Over the weekend I had dinner and a couple of drinks with a friend.
A year and a half ago he left his job to pursue a business that he had started on the side.
He didn’t wait for everything to be perfect. When he knew he could cover his basic living expenses, he made the leap.
He let go!
He realized that by hanging on too tightly to the certainty of his job, he would be denying himself the greatest opportunity.
The opportunity to follow his heart.
I am happy to report that he is having more success than he could have imagined.
And it really got me thinking about why we hang on to things so tightly, even if they’re not really serving us.
Thinking You Have Something To Lose
I used to always think I had something to lose. I held on so tightly to everything.
I held on tight to relationships, my job, money – fearing that if I loosened my grip then I would lose it all.
Then I did lose it all.
Because I was so afraid of losing it.
That was a few years ago. Since then I’ve regained everything and more.
I no longer have such a tight grip on everything. I had to learn to let go.
Letting go is so hard. But I had to learn it before the really good stuff came my way.
I let go of having so much fear.
I let go of stuff – lots of it.
I let go of friends that no longer served me.
I let go of habits that were destructive.
I once heard a story about the Dalai Lama. He meditated on death six times a day. My initial response was, “how morbid.” But, also, “how interesting” and, when framed as an honoring of the impermanence of everything…how life affirming.
Then I stumbled upon Steve Jobs now famous Stanford Graduation speech, where he shared:
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
I’ve circled around to believe that honoring your own impermanence on a daily basis, owning the fact that you’re going to leave the planet and you don’t know when, can be an immensely freeing experience. Saddening at times, yes. But freeing and empowering nonetheless.
Because what doesn’t matter drops away, creating more space to explore what does matter, to take actions and risk pushing the bounds of certainty.
When you ‘let go’ and embrace the impermanence of everything, there is really nothing to lose.
Then you become capable of creating magic in both your life and the world around you.
P.S. What can you let go of? How would honoring your impermanence change the way you make decisions in your life?