Letting Go to Leap Forward

In recent Monday Morning Stretches, I’ve written about the steps that Glennon Doyle outlines in her book, Untamed, to create a life that you design on purpose. The fourth and final step is “Build and Burn.”

For me, this step is sometimes the hardest: Letting many of your past and current beliefs, relationships, ideas of home, and even the dreams you thought you held all your life die in order to step into the future you can now see standing in a new, expanded version of you. If we have adopted and forged through the first three steps: Feel (it all), Know (Be still and know), and Dare (to imagine)… we will see a new, truer, more beautiful version of ourselves and our future. But, to catch the new rope, we must first let go of the one we’re holding.

Here are my highlighted takeaways from Glennon about Step #4:

  • It’s very scary because once we feel, know, and dare to imagine more for ourselves, we cannot un-feel, unknow, or unimagine. There is no going back.
  • The building of the true and beautiful means the destruction of the good enough. Rebirth means death.
  • Our next life will always cost us this one. If we are truly alive, we are constantly losing who we just were, what we just built, what we just believed, and what we just knew to be true.
  • I have learned that when I live from my emotions, knowing, and imagination, I am always losing. What I lose is always what is no longer true enough so that I can take full hold of what is.
  • I burned the memo that defined selflessness as the pinnacle of womanhood, but first I forgave myself for believing that lie for so long. I had abandoned myself out of love.
  • A whole family is one in which each member can bring her full self to the table knowing that she will always be both held and free.
  • I un-became a woman who believed that another would complete me when I decided that I was born complete.
  • The memos I’ve written for myself are neither right nor wrong; they are just mine. They’re written in sand so that I can revise them whenever I feel, know, and imagine a truer, more beautiful idea for myself. I’ll be revising them until I take my last breath.
  • I am a human being, meant to be in perpetual becoming. If I am living bravely, my entire life will become a million deaths and rebirths. My goal is not to remain the same but to live in such a way that each day, year, moment, relationship, conversation, and crisis is the material I use to become a truer, more beautiful version of myself.

This is the test: to not ignore the pull of the future by holding on to the relative comfort of the present. Glennon is right. It is scary to move into an unwritten future, newly defined by our imagination and knowing. But, it is also exhilarating. Like a chimpanzee swinging from branch to branch, there is a temporary moment where we must release one secure hold as we stretch and reach for the next—a free fall moment that can take our breath away and that requires all the courage we can summon. It’s the only way we can step up to the next level that has been hovering just above our line of sight and get the full new view.

This week, consider what you need to summon the courage to release in order to secure the future you can now see is the better, truer, most beautiful version of you.

“I demolish my bridges behind me…then there is no choice but to move forward.”
~ Fridtjof Nansen