Have you ever been witness to the release of a Chinese lantern? I experienced it in person over the summer with my wife’s family and it was an absolute thing of beauty.
The flame is lit and the temperature of the air inside the lantern increases while you hold onto it. As the air inside the lantern heats up, it gets lighter and lighter until that magic moment when it it is so much lighter than the air around it that you can release it and watch it float away into the sky.
My hope, in writing this post, is that I will have a new found lightness that frees me from some of the self-limiting talk that is holding me back at the moment. It’s as though the spirit inside me is heating up and is so light now that the pain of continuing to hold on is greater than the potential pain that will come from taking the risk.
This is my act of letting the lantern go.
Facing the Truth
The truth is that I’m scared.
I’m scared of where this journey will take me. I’m scared that it will take me no where at all.
I’m scared I have all the tools I need already in my possession and I’m scared that there will be one tool that I will need but never be able to access.
I’m scared of making a massive difference for the people I work with and I’m scared of having no impact at all.
I’m scared of succeeding and I’m scared of failing.
All of this being scared is making it really easy to justify procrastinating and not sitting down to do the work.
Embracing the Gray
When I look at all the things I’m scared about, it makes sense that I’ve been paralized. I’ve been thinking about my work in very black or white terms. Either it’s going to be awesome or it’s going to absolutely suck.
Most of the time, I’m not sure it will be awesome but I know that I don’t want it to suck. So I do nothing. I spend an hour on my bedtime routine (true story) instead of spending 45 minutes doing my heart’s work and 15 minutes getting ready for bed.
If you’ve followed any of my work in the Intuitively Intermittent FB Group and podcast, you’ve probably heard me talk about living in the gray space. There are folks in the intuitive eating world who will totally denouce intermittent fasting. And there are diehard intermittent fasters who will fight to the death if you question the rigidity with which they do IF.
There is a space between the two extremes though. It is possible, albeit it often uncomfortable, to live in that space. It takes effort and courage to live in the gray rather than jumping wholly into the black or white box.
The undefined nature of the work that I’m doing and where it will lead means I’m completely surrounded by the gray space now with no black or white box in sight.
The act of doing nothing is almost a box in and of itself. I can succeed at doing nothing or at least I have been able to before. Now, the light that is lit inside me is making so that doing nothing is becoming painful. Doing nothing no longer feels like success.
I’m going to do everything I can, even when it is crazy hard, to show up and do the work . That is my act of letting go of the lantern. There is a lightness that I feel when I put my words out into the world. I know the lightness will pull me towards something spectacular even if I don’t know where I will ultimately land.
What are you holding onto right now that needs to be released?