Renewal and Safe Spaces


Easter Weekend, Earth Day, and Spring is finally in the air where I live in Edmonton. Come April and many of us who call this hard climate home are eager to put away our winter tires, winter clothes, and winter blues. This has all got me thinking a lot about renewal.  I fondly remember renewing my library books as a kid. It was an event (not a click on the computer screen) that I enjoyed with my Mom. As soon as we were through the doors I’d race off to the Children’s section to select more books. I had a hard time choosing which books to bring home again and which ones from my new pack of possibilities to take out. There always seemed more space in my imagination than in my book bag.

As you approach a transition or new period in your life, do you ever find yourself reflecting on what to bring with you and what to leave behind?

As the snowscape that has surrounded us since October (gasp!) melts away, I am letting go of a few things that are not serving me well. I am also holding on to – and finding renewal within –  the safe places in my life where I feel strong and hopeful.

Let go: what if I gave less space to … 

  • expectations about how events and experiences will turn out?
  • assumptions that put roadblocks in the way of me moving forward?
  • attachment to outcomes instead of embracing the creative process of production?

Hold on: What if I opened more space for… 

  • relationships with family and/or with friends
  • memories of happy times
  • loving in the present moment
  • hope for the future
  • imagining what is possible
  • creative expressions 
  • core values
  • people who matter

Life is not a choice between holding on or letting go. Sometimes to grow we need to let go. Sometimes the only way we learn is by holding on. And, sometimes, the only way around the discomfort is through. When we let go of some things, we may find more space to hold on to other things that matter. What matters is often not a what but a who. After studying personal transformation and social change for decades I still find myself wondering: When are growing and learning going to become easier to do?!

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