In reflecting on my teens and twenties, there were many times when I exhibited childish behavior. If something went wrong in a friendship or relationship, I would give them the silent treatment. I would punish them by playing silly games. I would hide from their life in hopes that they would come find me. I wasn't interested in hearing the truth, because the truth was too painful. It required strength of which I had none. It required courage to have those difficult conversations. It required vulnerability to be present with some uncomfortable feelings.
There is a Zen story of letting go that has been told many times over. Author Jon J. Muth expresses it quite beautifully:
"Two traveling monks reached a town where there was a young woman waiting to step out of her sedan chair. The rains had made deep puddles and she couldn’t step across without spoiling her silken robes. She stood there, looking very cross and impatient. She was scolding her attendants. They had nowhere to place the packages they held for her, so they couldn’t help her across the puddle.
The younger monk noticed the woman, said nothing, and walked by. The older monk quickly picked her up and put her on his back, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other side. She didn’t thank the older monk; she just shoved him out of the way and departed.
As they continued on their way, the young monk was brooding and preoccupied. After several hours, unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. "That woman back there was very selfish and rude, but you picked her up on your back and carried her! Then she didn’t even thank you!"
"I set the woman down hours ago," the older monk replied. "Why are you still carrying her?"
As I check in with all "three brains" I am left with some painful memories. Times when I allowed myself to be stuck on wasted energy that led to nowhere.
🧠 Relationships are not transactional. It requires give and take. But it also requires us to be truthful with ourselves when there is little left to give.
A wise mentor once told me:
"A vase can only hold a certain amount of water. If you want a flower to bloom, there must be enough room in the vase to fill it."
💓 Famed author and speaker Tony Robbins exclaimed,
"Once you’re able to move on and appreciate the growth that came from the relationship, better opportunities will present themselves. You will have successfully learned how to let go of someone you love and can begin writing your new story."
🤰 And that gutsy song lyric of which I simply cannot ignore:
♬ Pain is a warning that something's wrong
I pray to God that it won't be long
There's nothing left to lose
There's no more heart to bruise
There's no greater power
Than the power of goodbye ♬
💿 Madonna / The Power of Good-Bye
I challenge you to reflect on those persons in your life that limit your full potential. Warning: it may require some deep soul searching. Non, je ne regrette rien? Comment below.
Every Monday morning at 10 AM EST I will post a powerful prompt which can also be synced to your smartphone calendar here and follow it wherever it leads. The aim is to resource all "three brains" — head 🧠, heart 💓, and gut 🤰 — in hopes of connecting the dots to those sticky parts in our nature that matter.