Holding On In A World That’s Always Letting Go
An author I respect shared a life practice he began several years ago that has helped him stay focused on what truly matters. Every Thursday, he lets go of something. Anything from resigning from a board position to giving up that extra spoonful of sugar in the morning cup of coffee—the significance of the action doesn’t matter, it’s about cultivating a practice of surrender and creating more space in the day to day for creation and generation to occur.
Surrender is important. Yoga has given me the space to practice it, and my faith has given me tools to apply it to life’s most difficult moments. Intentionally creating more margin than content in our stories results in the miraculous. It leaves room for the divine to act in ways that we could never have engineered through our own design. Surrender, margin, and space creates the opportunity for surprises, goodness, creativity, and blessing. Miracles do indeed happen in the margins of our lives.
A life built upon a commitment to margin is likely also an open-handed one. By that, I mean that it’s choosing constant disruption. Embracing surrender as a core virtue will mean transitioning, losing, giving up, walking away, exiting, and saying goodbye before you thought you’d be ready to do so. But this is what transformation requires. Nothing changes if you don’t change. So, if we are serious about creating the conditions for miracles in our everyday lives, we must have the courage to live surrendered to what margin will cost us.
This likely isn’t a new message for you. I even hesitate to share it because it seems that the admonition to “let go” is all around us. Quit your job, leave that relationship, prioritize self-care over social commitments, spiritual communities are passe, and do more with less! These phrases are everywhere—in our social feeds, designed on chic t-shirts and coffee mugs, and making their way into the slogans of lifestyle brands.
So in a society that’s always letting go, what are we holding onto?
The universe demands balance. Although we rejoice, we also know that we will surely grieve at some point. As we fall asleep each night, we trust that we will wake to greet a new day. And after we’ve experienced abundance, the act of generosity feels natural and sweet. Yin and Yang, sowing and reaping, the law of attraction. Whatever you call this phenomenon, it is a truth that permeates the physical and divine world alike.
“To hold” in Greek has more texture than it does in English. Words like carry, own, master, and cherish provide a fuller picture of what this word was originally meant to call us toward.
When I consider the emptying of my life, the surrender and giving up, the letting go, walking away, and cleansing that I’m committed to, I’m deeply proud of the generative space that it has afforded me. I have seen firsthand the miracles in the margin of my life. But the equally important next horizon is what I will carry, own, master, and cherish within this space. Once my hands are free of carrying too much and I’ve taken a “palms up and open” posture toward my future, what is there to hold?
As I wrestle with these questions, I invite you to join me. Will you carry hope for a friend when they’ve lost it? Will you own the next courageous step you know you need to take for your future? Will you master that hobby you know deep down is your purpose? Will you cherish the incredible ordinariness of today?
Hold on, friends. Bravely name what you’ll carry, own, master, and cherish, because these things you hold will define your next season.
It is for this purpose that you ever let go in the first place. You made room, you surrendered, you cleared the space—for this, for them, for it, for now.
I won’t pretend this isn’t scary. For some of us, letting go is the easy part. We can edit down our lives, but do we actually know what we want to build?
I will warn you, if you start holding on, it will be obvious. It will expose you. It will be vulnerable and risky. You may hold onto the wrong thing, person, experience, environment or dream. You may choose to stop holding something mid-season. It might embarrass you or defy social expectations.
If you hold on and really commit to building the life that you not only want but deserve, it will take every ounce of the miraculous power that your margin has afforded you. Don’t let this fear restrain you from what’s ahead. Carry, own, master, cherish—hold on, dear ones. Because very soon, you’ll be asked to lay it down again for the “more” your next level of growth requires of you. And so it will be in the balance of your story—letting go and holding on to the more, to the growth, to the change, to the generative, courageous story that you’re living.