As a recovering control freak, I admit that one of the toughest lessons I’ve had to learn (and relearn again and again) is that it’s ok to let go.
As I documented in my book, Touch the Sky: Find Your Voice, Speak Your Truth, Make Your Mark, when I started out as an actress I wanted to control everything: The shape, feeling and flow of the acting scene I was working on in class or in a play; the words and actions of my scene partners; the circumstances surrounding every audition; and especially the outcome of my budding acting career.
I held on so hard to what I wanted to make happen, that I squeezed the life out of the very moment I was actually in. This made my scene work in acting class and in auditions not only inflexible, but devoid of me at my most relaxed, breathing and be-ing. And so, in the process of trying to control every blessed thing, I lost my voice (sometimes literally, and in the middle of an audition).
For too long, I also held on to an idea of a career as a Broadway actor that really wasn’t in the cards for me. Did I want it? Yes. Did I believe that being a Broadway Star was the be-all-end-all only goal worth going after and achieving? Yes. Did my relentless pursuit of this dream almost kill me? Yes (Again, for more of the story surrounding this, read my book—which, I’ve been told, is apparently a darn good read). I was so obsessed with controlling an outcome that was out of my control, I missed the clues all around me that were leading me towards the work that was truly meant to awaken my soul.
Thanks to some great teachers, therapists, wise and wonderful friends (or choir members, as I like to call them) and a relentlessly persistent call from my soul (“Pay attention to me! Pay attention to me!”), I woke up one day with new eyes. That’s when I began to see that the way I wanted to live and feel (alive, awake, creative, expressive, prosperous, joyful, self-actualized, of service) couldn’t be found in beating the dead horse of my acting career.
And so I let it go.
I let it go in favor of words that were welling up in me that wanted full expression. These words became three screenplays, and several hundred songs. The songs became several albums, which kicked off performances at clubs and festivals across the country. Which led to my conducting workshops in which I exhorted others (especially women) to find their voice and put it into the world. Those workshops led me to the work I’m now doing, work that makes me feel, well, all the things I mentioned before that was missing as I strove (and I mean strove) to be a Broadway Star: Alive, awake, creative, expressive, prosperous, joyous, self-actualized and of service. Had I not let go of my original dream and allowed myself to pay attention to where the Cosmic Clues where leading me, I would not be writing to you today and smiling from ear-to-ear at the rich, blessing-filled work I’m privileged to wrap myself around.
I became a better actor, performer and speaker when I learned to let go, and to trust the moment as it unwinds in front of me.
I became a happier person when I learned to let go of anything (people, dreams, circumstances, emotions) that is antithetical to the growth and development of my soul or not in alignment with my deepest purpose (or Soul Role, as I like to call it).
I know this for sure: When you let go of trying to control outcomes, people or dreams, you surrender to the moment at hand and open yourself up to new possibilities in greater alignment with your unique Soul Role. Because the moment at hand is overflowing with the guidance you need to nudge you towards what is deeply right for you. If you’re willing to let go of the reins and trust the flow of life, you will follow the Cosmic Clues that resonate with the deepest, truest part of you. You’ll move towards the activities, the people and the circumstances that will support the creation of a life and work that, above all, allows you to feel what you genuinely want to be feeling—like freedom, passion, exhilaration. You will color into life the dreams that are truly meant for you– realized dreams that reflect a life radiating with your unique gifts, wisdom and wonderfulness.
This week, ask yourself, what am I holding on to that I need to let go? What I am I trying to control that needs to be released? It’s ok to let go. Unfetter yourself from dreams, wishes, fears, circumstances, people and work that are no longer feeding you at your core. Be willing to let go, so you can open yourself up to the beauty and the bounty that await you on your the path towards realizing your distinctive potential.
Are you holding on too tightly
… to a dream that has run its course?
… to a relationship that is destructive?
… to work that doesn’t fulfill you?
… to fear that prevents you from showing up fully on and off the speaking platform?
To whom and to what are you holding onto too tightly? What do you know in your heart and soul you need to let go of in order to make room for something else potentially more fulfilling, enlightening, or passion-inducing? List these things on a piece of paper.
Now take the paper on which you’ve listed the things, people, circumstances and dreams that are no longer serving you and – with love and reverence (and in a safe manner), light it on fire, and watch it drift away into smoky nothingness. It’s ok to let go.