I am feeling compelled to have everything in order - every last sock mated, folded and put in a drawer - before I go. I want the house to be pristine, every loose end dealt with.
The dental records haven’t made it to the new dentist’s office yet, even though I signed a release form weeks ago. I’m not sure why this has to straightened out before I go since the appointments aren’t until March, but that’s the headspace I’m in.
It’s kind of like making sure you wear clean underwear when you travel - in case you end up in the ER. If I don’t make it back, I don’t want someone having to sort through the mess on my desk or discover that the toilets haven’t been cleaned in a while.
The issue is more likely that I don’t want to come home to a disorganized life. I’ll already be playing catch up after five days away.
It’s supposed to be a vacation, but at the moment it feels like something hanging over my head.
The reality is that if my plane crashes and I don’t come home, no one will care how long it’s been since someone swirled a brush in the toilet bowl.
The reality is that I can call the dentist’s office next week and remind them to send the records. And regardless of whether I get the stairs vacuumed before I go, they will need it when I get back.
A practice in letting go.
Perhaps holding tight to the small details helps me to avoid thinking about the big ones - like being away from my kids for five days and having no control over how things go without me. Not being there to answer homework questions, not being there to comb down my son’s cowlick with my fingers, not being there to offer a hug if something goes awry.
It’s not that they won’t flourish without me. I’m sure they will have a regular week with fun and frustration and laughing and learning. It’s that I will not be the one minding the hive.
A practice in letting go.
Gods willing, there may be sunshine and warm temperatures where I’m headed. In my mind’s eye, I picture myself floating on my back in the water. A practice in letting go - letting the water hold me, heart and belly exposed to the wide, blue sky.
I can feel my shoulders sinking a little farther down my back. Maybe letting go of control can be like floating. Knowing I am completely held, warmed by the sun and gently rocked by the tide.
From this floating perspective - I can let go of the tension I’ve been holding. I can look at my to-do list and see it as a list of opportunities - things that will feel good to get done and will wait for me if I don’t get to them before I go.
From this floating perspective - I can sense what this trip holds for me - an opportunity to be with myself, to put my needs first, an opportunity to be with my husband, to put our relationship first, an opportunity to turn my face toward the sun and soak in the blessings in my life.
It’s so easy to let them get lost in a sink full of dishes or get run over by a herd of hurried footsteps out the door.
From this floating perspective - I can hold more loosely the idea of my kids being on their own. Because, of course, they won’t actually be on their own. And they’ll be excited to see me when I get back. And there will be hugs, and there will be reminders to pick up their socks, and we will continue down this imperfect road together.
What might the practice of letting go look like for you today?
Jessica Curtis is a professional coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.