Saturday, July 6, 2013

What I'm Giving Up

When I feel stuck in life, sometimes the simple act of letting go of old things, cleaning out a desk drawer, my closet, or my purse (which is a cry for help right now) can provide a feeling of relief. It seems to magically create a vacuum in my life, making room for new possibilities. But emotional clutter is another issue. 

All the self-help books tell us that the past does not define the future, the wake does not drive the boat, etc. But most of us hold on to things from the past, which keeps us rooted there. We don’t open that “drawer in our head” often enough, and soon we’ve got a jumbled head full of old beliefs and stories that no longer serve us. Or maybe that’s just me. Just like my closet, I need to do an inner purge now and then.

In order to make room for peace, harmony, and balance in my life, these are the things I’m giving up:

If I’m feeling resentment, this means I’ve taken on too much, haven’t set limits or healthy boundaries, and now I’m frustrated with a situation I helped create. I can either accept the situation I’ve chosen and find gratitude for it, or I can change it and choose something different. I am gladly giving up resentment, and making room for gratitude.

My Old Story
I grew up the daughter of a convict and a single mom who worked nights in a bar, we used food stamps to buy our groceries and blah, blah, blah. I’ve already lived that story. It held me down long enough. I wrote the memoir. Wrote the essays. The story is over. I don’t want, nor need, to live it any longer. Buh-bye old story. I’m making room for a new story.

Feelings of Worthlessness
Those are going out along with the old story. Period.
I’m making room to step into my full value as a human being.

Co-authoring Dancing at the Shame Prom changed me in so many positive ways. It really helped me to shed a lot of that old shame. But shame is sneaky. It finds new and different ways to lurk into my psyche: money-shame, aging-shame, body-image shame. Once again, I'm kicking it to the curb, making room for self-acceptance.

I have struggled a lot in my life. I’ve struggled financially. I’ve struggled for justice. I’ve struggled in family relationships. But recently, while teaching my son how to swim, I learned something. He was struggling in the water, exerting so much energy while going nowhere, eventually sinking. I kept telling him, “Just relax and let your body float. The water will support you.” And bingo- I made the connection. Stop struggling and float. Let the Universe support me. I’m letting go of struggle to make room for peace.

Writing helps a lot with emotional purging, which is why I’ve always kept a journal. But when writing it out isn’t enough, I pray. I pray for help in letting old beliefs go. Whether I believe in God (I do) or religion (not so much) doesn’t really matter. Words and intention hold great power. Simply stating that I want to give something up (on a daily basis) has changed me greatly.

I’m making room in my life for love, goodness, miracles, joy, and passion.

What are you willing to give up today? What are you making room for? I’d love to hear about it. 
Imagine the possibilities...


  1. I am going to re-ponder that anew. Years back, I gave up toxic people. I pruned those folks out of my life. More recently, I've given up the need to fill white space on my calendar... just let the free space rest there - it allows spontaneity to return to your life.

    I've given up the need to accomplish everything all at once in one day... the need to please or impress anyone... the NEED TO CHASE 20!!! I'm accepting that I'm 54, and have given up the self-inflicted spiritual wound of denying my "self" at this point in life and trying to achieve the impossible...

    I am working on giving up things, and people, that waste my time...

    But... there is probably more. Thanks for the prompt!

    1. I love that you are giving those things up, Debra!

  2. SO glad I stumbled upon this on Twitter, as it so perfectly echoes my own life. Kudos on writing such a thoughtful, brave and honest essay. I'll be sure to retweet the link!

    1. Thank you Mary Ann- and so glad you stumbled here, too. Please do come back!

  3. Thank you Hollye! I had resntfully set aside this weekend for cleaning and catching up on other chores I have neglected in the whirlwind of daily life that I helped create. Thank you for helping me see it as so much more and the gift of possibilities thatt I'll be giving myself as I tackle each task. You are such a gift Hollye Dexter!! Thank you!

    1. I hope it made your housecleaning a little easier to endure! You are a gift!

  4. Hi Hollye....I'm back in the States, as of last night, and that means back to reading wonderful things like your blog posts. This was a great one. Frankly, I need help on both fronts--the emotional baggage and the clutter!

    Though being away for a month and not reading email or Facebook or doing any social media or texting or phone calls--boy, was I a lot happier! I dread taking all those layers of busyness on again.

    1. Laura- I have so enjoyed following your posts from Bali- wishing I were there with you. I'm glad you liked this one, even if it did mean coming back to reality... xo.

  5. Beautiful post.
    Thanks, I needed this!



I love hearing your point of view- thank you for taking the time to comment and be part of the conversation!