Last night, I tried to map out all of my current commitments and activities. This is something that I like to do every now and again, to get a sense of what’s going on in my life and see which areas seem a bit over-burdened and which are a bit neglected. It’s a simple exercise that never fails to generate some useful insights – and undertaking a version of it at the ‘Letting Go’ retreat made me realise that I’m not alone in finding it helpful.
Yesterday’s results felt different. They also looked different. Rather than being a crazy, labyrinth-like page crammed with tasks and “to dos”, it was almost, well, sparse would be pushing it a bit but it was certainly a less crowded vision than usual. There is space for new things to come in. Moreover, it is getting to the stage where everything left feels good. I even felt inspired to draw little heart-shaped balloons around the subject areas, a doodle that seems to symbolize a growing sense of lightness, positivity and love that I’ve been trying to nurture since the retreat.
The change is the result of not only relinquishing certain roles and responsibilities, but also simply taking a step back. As well as not rushing in to “sign up” for new stuff immediately, I am endeavouring to let go of expectations that I place on myself. For example, I love crafting, particularly knitting, but so often I end up feeling that it is another chore to have to complete as I take on too many projects and set too many deadlines. I want to move back to a position where it’s about creativity and not trying to prove myself (to whom? I don’t know. Probably myself).
Another area where I am trying to let go of pressure on myself is with my happiness project. All this month, I have been working on a series of daily goals about health and wellbeing, which I have been enjoying and feeling the benefits of. However, the larger targets have somewhat fallen by the wayside, mainly due to a lack of time. Normally this would generate a lot of angst and a sense of failure: “I have let myself down because I haven’t ticked these things off a list that I have made up.” Instead, I’m letting go of the self-reproach and the pressure. I’m going to keep going at it for another month, to see how I get on. Perhaps I will find the time in February to do these things. Perhaps I won’t. Either way, I want to enjoy the process of doing it, rather than fixating solely on the end result. A lesson that I would do well to apply more widely – particularly into the new spaces that are emerging as the letting go continues.