by Bella Rum

Sitting on my deck and contemplating the dappled shade as it played across my bare feet, my body jell-o-ing into the deck chair, lemonade at the ready, bones liquefying, brain idling, I whiled away the afternoon listening to a book, moving only to refill my glass. When an errant breeze was no longer enough, I moved an oscillating fan outside and stubbornly refused to budge from my personal slice of suburban bliss.

My back yard is a private jungle. Oh, the trees. They are dense and textured, and you’d never know there was another house somewhere over there. If you let yourself, you can imagine you’re many miles from civilization, deep in the country or high in the mountains.

I seldom succumb to such hedonistic pursuits. I can always think of something that needs doing. That’s okay. I get a lot of pleasure from completing tasks. I’m very goal oriented. H is the opposite, a worker extraordinaire, he doesn’t chase after goals. He simply enjoys the work. The result is only a bonus. Two completely different philosophies.

I’ve come across a couple of inspiring blog posts recently that explore the idea of “letting go” and seeing what that would look like in our lives. You must drop in on Angie Mizzell and read Just Keep Swimming. Angie has a true gift for sharing big ideas in an unpretentious way. It’s like opening a child’s paper-mâché box to find a diamond.  You never feel like she’s teaching you something, but more like you’re discovering something valuable on your own.

When I started thinking about this letting go thing, I ran into another post that offered another glimpse of this point of view. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten hung up on the outcome of something, something I had no control of.

How bad could it be to let go and allow life to happen organically, to accept whatever comes, to even intentionally leave some empty spaces in our day, unplanned time (GASP!) to see what evolves. Most creative ideas come to us when we’re quiet, when the mind stops racing, when we relax and settle down, let go and trust that all will turn out just fine.

Most of us have been encouraged from birth to set goals, make a plan and work the plan. Did you ever wonder what would happen if you released all of that? Where would you be? What would you be doing if you hadn’t set goals but simply followed the flow instead? I was big on goals when my son was younger. I wanted him to see himself in the future.

But maybe there’s another way of looking at this thing. It’s the opposite of how most of us were raised. Leo Babauta believes that releasing the idea of setting goals doesn’t have to mean that we stop achieving. Why couldn’t it mean that we no longer have limitations? That we will not be limited by our goals?

He writes:

“… you have to open your mind to going places you never expected to go. If you live without goals, you’ll explore new territory. You’ll learn some unexpected things. You’ll end up in surprising places. That’s the beauty of this philosophy…”

Interesting concept, but I was too busy studying the dappled shade on my bare feet to ponder any deeper.