Holding on to Nothing

Life is A balance of holding on and letting go.


As we continue to navigate new ways of being in the world, I realize it is time to let go. Let go of all the material things that no longer fit my new life. Let go of all the old stories in my head that no longer serve me. Let go of all the ways I think it should be; or thought it would be. I have been holding on too long and now it’s time to let go. For this season I am committed to holding on to nothing.

The Hopi Elders share the truth that is ever-present in the world today: “There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.”

It is a time to surrender to what is and trust the moments that lead us to the next. A time to recognize the resistance that lives in the undercurrent of our lives and intentionally change the trajectory of our thoughts.

As we lean into ‘letting go’ we may experience fear, self-doubt, or sadness. It is here where we learn to be comfortable in being uncomfortable and we take our next best steps.

Find your faith…

Find quiet moments in your day to pray, meditate, or just be still. Trust there is something outside of yourself that is ever-present and powerful. Choose faith over failure. If you have faith, you have hope, and when you have hope you always see a way. When you see a way, you never give up. And no matter what, never ever give up!

Keep your mind and body healthy and whole…

Go to the gym, take a yoga class, find a running track…anything! Find something that keeps your mind and body connected, healthy, and working together, because, in the times when everything else seems disconnected, it will keep you centered and grounded. Your physical wellness is the starting and ending point of everything In-between.

Love what is…

Trusting in the universe that where you are is where you need to be in the moment. Truly knowing that every experience comes with your own personal power of choice. It is the daily affirmation that ‘it is not what happens to you, but what you choose to be in the outcome’. This is a discipline of our own thinking and a muscle that must be worked daily.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath; don’t default to drama…

In the moments that are unpredictable and heart-wrenching, take a moment to find your center. An initial reaction of blame or guilt will fuel a fire and feed a story. Take a deep breath, and let your breathing be your compass. Drama is an unhealthy and unnecessary platform — nothing good lives here.

Live in a state of gratitude — even when it’s hard.

Learn to be truly and sincerely grateful for what you have…and not what you wish you had. Look closely at your personal blessings no matter how big or small. Your gratitude for what ‘is’ will be a game-changer no matter where you are in life. In the wake of this practice, you will find peace in your mind and calm in your heart.

The river is flowing fast and it is time to let go of the shore. It is time to embrace what we do not yet know and celebrate holding on to nothing — you may be surprised by what you find.

As a life-long learner and student of human potential, I believe in vulnerability, authenticity, and connection. I have learned that we all experience seasons and chapters in our lives that are sometimes hard to navigate. We struggle with unexpected scenarios and hunger for simple solutions and in the end, we all yearn to be heard and seen — without judgement. This is life, our life, our journey.

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Carolyn Lebanowski
Carolyn Lebanowski
She began her professional career in retail and grew to become an experienced and respected senior-level executive with particular expertise in strategic development, organizational communication, and executive coaching. After nearly three decades of career growth in corporate organizational development, Carolyn was ready for a career change—and a life change. This led to a new role and the most challenging, enriching, and rewarding work of her life, as a Strategic Business Leader for nonprofit spiritual institutions. These roles provide her the opportunity to fuse the professional and the personal, aligning her business acumen with her spiritual identity and passion for the development of human potential—in her colleagues, her community, and herself. Carolyn is a writer who seeks above all to share from the heart. Her impulse to write began 20 years ago with letters to her children and grew into journaling that was unedited and life-affirming. Today she writes with a focus on raw, authentic experience, drawn from real life, to explore, express, and make sense of the pain and joy, struggles and triumphs, of life. In all her endeavors, she champions connection, integrity, and radical positivity.


  1. Exactly what I needed to see today, thanks to Kimberly Davis for sharing.

    Carolyn, I love the image of letting go of the shoreline and allowing the river to guide me, letting go of the attempt at control because when we hold on like that, we get beaten up by the force against us.

    I love to kayak and swim, and know that in most cases, you can make small movements to help guide you in the water, to avoid major obstacles. And in this metaphor, we must always remember to wear our life vest, in this case a loving, positive community of fellow travelers.

  2. “This is a discipline of our own thinking and a muscle that must be worked daily.”

    Somebody said that there is nothing wrong with having you mind drift when you try to be mindful. You just have to lead the thoughts back. It is noticing and leading back that builds the muscle.
    Like doing pushup, muscle building happens in the movement, not in the static (agreed, a plank is also useful, but not primarily for biceps.)

    But like learning to ride a bike, it is hard to teach balance to others and there will be scraped knees along the way.