‘There is no Knowledge won without sacrifice.’Jane Hirshfield, poet PBS Documentary, The Buddha.
We all have wants and needs.
New clothes, cars and so on. And whilst we can keep on adding new possessions as long as we have space to for them.
We also want new experiences and habits. We want that gym membership to get us into shape.
We want to spend more time with our friends, to enjoy their company and have some fun.
We want to learn a new skill like a language, because it’s interesting, cool to have, and may prove useful in the future.
We all want more in our lives yet find it difficult is it to find the time to devote to these desires?
Facing us here is a major problem in our thinking.
We think we can add more to what we already, yet it doesn’t work, Why?
We feel the need to accumulate things in our lives. Because we have been lead to believe, that the sign of a successful life is one packed full of experiences and possessions.
Yet our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. We want more than we can possibly fit into life.
No matter who we are we all have the same amount of time available to use in each day. 24 hours.
We will use that time up regardless of what we do.
So in order to add something new to the schedule we need to remove something. This is where we find a sticking point.
It’s creative destruction. In order to create or add you must first destroy or subtract.
Or interests are many and varied, encouraged by all the ideas we are exposed to. We want it all. To pack it all into a life that is finite.
But no change will ever happen unless we can make space for the new.
So the question you must ask yourself is…
What am I willing to give up on?
This is where it gets difficult for many of us. We don’t want to say goodbye to those crutches, those diversions that keep us occupied. Instead embrace a new habit that helps us grow and learn.
We fear the loss of something important.
For me is being computer games and videos when I should be writing.
We are afraid that if we take away these things we won’t know who we are. Our own identity is tied up in how we live our lives.
Yet if we are ever to change and become the person we want to be we need to give up those things because now they hold us back.
It could be spending less money (a tighter budget), to give yourself the financial leeway to work less hours. Then you can spend time working on that business idea or art project you’ve had at the back of your mind.
This is what it takes.
Giving up on possessions and habits to make room for the new.
Giving up on ideas.
Is not just lifestyle either. The internal possessions we have count as well.
Far more difficult, but more profound are giving up those feelings and desires that keep us small.
The need for certainty, to be right, to be in control.
The need to avoid mistakes, for perfection.
To feel safe all the time, to be wealthy.
The need to be the centre of attention (or for introverts like myself the need to avoid it).
The fear of loss, of looking like a fool, making a scene, fear of change itself.
Emotions like fear, shame, guilt can keep us from making changes to our lives. So leave us stuck, feeling worthless, powerless, and hopeless.
All these ideas, including the narrative we tell ourselves. They are possessions that we need to give up just as much as social media, computer games, toxic friendships and more.
To give up these notions is extremely difficult, though it can have a profound effect on our lives.
To find growth and change we need to escape from the prisons that keep us confined.
Change and growth can only happen when we commit to the process of creation and destruction.
There is a lot of talk about creativity, and making new habits, but less on getting rid of them.
But the opposite process of destruction and subtraction is no less important. We need to remove the obstacles first.
Like a gardener pruning away the unnecessary and unwanted foliage in order for new growth to occur.
They can be external distractions that cause us to procrastinate, toxic relationships that make us feel worthless, and unhealthy environments that leave us feeling ill.
But they are also internal. The fears and certainties we cling to are just as confining, more so in fact because they harder to spot.
We are constantly remodeling our lives and ourselves to find success and happiness.
The questions is.
What are you willing to give up?
Chances are it’s less than you think.
Our growth is directly dependent upon the willingness to let things go.
To accept rebirth and renewal we must allow ourselves to die a little, bit by bit, piece by piece.
What are you prepared to give up?
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