Viewing entries tagged

Letting Go: The Fullness in Emptying


Letting Go: The Fullness in Emptying

Preface: I’ve been saying I need a wardrobe overhaul for a while now. My attentive partner, knowing my love for creative and thoughtful experiences, hired a fashion consultant as a gift for my 30th birthday. She came over this past weekend to help me clean out my closet. This blog is dedicated to him for all the many ways he has inspired me to let go.

“Let’s start with the dresses,” she said, pulling them out of the closet and sorting them into two distinct piles labeled, “casual” and “formal”.

There it was.

A small piece of my pain in the form of a BCBGMaxazria dress in taupe that was purchased in attempt to cover up what I wasn’t ready to deal with at the time.

“This color doesn’t do you any favors.”

Yeah, I know. Taupe, a dark tan, the french word for mole. That’s about right. I suddenly found myself plowing down memory lane to a time in my life I felt every bit deserving of the haute taupe dress that didn’t do me any favors.

Then there were the lavender ruffles, a desperate cry for my femininity to return as I felt through the fatigue of doing it all on my own. Those damn creativity-stifling responsibilities. Lavender ruffles.

We came across a green and teal and black satin number that I’ve had longer than I can remember, circa 2002, around the time of my high school graduation. As if that doesn’t say it all, the kaleidoscopic pattern exploding from the seams held captive my bright and shiny anticipation of a promising future, reminding me of my present-day clinging to youthfulness and all of its naive optimism, though I haven’t worn it for years.

“What do you think of this one?” Silence. What do I think of this one. The one I remember buying specifically because it was expensive, it had sex appeal, it promised fulfillment in the empty well I carried of feeling noticed and valuable and attractive. The one that adorned some of my lowest moments after I’d reduced my self-worth to nothing more than nylon, spandex, and polyester. It was definitely worn. “Well I think you are better than this.”

One by one we inspected each dress, every skirt, and shirt, and shoe, and jacket. We tossed out the larges–and extra larges–that were purchased from the dysmorphic lens of my bruised self-consciousness. We piled on items that have had their time, that have traveled the world and clothed my curiosity on the streets of Dubai and Mexico and Ecuador and Turkey. We let go of the pieces that were kept strictly for their materialistic value, those whose closet real estate had been preserved to mask the guilt felt for how much money was wasted on the attempted purchase of class and significance.

Funny how all of that was still hanging in my closet.

Thich Nhat Hanh said, “When we give ourselves the chance to let go of all our tension, the body’s natural capacity to heal itself can begin to work.”

I anticipated getting rid of some things. What I grossly under-anticipated was how much insight I would gain through the process, and how healing it would be. It’s amazing how much our stuff embodies our stuff. We created an impressive pile of physical materials to surrender, yet the metaphysical pile that was there was immeasurably more impactful.

My closet now holds empty space, the kind that is full. It no longer feels dingy and difficult to navigate. Inner spaces that were once warehousing tension I didn’t even realize I still had have also been liberated.

What kind of stuff is lingering in your stuff?

How can you let go of unnecessary weight and tension?

May every door be opened. May surrender remain one of our greatest strengths. May you too discover the fullness in emptying.


Everything is Sacred


Everything is Sacred

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”

Sacred: Connected with the divine; dedicated to a higher power. The familiar words of Joseph Campbell came to mind as I rested in Child’s Pose, reaching within for that part of me that feels bigger.

As I turned inward I confronted the shrinking truth: I’m a new parent, with an expired maternity leave, on a foreign island known as, “this postpartum body”. 

That’s not one–but THREE–full-time jobs.

Why now, where did the time go, how do I get back in? Do I even want to be in there?! 

Forehead on the ground, balled up like my 3 month old baby in my own puddle of sweat, the door opened and my being warped into a kaleidoscopic eruption of colors and shapes. From the fiery, passionate, crimson red of distant desires to the irregular quadrilaterals of life’s circumstances that I wish were perfectly symmetrical, there it was, an explosion of WTF that made my throat burn. I wanted to scream. Instead, I breathed.

Breath by breath a space grew, and as the overwhelming close-up became more panoramic I began to observe the breath, this body, this season, this life in all of its changing colors and shapes–and shapelessness–and recognized that it is indeed divine. 

From the seat of observation the chaos of being becomes a sacred geometry of its own. Like any religious structure the body is a worthy place of reverence, a sanctuary of perfect imperfections, an incubator for the unborn to be revealed. 

All of the fluctuations if nothing more are an opportunity for growth, and what is growth if not a visceral reminder that we are in fact living? And life is sacred. And all of this is life. And that means all of this is sacred. 

There is a sloka in the Isha Upanishad, “That is full; this is full. This fullness has manifested from that fullness. When this fullness merges into that fullness, all that remains is fullness.”

That is the sacred, and this is the the part of you that is in me, and all beings, unadulterated amid the ceaselessness of change and life’s attempted dilution. This is also the infinite change itself that we endure helping us evolve into something greater. This is even the dilution that breaks us down so that we can rebuild with a deeper sense of humility and gratitude and wisdom and meaning. 

Everything is sacred. 

The challenge is in creating and maintaining the space. Therein, sure enough we find ourselves, again, and again. In those moments of self-discovery–and recovery–it becomes apparent that the timing, the circumstances, the unknowns, are all part of the whole. In the acceptance of life completely, just as it is, fullness expands. 

Be full, in this breath.

Be full, in this body.

Be full, in your life, as it is.

There is no greater fulfillment than being, fully.