Ripples #1277: Cutting Ties
Nov 13, 2023
Put the wind in your sails, and cut ties with the anchors holding you back.
–Jesse in Sioux Falls, SD, shared by Cody in Detroit, MI (who picked this up from a colleague while leading a workplace training)
…And it taught my heart that some things,
Aren’t meant to last for long,
They arrive to teach you lessons,
And then continue on,
You don’t have to cling to people,
Who no longer make you smile,
Or do something you’ve come to hate,
If it isn’t worth your while,
That sometimes the thing you’re fighting for,
Isn’t worth the cost,
And not everything you ever lose,
Is bound to be a loss.
–Erin Hanson, shared by Kathy in Pittsburgh, PA (read full poem here)
Creating a life with the right mix of SUCCESS and MEANING and JOY includes quite a bit of purposeful effort, and a decent amount of luck, too. Most of us know it requires finding a big YES to the right opportunities when they appear. I don’t know if it is always so obvious that curating a Good Life also requires saying NO. A lot. And not just to people and projects that are clearly not helpful or useful. These are often really tough choices, stepping back from quite a few things that do have some upside and yet ultimately take up too much time, energy, or space.
Arthur Brooks recently used an artful metaphor in an Atlantic article where he suggested the art we’re making out of the first half of life is more like painting, adding lots of colors to a canvas. Our second half of life is more about subtraction, carving a sculpture and chipping away at the parts of the stone that won’t be part of the finished piece.
I recently had to rescind a YES I had initially given to a project when I realized that my YES came from a place of obligation rather than opportunity. It was a really hard thing to do, especially since my turnabout involved letting down someone I care about. Ultimately it was also the right thing to do, and the immediate and profound sense of relief was a solid affirmation that I definitely needed fewer things on my plate.
A few questions for your continued pondering:
What (or who) is it time for you to step back from?
What thoughts and feelings come up when you consider making a change?
How might your life improve once you’ve taken action to cut ties?
Even thinking about these can make a difference, and so will noticing what feelings come up as you ponder. The big impact comes when you dare yourself to take action. Get ready, get set…cut!