Letting Go to Let it In

gregwestfall

Sometimes, we hold on to things tightly because we’re afraid of what will happen if we let go.

Relationships, jobs, routines.

We grasp them tightly. They’re familiar, comforting.

But what happens when we know they’re not working anymore? What do we do when we know they’re not right?

It’s easy to continue our existence tethered to these things. But the adventure comes when we release them, when we open ourselves to new experiences and opportunities.

And that’s precisely where I’m at: knowing I have to let go, terrified of falling and failing, but willing to risk everything because my dreams are worth it.

What have you had to let go of in the past to get to where you are now? What do you need to release right now?

{photograph by Greg Westfall, used under Creative Commons attribution license}

On Being Humble

starislandartshed

Somewhere in the past, I discovered humility and put it on the shelf of virtues I wanted to possess. I chased it, searched for it, was willing to do whatever I must to possess it.

But I never properly understood it.

I thought to be humble was to believe you were not better than anyone else. And in some ways, it is precisely that: to see everyone as equals. Perhaps we have different talents and strengths, but we all possess that infinite potential of being.

My humble was something else: I believed that to possess this virtue, I had to put myself down. When people complimented me, I brushed those compliments off, afraid the confidence they might inspire would diminish the humility I’d worked to create.

I had it all wrong.

It was only recently that I saw humility for what it is: the willingness to give of oneself, one’s knowledge, one’s wisdom. Humility allows you to be confident, to believe in yourself, to accept compliments graciously. Humility is passing what you know onto the next generation in hopes they will shine more brightly than you.

I’ve stopped criticizing myself. I’ve stopped telling myself that I’m not enough. And I’m rediscovering my confidence. Because more than anything else, I want to help people shine like supernovas.

How do you understand humility? And what virtues have you chased?

Romance

brooklynkiss

In my life, there have been a handful of couples that capture in the smallest of their interactions the deepest sense of love and respect for one another. You can tell just by looking at the ways they look at one another how deeply in love they are, how they’re falling over again, further and farther. It’s his glance that says “no man alive is luckier than I am”. It’s the way she moves to him, by him, near him, as if they were magnets.

I doubted the existence of this love at many points — such a thing is natural when you’ve had your heart broken or been deceived by someone you trusted. I’ve gone into many relationships believing it was the One, that he was the One, to discover otherwise. At one point, I thought the love I was looking for was a collective dream, a product of poetry and stories and longing. But life proved that theory wrong.

While I was visiting Napa, Melissa and Sean showed me how love can light up a whole family, how it can be true and passionate and nurturing, how it can grow rather than fade (and grow so much that a whole new amazing little person appears). Another friend named Melissa and her husband Joel have shown me the joy and laughter and beauty in love, how you can create a home filled with warmth and art and memories.

These couples have an easiness with one another, a sense of fully settling into not only who they are as part of the duet, but who they are as individuals. It’s there in the little ways, like how my friends Jenifer and Troy have mentioned that they go to bed together every night, just sitting and reading together before the lights go out.

Some of the men I’ve dated have been so different from me that I’ve forgotten that sometimes a partner can fit into your sacred spaces, can challenge you to grow, can make you feel safe even as you’re leaning into your fears.

I might still be looking, but at least I have an idea of what I’m looking for.

Where did you learn about love? What did you discover about it?

Unapologetically You

desire

A few months ago, I took up archery. I’d been wanting to try my hand at the sport since I was in middle school, but the timing never worked out. Work got in the way, school got in the way, life got in the way. But finally, everything fell serendipitously into place: a beginner’s lesson; a teacher who was willing to work with me and a friend for free; a correspondence that led to a group of skilled traditional archers who have helped me improve significantly in a short period of time.

Archery has become an addiction, a way for me to meditate and connect with myself. I breathe. My whole body engages. My mind sharpens. The world behind me fades slightly as I focus.

Somewhere, in that stillness, I started to find pieces of myself. I discovered my desires and how they fuel me.  Yes, Danielle LaPorte and her brilliant The Desire Map have also played a role in this awakening. But it was archery that allowed me to finally own one of my core desires: to feel powerful.

Power has always scared me, because somewhere in my mind, I equated it with control and manipulation, with taking advantage of others. But the power I have discovered comes from full presence, from stillness, from openness, from compassion.

Somehow, stepping into that desire made everything else I wanted clear. It has been changing the way I operate in this world. I’ve stopped obsessing about what others think about me and started celebrating the wild, unique individual I am.

What are your core desires? Are you owning them yet?

Disable Google Analytics

Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.