Nov 17 2011

How to Let Go and Embrace Simplicity

Peggy McPartland

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.
- Raymond Lindquist

Letting go isn’t easy.

It’s cold and the sun is setting. It’s been raining and the cedar boughs send their deep fragrance over me.

I stand alone, watching.

The gray SUV pulls out onto the road, the tail lights glowing in the darkening day. On top of it are two well used sea kayaks.

They used to be mine.

I feel a piece of my life heading down the road.

They represent who I am or was – a strong adventurous person. It’s as if I’m giving away my life piece by piece.

Letting go isn’t the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new life.

Our belongings give us a sense of identity. We cling to them believing they represent our past, our history, and in some ways our life.

There’s strength in being able to let go. We can spend our lives acquiring things and never really feel as if it’s enough.

What you own is not who you are. It doesn’t define you as a person although it does feel like that at times.

Living more simply provides the freedom to open up to new experiences. If you’re less focused on acquiring, maintaining or hanging onto your possessions, you’re able to more fully focus on the things that bring joy and meaning to your life.

You’re not letting go of yourself; that stays with you. You’re only letting go of the things that no longer have a place in your life.

Imagine a future less cluttered and less encumbered. Imagine what life will look like living more simply.

Being settled in a simple space surrounded by your family, your friends and those things that truly have meaning will bring a deeper sense of joy than being in the most luxurious surroundings.

Rather than looking for external validation, strive to live fully and presently with a sense of openness. With that openness your creativity will flow more freely bringing a new clarity to your life.

Allow this simplicity to come from a place of abundance rather than scarcity. This isn’t about giving up anything, but making room in your life for what’s really important.

The familiarity of our things feels safe. Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything left. You’ll still have the things that are important yet feel freer and less encumbered.

Letting go brings a clearer sense of your authentic self. It adds lightness and joy, giving you more energy to fully interact with the world.

Ask yourself what your belongings represent to you. Are they enhancing your life or holding you back?

Discover what they mean to you and what letting go represents.

Let go bit by bit. Find creative ways to recreate the feelings those objects represent. Let go of the uneasiness of feeling as if you’ve lost a part of your identity.

You can make the choice to live a simpler life. The rewards are tremendous.

Today may be all you have. Do you want to spend this day crowded with excessive belongings or filled with rich experiences and the people you love?


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Photo credit: rickydavid, flickr

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Sep 22 2011

Are you living wholeheartedly?

Peggy McPartland

This week has been incredible. Everywhere I’ve turned I found inspiration. And it comes at a time when I need it most.

I’m feeling immense gratitude to those who so generously share their insight and inspiration.

I stumbled upon a truly amazing video on vulnerability and wholeheartedness. It’s inspired me and touched me deeply.

Brene′ Brown, a researcher who has spent the past decade studying the concept of wholeheartedness, is warm, funny and incredibly insightful. She speaks of authenticity, vulnerability, courage and living wholeheartedly.

I keep returning to this thought-provoking video. It’s that powerful.

Brene′ describes living wholeheartedly as having the courage to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.  It’s a very powerful and beautiful concept.

I’ve realized that in spite of the progress I’ve made, I still shield my true self from the world. I’m afraid to be seen.

We hate the feeling of being vulnerable. It scares us. Yet we can’t have true connection without allowing ourselves to really be seen for who we are, not who we think others want us to be.

Why is it that we think we have to be strong and brave and be in control? Wouldn’t it be better to be vulnerable and open?  I know, it’s a scary thought.

We simply can’t control and predict what’s happening around us. There’s a certain freedom to allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. What a relief it would be to be nothing other than truly ourselves.

“Connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

We long for connection but are afraid that if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and really seen, we won’t be worthy of that connection.  We want so badly to fit in and belong yet keep ourselves from the very thing that will allow that connection.

Are you courageous enough to be imperfect? And to know that in your imperfection you’re enough – just as you are, flaws and all?

It is possible to live our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness.  We’re no longer that shy ten-year-old and don’t have to live as if we are.

There’s nothing to fear by making ourselves vulnerable. Our vulnerability shows others the beauty of who we really are.

When we open ourselves up authentically and fully embrace vulnerability, we can begin to truly connect with others. We have to make that choice each day – to be authentic, vulnerable and courageous.

We must trust from the deepest reaches of our heart that “I am enough.”

Let’s commit to making that choice together – to be courageous and authentic every day and live our lives wholeheartedly.

Vulnerability is frightening, but trust that it gets easier as we embrace it more fully.

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Aug 4 2011

Change doesn’t just happen, we create it

Peggy McPartland

For years I’ve been toying with the idea of completely restructuring my life. I kept getting caught up in the details. And any decision eluded me.

I wanted to have a plan. To know exactly what I’d be doing and where. I wanted that lightning bolt of inspiration to strike.

I’m not sure how or when it happened, but I finally realized I was waiting for change to come to me. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.

I need change. And I want it now. It no longer matters that my future is filled with uncertainty. What matters is that I move forward. One tiny step at a time.

I don’t know where I’ll end up and it no longer frightens me. It’s part of the excitement of this amazing journey. Where’s the excitement if we always know what to expect?

Many of us feel a vague, underlying sense of dissatisfaction and unease. It may be our jobs. It might be our families. Or it may be life in general.

We can’t find anything particularly wrong. Things just don’t feel right. And we wish it would change.

It’s hard to pinpoint the cause. And even more difficult to find the solution. Because maybe there is no solution. But rather an always evolving path.

Thing won’t change on their own. We have to begin the process of exploring these feelings. To make sense of them. And to begin to find a new direction.

We can’t simply sit back and wait for change to happen. We can’t postpone our dreams until all of the distractions and uncertainties are gone from our lives.

Simply waiting for the universe to send a sign isn’t going to get us anywhere. It takes courage to follow our passion.

You don’t have to know where your path will lead to start moving forward. If having a plan works for you, that’s great. Just don’t get too hung up on it.

Allow yourself to explore and listen to your heart. You’ll make many twists and turns along the way. It’s important to be flexible and adaptable.

You’re bound to run into those who question the logic of the changes you’re making and the direction you’re headed. We all have them in our lives. They question the rationality of our dreams.

Don’t doubt yourself just because others do. You’re surrendering to the joy of life in a way that many aren’t able.

Begin moving forward, slowly or in giant, sweeping steps. Whatever feels right to you. Trust that the destination isn’t important. It’s the forward momentum that is.

You may not end up where you thought you would. The way may be chaotic, beautiful, wild and painstakingly slow, all at the same time. And it’ll definitely be unpredictable. So embrace it and enjoy the journey.

Life is full of fresh starts and impossible dreams. Listen to your heart. Pay attention to your passions. Begin walking in a different direction. Take charge of your life.

And make those changes. Don’t just wait for them to happen to you.

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Photo credit: Digital Latte Photography