As humans, we have the need to hold tight control over our lives. We expertly craft our lives like a curator in a museum. We carefully select each piece. And spend countless hours contemplating their placement in the museum of our lives.
It isn’t surprising then, that letting go of these expressions of life proves to be challenging. The art of letting go is one that many attempt, but few master.
But what if we have to anchor ourselves, before we surrender to the sea?
One year ago, Chris Schneider shouldered a tidal wave of change when she learned the job that supported her and her family was being eliminated. In order to continue earning a living she, along with the rest of her colleagues, would need to compete for a finite number of jobs. There was no guarantee of employment. And even if there was? That meant relocating to a different state. Leaving her home. Leaving her parents. Leaving her two teenage daughters behind.
As if this wasn’t enough. Chris also learned her long-term relationship was ending.
It’s one thing to let go of your work, your sense of home, your possessions, your partnership, your family or your community piece by piece. It’s entirely different to let go of all of it at once!
It was consuming, almost overwhelming to think about how I could swim with the current, not against it. As I was taking a walk before a business meeting I asked myself: What do I need to do in the middle of all of this chaos and uncertainty?
What born on that park bench was the need for portable anchors. Anchors that no matter where she was, or what circumstances she faced would remain steadfast and present in her life.
The thought of creating portable anchors was a source of comfort. From here Chris became intentional and thoughtfully considered what she needed to care for herself and the people she loved.
I tried to understand what the most valuable things were that I could take with me in my pocket, so that no matter where I was or what happened, I had my stability, my confidence and the most important people in my life with me.
She literally gave herself space to consider what her anchors would be, instead of instantly arriving at what they were. The four anchors that emerged from her time on the land were: family, practice, purpose and restore.
Family is essential. Some women take their makeup bag. Chris takes her photo album. Her two daughters are at the center so they are instantly and always with her.
In addition to the photo album, Chris also took the time to think about the people who energize her. Each week she connects with one of these people via phone, text or email.
My brother and sisters live in a different state, and one of my daughters lives on a different continent. But our relationships have never been stronger because of this intentional connection.
In addition to journaling and daily readings, time on the land is an important part of Chris’ practice. When traveling, she always looks for a “sit spot” where she can reconnect with herself and the land. This simple, yet important practice helps her be at her best.
Can you put your purpose in a bag? Chris can!
When I was traveling I found myself putting my purpose on pause and wouldn’t return to it until I was home. Now I have a little bag that is always ready with different books, articles or links that inspire me and keep me looking forward.
This allows Chris’ purpose work to be continuous and eliminated the stops and starts she previously experienced.
Creative scheduling has allowed Chris to incorporate restoration into her life, so it doesn’t come when everything else is done. Restoration for Chris involves exploration and adventure. Whether it’s connecting with a nature-based school in Seattle, finding a quiet spot on the land, or hiking the Colorado Rockies, Chris makes adventure a priority so she can be a better leader when she returns to work on Monday.
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These four enduring pillars were born from the overwhelming experience of having everything in her life turned upside down. Instead of shrinking back into the shadows, Chris stepped into the light to examine what the most valuable aspects of her life were.
I wanted to attach myself to something that wasn’t attached to anything else.
By finding her anchors, she found the curiosity, clarity, confidence and openness of mind she needed to let go. They’ve made her a better leader. A better Mom. A better daughter. A better sister. A better friend. And allowed her to be her become her best self during a time of intense uncertainty.
In case you hadn’t guessed by now, this isn’t just about finding anchors. It’s about reconnecting to Self and Source through the process of letting go.
When we’re able to separate ourselves from our worldly possessions, job titles and relationships we uncover that there are only a handful of precious things keep us grounded in this world. The rest is background noise.
Letting go shows us we can thrive in any environment. It opens us to change. It opens us to possibility. It opens us to new adventures.
It’s a lesson we’re forced to learn over and over again and over again. Each time we relearn this lesson we have the opportunity to reconnect to Self.
I could use more time to reconnect. And, if you’ve read this far, it’s probably a safe bet, so do you.
Chris has graciously agreed to share her journey in hopes of supporting and inspiring others. Leave a comment for her below!