Letting Go

Only So Much


How do you live with only so much?

I cannot imagine.

It must be so difficult,

and so full of inconvenience.


I cannot imagine

my life without any of those things I am

so full of. Inconvenience:

it’s not for me, I’m afraid-


my life without any of those things. I am

the things I have.

It’s not for me. I’m afraid

to lose any of it-


the things I have.

It must be difficult

to lose any of it.

How do you live with only so much?


Carri Kuhn.




Whenever I go on a long distance hike, I am reminded of the joy of simplicity and focus. All you have to do is get from where you are, to where you are going. On some trips I’ve stayed in pretty cottages or comfortable B&B’s. On others I’ve slept in tents or even under the stars. On some walks we’ve had only what we could carry on our backs, and I’ve been given the privilege of stripping my days down to the absolute necessities: no extra clothes or shoes or complicated choices about food.

I am thinking about these things as I journey through Lent this year. How can I let go in order to create a greater sense of clarity and focus in my days? My thoughts this year are not only about the physical things I want to release, although there are some of those. I am reflecting more on the clutter of my inner landscape. When I wrote the poem at the beginning of this piece, I had in mind the material stuff that so often holds my attention and shifts my life away from the deeper and weightier things. But over the last couple of weeks, I have come to wonder about the habits and patterns of thought that limit me and cloud my ability to see clearly the work that God is doing in my life.

In what ways is my thinking dividing me from others, from the ability to see them, to see their needs? How do fear and anxiety, or simple fatigue, block generosity and empathy for those in front of me? How many times a day do I miss the power and beauty of the reminders of God’s love and activity in my life, because I am stuck in old repetitive thoughts? My mind tires as easily as my body, and I need to be careful to nourish and rest it.

Awareness is the start, of course. And then sitting in stillness with that awareness, to acknowledge the feeling and thinking that swirl around in my head. I think I’ve spoken before about being curious and asking questions, excavating an understanding of these often hidden things. In unraveling my thoughts and creating transparency, I find myself better able to build new pathways in my mind. Ones that are more helpful and aligned with the things I care about and want to define my life. More aligned with God’s wisdom.

So this year I am not only giving things up; I am adding things too. More sleep, more prayer and quietness. More time for reading and reflection. I want to make space for God’s thoughts, to sweep clean the debris that has collected over the years, to let in the light.




One thought on “Letting Go

  1. What a wondrous poem – I love it. And I also like the idea of more that you introduce at the end of the piece – I think so many of us especially women walk through the world with a script of not enough – I am not enough – I am not worthy – I must work harder, do more , care more, be more because as I am I am not enough. So along with more sleep and in my case more exercise I also want to add more celebrating of myself, more making peace with who I am, more compassion for my frailties and vanities, more self-love, more joy, more playfulness.

    Thanks for inviting me into the world of more




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