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What Will You Leave Behind?

Jennifer Mulholland
September 3, 2020
This was the question one of my dear friends asked me when we spoke before I began my trip east to our 110 year old family cabin in the north woods of Maine. I paused and a wave of silence came over the phone line. “I have to think about it," I said. “Usually, I release in the lake. I take a swim in the cold mountain water, call to the goddess of the water, open my eyes underneath, look for the sun’s rays shining through, and ask for the purity of the water to cleanse me. I then speak silently in my head all of the things I am ready to release. I never thought of doing it before I arrived.” 
 
Ranj always had a way of asking me questions to ponder. I guess we did that for each other ever since we met in Toronto, Canada at Robin Sharma’s Awaken Your Best Self weekend in 2007. We were paired up and had the privilege to hold space for each other as we read our self-written obituaries out loud to a small group during a ceremonial part of the workshop. Sobbing through the words I had written about the legacy of light I wanted to leave behind, we committed to help one another be the best versions of ourselves for years to come. Thirteen years later, that still stands true. 
 
As I sat on the first flight I’d taken in three months en route to Rangeley, Maine, I contemplated that powerful question with a conviction that we can always choose to leave behind what no longer serves us, at any moment. It’s simply a choice. We don’t need a new year, a new moon, a summer solstice, a birthday, a loss, or a win to be the milestone. Although, sometimes that does help. Sometimes, we need that ushering. But, truthfully, we can choose to reinvent and free ourselves whenever we are ready to do so. 
 
Here are three things I am willing and ready to leave behind:
 
  1. Worry. Yup, I said it. It’s hard for me to even admit that I have it – worry that is. I’ve never thought of myself as a worrier and honestly have not really related to others who have. For the most part, I’ve been a big truster. I trust things work out for the better. I trust there is higher reason for the unfolding of things. I trust I am protected. I trust I am not alone. I trust in my higher power. I trust in the Universe.

    And yet, deep down inside my skin and bones, there it is. Worry. I see it now. Covered up in toughness and tenacity, a subtle and beneath the surface energy of uneasiness rises when the shit hits the fan. The shit for me was my son’s recent accident – a severe and complicated injury to his knee and nerve. Would he be able to walk again? What if he couldn’t play football or lacrosse anymore? What if he won’t be able to run again? What will happen to his dream of playing college sports? All of these questions and so many more stirred up my deep seated worry — disguised and hidden from me, ready to be surfaced and seen.

  2. Comparison. The blessing and the curse of living in beautiful Park City, Utah is that you are surrounded by beautiful people. Fit, athletic, smart, wealthy do-gooders. People are called to our quaint mountain town for the same reasons my family and I moved here over twenty years ago: the lifestyle and beauty of being surrounded by majestic mountains, never-ending trails, fresh air, and almost every outdoor activity you’d want to enjoy (except maybe surfing).

    Yet, now it seems, people are coming in droves as they escape the cities and look for a more healthy and outdoor lifestyle to raise their children. Rumor has it that well over two hundred new families have just enrolled in the Park City School district this fall. The wealth index seems to be rising with that growth, too – housing has appreciated 40%, remodels and new builds are the norm, and the number of Teslas seem to be propagating at an insane rate.

    Of course there is the opposite of that happening too – small businesses going out of business and restaurants closing their doors. The carrot dangles and teases me to want what I don’t have – more space, more land, more rooms, more views. The same sneaky teaser rises with my fit, svelte, beautiful friends. Size 2-6, they don’t appear to struggle with the physical expansion and contraction that has become my norm throughout my life – gaining and releasing ten pounds every month. How I wish I wouldn’t have to think about what I eat so damn much. Whether it is money, being fit, having a fancy car or a house with a view, people will always appear to have more.

    But, more does not make us. Envy, wanting, jealousy, comparison limit our ability to see and feel our own worth. Our worth has nothing to do with what we have or what we don’t, what we look like, or how fit or out of shape we are. Worth comes from the awareness that we are  that: an unlimited soul with infinite potential and limitless bounds. Our true nature has nothing to do with what we have or what we don’t.

    “You never see a hearse pulling a Uhaul,” either. We can’t take any of that stuff with us when our time is up. The more I appreciate what I have and turn my attention inward to the beautiful being I am, the more I can celebrate and support the abundance, prosperity, and beauty that is outside of myself with genuine joy and celebration. The more I can be grateful for what I already have, I usher in more things to be grateful for. That is living a life of plenty.

  3. Busyness. Prior to the Covid-19 shelter-in-place forced rest, I was jet setting across the country for speaking engagements, client meetings, and workshops with my co-leader Jeff Shuck. Every other week I was on a plane flying thousands of miles doing work I love, while juggling my children's school and athletic schedules, quarterbacking our calendar of commitments, planning our social activities, cleaning the house, making dinners, and the list went on and on. When someone asked how I was, I would truthfully say, "Busy – so busy!" I didn't really see that I was on the same hamster wheel I was trying to help our clients get off. The pace of my juggle was quickening and I honestly don't know how I would have kept up that pace. Returning from my trips, I'd be emotionally energized from the feeling of living my purpose and being of service yet physically exhausted from the sprint of having to be intensely on.

    This is the business of busyness. Our culture perpetuates it. Our culture rewards it. Our egos feed off of it by thinking the busier we are the more important we are. But that, my friends, is total bullshit. It's just not true. In fact, the opposite is. The less busier I am, the more space I create to listen. The more I listen, the more I awaken. The more I awaken, the more I connect. The more I connect, the more I create. And when I create, I fill up and come alive. The more alive I feel the more good I can do in the world - for my family, for Plenty, for our clients, for my community. That is the cycle of reciprocity - giving to myself so I can receive.  Filling up so I can give. 

As we navigate these times of unprecedented change and uncertainty, I encourage you to consciously choose. Choose what you want to feed. Choose what you want to repeat. Choose what you are ready to release. Choose to do it now. There is no time to waste. We are being asked to rise up in our courage to take a hard look at what is and what is not serving us now. It will take a collective effort to create the new society we seek. Before we can do that, we must start with ourselves.
 
  • What are you willing to leave behind?
  • What beliefs and behaviors or repeating cycles just don’t work anymore?
  • How can you create more space in your day for you?
  • As you listen more, where does your wisdom point to?
The Power Of Possibility

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