Not Holding On

Here’s a question for you.

Do you think there is a difference between ‘letting go’ and ‘not holding on’?

When the two statements jumped into my mind, I initially thought they were interchangeable. But the more I thought about them, the more unique they became, and their differences made quite an impression on me. So much so I thought I’d share them with you.

For me, ‘letting go’ implies that I already am holding on to something and that I’ve accepted it as important enough for it to become a part of me. To release the idea would require me to make a conscious decision. I have a choice whether to keep the item or let it go.

The concept of ‘not holding on’ turns out to be very different. Something has been or is being presented to me. There is an offer on the table and so I must choose whether I want it or not. I recognize I am considering something ‘other’, something which does not belong to me, at least not yet.

Sometimes I confuse these two concepts. As a result, the clarity with which I make my decisions is affected. I need some benchmarks to help me.

One comes to me. It is that I am never required to accept anything offered to me. It is always my choice. This happens to apply whether I am reconsidering my ‘ownership’ or deciding whether to accept something new.

The reason I say this is because of my absolute firm belief in free will. It is one of the most precious gifts I have.

Maybe you’ve been told otherwise. Perhaps there are people in your life that demand, negotiate or attempt to bribe or reward you to choose whatever they offer you. They wish for you to meet their expectation, rather than allow you to exercise your free will and choose for yourself.

When this happens to me, a question pops into my head. Why? What is their motivation? Do they truly have my best interests at heart or their own? I think it’s a fair question.

A second idea comes around a corner into my vision. What is the idea or concept ultimately offering me? I confess it’s not always easy to tell.

I sharpen an edge on the question and ask it another way. In what way(s) does what’s being offered to me serve me?

The words, ‘serve me’, may be unfamiliar to you as a way to decide anything, so let me try to clarify.

For most of my life I approached my achievements in a convention way. Get good grades in school (which I didn’t), go to college, get married, get a job, move up the ladder, have children, save for retirement…I think you get the picture. I took all of these things and absorbed them. Everyone I knew talked about them and strove for them. They became my internally accepted and expected goals and I gave them little conscious thought. I don’t want you to think I don’t appreciate all these things because I do. They’ve given my life indescribable joy and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But it is also true that I never really seriously considered other choices.

I didn’t know I could make independent choices. Does this feel at all familiar to you? I know I’m not alone because many others have told me variations on this theme.

Enter the new concept of what ‘serves me’. The fundamental idea is that I have the power to make all of my own choices. And, that if I pay attention, I can tell the difference between choices that ‘feel’ right to me and those that do not. The ones that feel right align with where I want to go in life and what I want to do or accomplish.

The beautiful thing is that I can exercise my free will to make choices that align with my spirit, that feel right to me, that ‘serve me’. I can do this both with ‘letting go’ and with ‘not holding on’.

And the good news is, so can you, if that is what you choose.

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