Move Forward & Let Go

One of my favorite mental images is Tarzan swinging through the jungle.  I love this because it is an analogy to moving through life: in order to move forward, Tarzan must let go of the vine behind him in order to swing forward to the next vine.

I recently heard an author say, "Just because you've been doing something for a long time, doesn't mean you're supposed to keep doing it."  That was a revelation to me.  I have a hard time ending things because I believe in being committed to people and projects. 

Sometimes it's time to let go. Maybe someone else is supposed to have the experience, or maybe God wants to take me to a new place, but He can't do it because I'm still clinging to that vine behind me.

How do you know when it's time to let go? For me, I believe the universe leads us with a sense of peace.  I try not to make decisions out of fear, because it's been my experience that God doesn't teach me through fear (exception: fear of snakes and bugs).  He leads me with a sense of peace.

I was involved in an organization for many, many years.  I was responsible for founding it, and have remained a dedicated leader.  Recently, the group experienced a lot of upheaval and drama.  At first, I would not consider stepping back; I mean, it was "MY GROUP." I started it. 

The drama unfolded over several days, and at one point I woke up in the middle of the night with a clear thought: I need to resign my position in the organization.  And, I had peace about it, which I had not experienced previously.  I wasn't really sure if this was a flash of inspiration from the Spirit, or a hot flash incinerating the last of my decision-making abilities, so I waited 24 hours to take action.

When I resigned, I felt a true, deep peace and relief that surprised me.  I haven't regretted my decision, and being away from the drama and negativity has been good for my soul.

I believe God wants us to travel lightly through this life.  I tend to want to haul around all of the baggage I've accumulated in life, but I think God would prefer that we only take what we need.  Isn't that what Jesus instructed his disciples to do when he sent them out to witness? Take only what you need.  Leave the gun, take the cannoli (you've seen The Godfather, right?).  Leave the resentment, take the good memories.  Leave the status, take the experience. Leave the toxicity, take the love.

Buddhists meditate on the idea of bringing an empty rice bowl to the universe.  In Tibet, Buddhist monks will walk through town in the morning with an empty rice bowl, and the villagers fill it with rice-that is how the monks get their food.  They have faith that their daily bread will indeed be provided, but only if the bowl is empty.  And the villagers are excited to fill those bowls because they feel blessed to feed and care for the monks.  I love that image!  There's no room for God to fill my rice bowl if it's not empty.

I wonder if prayers seem to be "unanswered" because we ask God for something, but we haven't made room in our lives for what we're requesting.  That's the necessary ending-forgetting what lies behind and being available to embrace the new thing He wants to give us.

Maybe He wants to give us a new way of thinking, a new way of feeling, a new relationship, a healed relationship, a new opportunity or experience.  But if we're clutching onto the old, how can we take hold of the new?

Ask Him to show you what needs to end.  Maybe it's a friendship, a behavior, a habit, a relationship.  Remember, "end" can mean "change." The caterpillar changes into a butterfly.  Leave the old, take the new.

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