Let Go, Let’s Go, and Choosing

Several of you have asked what my word for 2013 is. Rubber Rabbit, who knows a good deal about doing and giving up, chose the same word: Let Go.

treeHere’s why I chose it: It’s something I need to learn how to do better. To look at my work plate and let some of it go. For every (significant) new project I take on, I will create a guestimate of how much time and effort it will take, and then take the equivalent amount of work off the plate.

As I have discovered over and over again, I can’t have it all, and certainly not at the same time. I want to teach online classes, in person classes, coach creative people, finish the inner hero book, cook up another book (new concept, still half-baked), teach a new class  to introduce the inner hero book, put out an e-book, teach classes with all the contributors to the book. . .the list goes on. Even if I put all the ideas and tasks on a timeline, there is not enough time. So I will have to Let Go of some of the ideas.

There are emotions that are no longer serving me. Guilt, regret, some anger, fear. I’ve squeezed all the learning out of them I can. They won’t compost into joy, energy or peace. Time to Let Go.

I have too many art supplies. Projects I thought I’d do, supplies I thought I’d need, purchases of materials I thought I’d have time for. And never did. Items I have no talent for and am not interested in learning. Time to Let Go to people and places who will love them and use them.

There are possessions in my house that I am holding onto for reasons of guilt. Things I don’t want or use, but that my parents thought were important enough to cram into the few possessions they brought with them. They need to bring someone else something else. Keeping something out of guilt is a terrible reason to own it, make space for it. I need to make space for space.

And then, a slight variation. It’s time to get into action. Not huge leaping ahead, but the smallest thing that I am capable of doing. Not making a video, or publishing an e-book, but doing tiny steps toward figuring out how to make it possible. Looking where I want to go, seeing if the road is clear, and then, well, Let’s Go!

Quinn McDonald is looking forward to the discoveries of 2013.

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23 thoughts on “Let Go, Let’s Go, and Choosing

  1. I am very drawn to ACTION as my word this year, but also feel quite inspired by the word ZEST. I’ve done an awful lot of letting go in the last three years and I’ve worked through a lot of de-cluttering – physical, mental and emotional. We have a fresh beginning with a house move in a couple of weeks and I feel energised by the new chapter ahead.

    Action is both noun and verb – I’ve heard it described as “intention with legs”, it suits my desire to get my body more active, it reminds me that I can action things by delegating (why put it on my plate when I can load up someone else’s who’d much rather be doing it anyway) and I like the film connotation too as I want to make more web videos this year.

    But the word Zest actually gives me butterflies.

    Need to give these two words some journal space and see if they cohabit or one comes out stronger.

    Glenda

  2. Hello Quinn & Community,
    I always read all the comments before adding my own. Thanks for the chuckle, Pete(r).
    My word “need” is chosen for much the same reasons as your “Let Go” with a twist!
    I started even before the word of the year came up in your blog. When getting ready for the holiday this year I decided that I didn’t really “need” all the decorations I usually put up so I left them in the boxes. What I did feel I needed was family so I planned lots of opportunities to be with them. I had to balance the “need” against the “want” of all the evergreen boughs I usually cut and use indoors and out. Want won.
    What I learned over the month of December was that I was fine without all the stuff i usually have out for the season and that it allowed me more time to “be”.
    The bonus is that I save time in cleaning it all up too!
    Like you and embellishingbliss our small local school is often gifted with our extra supplies and books and the local thrift stores receive many donations as well. They do so many good things for our community.
    Pete…I may have your “R” in one of those boxes somewhere here in Oregon. If you really feel you “need” it, let me know.

    • Pete works on so many levels, I may need to install an elevator in the blog so I can reach them all. Yes, if you find the “R” it may well be his. In that space-time continuum, who knows where it went! We are going to have an interesting year here with all the explorers.

      • Thanks, but at this point I’ve gotten used to it. The other letter I lost bothers me more because it was totally my fault. I heard this guy, you see, say something like “you bet your S”, so I did — but lost.

        • You lost your S? How sad! I bet we could get a new one donated with little trouble. I know people who didn’t like the S in their name, and they worked their S off. And several people I know drilled holes in their walls so they could store their S there, to protect it. They marked the place so as not to get it confused with the holes they dug in the ground for other letters. Because no one wants to be accused of not knowing their S from a hole in the ground.

  3. How fascinating to read your thoughts Quinn. I deliberately haven’t looked at other ‘words of the year’ this time as I have been ruminating on my word. At the beginning of December I began to feel that ‘curious’ was the one – an invitation to be more curious about everything – no holding back but then there was an invitation to something deeper which resonated very much with where I have been all Autumn – let go! Autumn is often the season of surrender, letting go and it has not been so much about things but attitudes, old ways of thinking, behaviours that do not serve me any longer, dependence, time, for good things like charitable work (I am a trustee for three charities at the moment). Letting go and making space for new things perhaps? Being someone who generally follows rules (lots to let go of here!!!) I looked for one word which would express that sense of letting go and ‘release’ came to mind. Either way it doesn’t matter as the message is the same. I’ve begun decluttering indoors which I guess for me is an outward sign of something beginning and now I want to artwork something to help me remember this. I am looking forward to sharing the journey with you. Thanks again for all you share.

    • I love your blog, and I love “release.” I have overseas company coming today, so I am in full tilt of turning the studio to a guestroom. I feel your decluttering muse kicking me in the butt! Release is a good word, as I can also imagine releasing great love and feeling relieved!

  4. Perhaps the items from your parents can be donated to a museum; often even the smallest things, when explained to people (students), make our mutual history enlightening.

  5. Letting go can be powerful. I wish you all the best with it. I see your list of things you want to do and understand how it is that you can’t do it all. I have the exact same problem. There isn’t enough time to complete everything. My word for the year is ‘explore’. As in new places, new opportunities, new friends, new ideas, etc. Hopefully I don’t add so many new things to the mix that I have to use letting go next year. 🙂

    • Hah! Exploring is really important, and as long as you explore the amount of time the new will take, you will let go along the way. I have a tendency to pile it all up. You are already much, much wiser.

  6. Funny you should mention the Rabbit family. I’m lucky enough to be acquainted with several of them. It’s a big family, of course, with lots of offshoots, and they treat everyone inclusively. This goes back to the scion of the line, Rabbit, who even when I knew him had countless Friends and Relations, large and Small. Nowadays some of them are even famous; Reader made quite a splash in education, Eddie became a famous rock star, and Harry went into literature. All this was preceded, of course, by Walter, who made it into the baseball hall of fame.

    It also reminds me of the story of how I lost the letter “r” at the end of my first name. It was initially just a practical joke; Flopsy and Mopsy swiped it when I wasn’t looking. I think they might have been put up to it by their brother. Who, naturally, left it somewhere or other. I heard a rumor it was attached to some sort of garden scarecrow, but that just sounds silly.

  7. Quinn:
    Thanks for sharing your word of the year. Mine is very similar, it is RELEASE. I chose it for many of the same reasons. I need to release many things to make room for those I want to add. Part of what I am releasing is “stuff”. Last summer I planned to pass on by donating, recycling or in a few cases throwing, 1 garbage bag of “stuff” per week. Some weeks I did as many as 4 or 5, but the goal was to do at least one. I did it for a couple of months, but I haven’t been as good lately. I am renewing that idea along with “releasing” projects that no longer interest me. The final area is guilt and self judgement. I am looking forward to 2013 and all the wonderful things I will be able to add to my life because I “released” so many others.

  8. Ah, Dear Quinn; Letting go can be difficult–but it can also be incredibly freeing. Last year, almost exactly a year ago, my hub and I bought a new house, a beautiful house I fell in love with. But there was a catch: it was significantly smaller than our old house. So I had to edit. I had to let go of a lot of stuff, particularly crafting supplies. But one of the things that made it easier to let go was what I did with them–and I suggest you consider doing with some of yours: I donated them to my pet cause, Boys & Girls Club. It has always staggered me that we will spend millions on building bigger and better(?) prisons, and yet, programs such as Boys & Girls, which helps keep kids out of prisons in the first place, has to go begging. Anyway, let me tell you, they were ECSTATIC! I donated other things to appropriate places–books, household articles and clothes to Goodwill, for example. I gave away most of my teapot collection to my kids and friends, and so on. And when I was done, I felt so much lighter and freer. And we were able to move to our new home, and it is way less cluttered and, well, when I walk in the door, our home embraces me, something our hold house never did. And one of the reasons it does is, simply, letting go.

    • What a great story! It shows the real power you found in letting go. The Boys & Girls club is an great idea. I generally contact public school art departments. Here in Phoenix schools have so little. I often offer a list of supplies and myself along with it to run a class on using the materials. Sometimes the teachers just want the supplies because they have fixed lesson plans. I’m not attached to their choice, and that makes it even lighter. I’m so glad your house embraces you–what a great house you must have!

  9. “Let Go” has been one of my most used phrases for a few years now. I am still working on it. This holiday season while spending a few days at home, I began the process of cleaning/paring down/decluttering my studio. I am allowing myself whatever time I need to go through each item and make a decision about it. So far, I have moved one of my work tables to a better light source, moved some storage drawers to become more accessible, and arranged all my journals (and there are many!) on two shelves and arranged them by: new, partially used, complete. It’s a joy to see them all in one place, and I will enjoy looking at the finished ones to see what was important in my life from several years back.
    I’m still working on letting go of the notion that I can better manage my son’s life and do everything I want to do.

    • Letting Go is a tough lesson to learn, and, as you know, makes you wonder a lot if you chose the right path. But as a word (OK, phrase) of the year, it’s a good one because it will lighten the total burden and bring balance. Much success to you, I feel your joy at the shelves of journals!

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