Whenever we want to create something new in our life – be it big or small – we have to make space for it.
In order to make space for something new, we need to let go of things that are taking up space but no longer serving us.
Intellectually, I get this. It makes sense. It’s simple.
But sometimes, it’s really fucking hard to do.
I’m in my fifth month of pregnancy, and I’ve started noticing my priorities and goals shifting from what they were a few months ago. Perhaps this makes sense, as my body is shifting daily to accommodate this new (and very active) life inside of me. I’m boxing up old pants and bras and replacing them with new ones – ones that fit where my body is at in it’s ever-growing state.
When I got pregnant but hadn’t gained weight, I read about this pregnancy hack here you keep wearing your old pants under your baby bump, and then just wear this band over them that covers the band and goes up over your belly. How simple! I thought. No extra fuss, I will totally do that.
Yeah, except for hell no, because that feels awful. It feels like I’m wearing pants that are too small. Because they ARE too small.
The same for bras – oh, I’ll just switch to sports bras! I’m so clever. Easy, peasy. Except that apparently my genes had something, er, bigger in mind, and as those bands started cutting into my sides, I found myself at Target buying bustiers with letter sizes that had far surpassed those used to grade term papers.
Too much information?
But here’s the thing – I had all these other ideas about how I was going to do things. How I was going to make a baby fit into my life, as it is. I’ll take a few months of work, no worries. I’ll keep my office, that makes sense. I’ll keep kickboxing, because being pregnant and kickboxing seems really badass so I should totally try that, right? My goals can stay the same, because this ain’t no big thang.
Except that it is. It’s something that started out really small (microscopically small), and when it was small, it was easy to keep all the other things in my life, like my pants and my goals, big. But as he gets bigger – and he’s already well over a pound now, keeping me awake with all of his (heartbreakingly beautiful) dance moves – I find that my other goals are becoming smaller. Not that they’re not important, but my perspective has shifted and I can see how everything needs to be able to fit into the picture, and the way I was originally envisioning things didn’t leave enough space for this rather big new life.
In other words, my original ideas about how I’d hack through this pregnancy and into motherhood aren’t working. Like the pants, those ideas are painfully too small.
My needs and wants shifted. Instead of wanting to progress in martial arts, my body now craves fun movement with fun people, and good music. I want to stay strong, but going for maximum strength or trying to progress seems silly. Sparring seems like a ridiculous idea, even though I love it. Whereas before, I was happy to spend all night training, dinner at 9:30pm no big deal, now I want to be wrapped up before 7:30pm, dinner at a normal hour, knitting at night while I tune into his little kicks and jabs. That feels important and precious.
I want to meet other pregnant women. I’m missing a sisterhood of women to learn from. I have wonderful woman friends in my life, but very few have had babies and none (besides one beautiful client) are pregnant and actually live in this town. That feels isolating. I need new members in my tribe. I’m craving that kind of camaraderie.
And so what I need to do is clear out the activities in my life that fed my old goals and dreams. To lovingly release the things that I needed and loved so that I can make room for the things that I need now. This process is both exciting and sad. It is scary and exhilarating.
When you see that it is time for you to move to the next step, when you see that there are things that you need and old things that aren’t fitting any longer, the process of letting go begins. Letting go is how you create space for something new.
Sometimes letting go is easy. Decluttering the desk space, clearing the old food out of the fridge, throwing out pants that are too tight – these are all easy for me.
But for the big things – the things that affect my sense of who I am – it can be trickier. My process for letting go of the big things is a bit like cliff jumping. I step closer and closer to the edge – the place from which I jump into something new, saying goodbye to the safety of the ledge. I give myself lots of pep talks. I might cry, because it’s scary. But I keep inching closer, and eventually, I just jump.
Or fall. Whichever comes first.
As I’m letting go, as I’m saying goodbye to that cliff behind me, there might be grief. There is some grief, today, for me. Don’t ask me to feel better, please. I can handle the grief. The sadness is important – it’s a recognition that I’ve built beautiful things that now I must tear down. I am happy that what I’ve built is worthy of sadness as I destroy it. So leave space for the grief that comes from the change of letting go.
And then jump. And shriek a little on the way down, it’s more fun that way.