Time to Let Go
Would you like to free up space and time to live your ideal life? For many of us, life was simpler in childhood—fewer responsibilities and plenty of time for play and following our curiosity wherever it led us. Are you ready to let go of possessions and activities to free up space and time to lead your ideal life?
I’m writing this while waiting for a charity to collect an empty double wardrobe and two cupboards from my writing room. Letting go of them is the culmination of a year of consistent decluttering after years of yo-yo decluttering.
Journaling, in the form of free expressive writing to prompts, is an exercise in letting go. Expressive writing flows when you let go of controlling what you write. Don’t think; just write fast in response to the prompt.
Many of us collect some items beyond what we need or will use in the next few months. I accumulate candles, yet would only light them for visitors. Thanks to insights revealed in my journal, I now enjoy letting go of candles by lighting them for my own enjoyment. You can use journaling to reflect on any accumulated physical items you would like to let go of.
What do you accumulate beyond necessity?
What are you most resistant to letting go of?
What are the benefits of keeping them?
What are the rewards of selling or giving away a possession to someone who wants it?
Journaling is the key to my decluttering success. Extending the concept of flow to my possessions and activities has made letting go easier. I welcome them in, appreciate them while they last and then let them go.
Keeping the flow under control requires physical or time boundaries on the reservoir of whatever is flowing. You may also need boundaries to limit the inflow and ease the outflow.
My inflow of books to read is restricted by the shelf-space in my bookcase. When it is full, I have the choice of letting go of buying books or letting go of books I have read. Letting go is my only option.
There is always a choice about what to let go of.
From ‘Veganuary’ to ‘Stoptober,’ we are encouraged to give up something for a month. Why not use a calendar month to recalibrate one of the flows in your life? Can you rise to the challenge of not buying or borrowing books for a month? Or can you let go of two books for every one you buy? Either option is a way to prove to yourself that you can adjust your rate of book flow.
The same sense of flow can be applied to your daily, weekly and monthly schedules. Does your schedule flow or is there stagnation, frustration or overwhelm? How much room is there for spontaneity?
Decluttering of my schedule was forced on me as striving to write along with an adverse drug reaction left me struggling to cope. I suspended my self-imposed writing deadlines and prioritised self-care and journaling for a month. And then another month. Letting go and letting go until I felt able to cope. I had freed up the time needed to tackle my backlog of urgent, important tasks and to pursue my favourite writing projects.
Ask yourself, where are the backlogs in your life? Which of your backlog projects or tasks are both urgent and important?
Closing the gap between your life and your ideal life is likely to require the letting go of aspects of your current life.
What do you need to let go of to live your ideal life?
Are you in a fit state to lead your ideal life?
What are the early signs that you are overdoing things?
It would be hellish for me to restrict the flow of incoming writing projects: a sustainable writing outflow is bound to result in a backlog. I felt guilty about all my unfinished projects. Why aren’t they finished? Because there is no plan for finishing them. They are experiments in writing a travel book, writing a series of linked short stories…they are potential projects rather than unfinished projects. Renaming them has removed their weight from my shoulders without abandoning them. Renaming can be a quick, easy and effective way to let go of both a sense of a backlog and any associated guilt.
Taking on anything new or prioritising one project involves letting go of something else. I have had to relinquish projects I felt committed to, had to relinquish hobbies I had enjoyed for decades and had to relinquish my tendency to automatically agree to take on new commitments. If you are like me and tend to say an automatic yes, then ask for time to reflect. Extend your reflection to commitments and hobbies you said yes to years ago.
Do you (still) want to say yes to it?
How much space and time do you want to allocate to it?
What will you let go of (are you letting go of) to give it that space and time?
Letting go is easier if you have a clear sense of the life you want to lead and realistic boundaries for the time and space you want to allocate to activities and possessions. Take time to write in your journal about your ideal life, what you want to let go of and to explore your reasons for any struggle to let go.
It’s time to let go. Open your journal, choose a prompt, and don’t think; just write fast in response.
© 2019 Julie E Pratt
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Navigating a river of travelogues, whirlpools of free-writing journaling, and plunging into the ocean of fantasy short stories.