Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Gave Up My Dream For That?

Early in our coaching series, we dumped some of our junk and ended energy sucks, but now it's time to take a closer look. Have you made space for what you want or are you still hanging on to things you think you need?

If you crave a new relationship, you may have to let go of an old one first. New clothes, clean out the closet, a new story, put that unworkable old manuscript away. Stop putting energy into what doesn't serve you. Evict the worn from your life and stand ready to accept the new.

This is not new age mumbo jumbo. It's a law of physics. Nature abhors a vacuum. If you create a vacuum in an area of your life, including your writing, the universe will absolutely fill it with something. Be choosy about what you allow to fill that space.

When you feel bogged down or stuck, chances are you're hording something you need to release. If you haven't used it in the past year, get rid of it. Start by tossing all those useless papers cluttering your desk and your ancient computer files. Getting rid of what you don't need or use will make that space you want for better things. Sometimes it's a manuscript we need to shelve in order to write a new one. If you're holding on to what doesn't work, you can not move on to what does. This is true in every aspect of life, not just writing.

Years ago, when I was taking a psychology class, we learned of a group of scientists doing a study with monkeys. Every day they filled immobile plastic jugs with small treats, and each day the monkeys opened the lids and enjoyed the goodies. One day, the scientists placed an orange in each container just small enough to slip through the hole, but too large for the monkeys to pull out with their hand grasping the fruit. What would the monkeys do?

The monkeys reached into the jugs and clutched the oranges, but couldn't extract them through the small hole. When the scientist moved closer, the monkeys screached, pulled at the orange with all their might, but refused to let go of their prize and thus couldn't escape. They were captured, sacrificing much desired freedom for fruit they thought they needed.

What are you clutching that stands in the way of your dreams?

"To pretend to satisfy one's desires by possession is like using straw to put out a fire."
                                                                                                        Chinese Proverb
Do you really need that orange?
What price are you paying to hang on to it?

Spend 15 minutes each day letting go of something you don't need and prepare to embrace something better. Write about it in your journal.


  1. Very nice illustration of how not letting go can immobilize us.

    *looks around house for something to let go*
    *spies youngest son*

  2. I absolutely loved this, Sandy. It's always good to be reminded that a little "cleaning" here and there makes room for the new -- in all facets of our lives. Enjoyed reading this piece.


  3. Thanks, Sandy. I think that I have to do a little mental house cleaning so that I can get started on my fourth book. I've been in a state of mental stasis and have got to move on.

  4. You have such a valid point. The hardest part (for me) is realizing what needs to be jettisoned. I don't have any trouble doing it once I figure out what has to go, and it's such a relief. Thanks for this insightful blog.

  5. Great advice. I agree. I only recently found the orange I don't need, so this comes at a perfect time for me :-)

  6. Am I the only one hungry for a chilled juicy orange right now? :)

    Seriously, what a great visual example of a philosophical concept. Definately something to think about.

    After I eat an orange.

    THANKS for the thought-proving post.

  7. Not always an easy thing to do. I know what I need to let go of, but I need to figure out away to do it without the domino effect.

    Great, insightful post.

  8. I need to get out of 'just in case mode' keeping things that really need to be let go. Good post...going to clean off my desk. Thanks!

  9. Very nice Sandy. I have the hardest time letting go...of anything. Unlike Lesli, I don't even need to look away from this keyboard to know there are many things around me I can let go of and make room for something new. (and I don't have any sons)

  10. Wonderful advice. I'm definitely going to try to get rid of something each day. I have tons I need to get rid of so that I can simplify my life and my writing.

  11. Sandy, this is so timely. Just yesterday, I was attacking my garage of junk and treasures. I found some new homes for the junk and into my home came some new treasures - including a beautiful handmade quilt from a dear friend.
    Signed, your "favorite" sister in law Sue