement on moving forward in God's strength.)

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

Do you like to take pictures? Check out Sweet Shot Tuesday. My entry this week will be one of the stump pictures. 

P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday Photography Post Up each Tuesday


  1. I loved the thoughts and sentiments of this post. Very inspiring, thank you! I often think of the pioneer women and what they had to leave behind... They were a practical group and I hope to bless my family with the same wisdom. I am visiting from Coffee and Conversation Link Up :)

  2. Thank you! This is such a timely post for me. I am struggling with letting go of unhealthy relationships in my life. Your words encouraged me.

  3. Virginia, Hi. This is my first visit. Nice to meet you. Letting go is a great theme for the new year. Doesn't it feel good to get rid of "stuff"?!! Thank you for your post.