Perspectives 19 – Making Space for What We Want

Perspectives Issue 19: January 12, 2023

In This Issue

Making Space for What We Want

Upcoming Workshops:

  • Creating Your New Year
  • Spring Cleaning Your Heart and Head
  • Tools for Getting Unstuck
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Beyond Basics Meeting Facilitation Training

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Making Space for What We Want

“The space for what you want is already filled with what you settled for instead.”

~ Richard Bach

I wrote my 3rd eNewsletter article starting with that quote, in 2011. I love knowing there are some of you reading this who read that article, over a decade ago. If you are newer to the list and want to explore previous issues, you can do that on my website.

In the turning of this particular year, as we are continuing to wrestle with myriad changes around us and, for many, within us, I hear many clients, friends, and family members reaching for frameworks to help them navigate, and invitations to go deeper. I hear them wanting to release the distractions of all the details, the seemingly unending urgency of all that needs to be thought about, responded to, and taken care of, and to find their way to “what matters” – to the work that is uniquely theirs to do, in this time. And I feel those desires myself.

In the article I wrote in 2011, I focused on the ways in which external opportunities and crises sometimes make it possible for us to see what we need to let go of, to make room for what we need now. Quoting from that old article:

“Sometimes (those events) are huge, like when my first marriage ended and my health collapsed and in less than one year I found myself without most of what I had been using to define myself – partner, step-parent of kids under my own roof, executive director of a nonprofit, healthy/resilient person… It was a huge upheaval, and it reverberated through my body, heart, soul, mind; every aspect of my life changed.
“It was traumatic. And, as I moved through it, I discovered room for a lot of things I’d wanted, but had not made room for in my old life: writing, music, old friends and new, yoga, walking, taking care of my body, a different sort of relationship with my step-daughters. I found a new vocation, and created a very different rhythm in my life.
“I wish I had been able to make room for those things before the crises that made up that year cleared out much of what I loved in my life as well as many things I’d been settling for. My life has shifted again since then: new love arrived, my step-daughters continued to grow and are now adults out on their own, my solitary music making has morphed into a band, I’ve moved, my work has continued to evolve – the rhythms are once again very different. 
“And, as I settle into those rhythms, it’s easy to settle for things that are not really meeting my needs in the process of accepting the blessings that this life brings me. So I have to keep paying attention, to what I have, and what I want; to what pieces of my life are fulfilling, and what pieces are just taking up space I could use for other things.”

And, of course, my life, rhythms, wants and needs, have changed again in big ways in the more than a decade since then, bringing new questions about how to prioritize and balance, and what things that “demand” my attention I could just choose to let go of.

Today, I want to observe that, while big external upheavals (the end of a marriage, COVID, a new baby or job, the George Floyd murder and responses to it, etc.) are often powerful catalysts for this kind of change/reprioritization, learning and growth are not inevitable. We have to choose to use those moments to invite reflection and change, otherwise, they can simply overwhelm us, and push us deeper into our reactive/survival/fear-based patterns.

I have also found, for myself, and with many clients, that it is generally harder to do the deep reflection and reprioritization needed to create significant change when we have the option to stay in our known routines and choices; when we would have to proactively move into the less-known or unknown in order to make changes.

Whether you are in the midst of a big external or internal upheaval, or whether you are living in a fairly comfortable routine but feeling some need for change, I invite you to reflect…

What do you want to be creating in your life?  And what will you need to let go of to make room for whatever that is?

Standing here, in this moment of this day, as you inhabit winter’s combination of storminess and fallow quiet, I invite you to reflect for a minute, maybe with a pen and notebook at hand, to capture what rises: 

What are you feeling, in your body, as you consider your life as it is now? See if you can just notice it, without needing to create a story to explain it yet.

What do you want to gather from this past year – What has nourished you? Brought you joy? What have you learned? 

What has been challenging? And where are you in the process of metabolizing what rose in you in response to those challenges? Are you feeling settled, or is it still churning around in you?

What have you lost that might need acknowledgment?

And, as you move into this new year…

What do you want to let fall away: what are beliefs, commitments, behaviors that may have been necessary in the past, but that you don’t need anymore? That are perhaps no longer serving/nurturing you?

What overgrowth do you want to prune away to make room for what you want to grow in your life? 

What seeds might you want to be planting? What will you do to nurture them so they can grow? What would make it easier for them to thrive?

As you let yourself reflect, check in: What’s rising for you?  What does your body know?  Maybe the energy stirring is excitement, or maybe you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable, or frustrated, or scared.  Pause and notice what comes up. 

Sometimes knowing that we want something is energizing, and sometimes it is hard – sometimes we feel overwhelmed, and like we can’t possibly make room for what we want.  And, Richard Bach is right, it’s not like there is a whole lot of empty space in us just waiting to be dedicated to this new thing we want to become – that space is already full of other stuff.

So how do we create change?

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I can change.”

~ Carl Rogers

* * *

“Who you are is necessary”

~James Olivia Chu Hillman

We start by paying attention to who we are now, and to what our hearts are telling us about who we are becoming. We root this work in compassion for our current selves; we cannot evolve from anywhere except where we are now, and all of who we are now is, or was at some time, necessary for our survival. Guilt and self-judgment just get in the way of learning and change.

It is this work that allows us to create the path forward.  But it can be hard in our very full lives to make time to pay attention. And it is hard for most of us to do it alone.

“Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone…
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
conversation. The kettle is singing…
All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.”

~ David Whyte, from the poem Everything is Waiting For You

I love David Whyte’s invitation to live in the knowledge of our belonging in the world – our inherent belonging. Every breath we take is an exchange with the larger world; a reciprocal gifting of life between us and the plants we share this biosphere with. It is an illusion that we are separate. And, sometimes, we need a more active, language-based shared experience to sort out what we want and make new choices.

Want some support making change?

Take a moment now to stop and ask yourself: What would support me in making the changes I want to make?

How about:

  • Time set aside to focus just on you and what you want to be creating?
  • Opportunities to hear from and talk with others who are creating change in their own lives?
  • New tools for figuring out what you most want, getting out of stuck spots and accessing your deep knowledge, your strengths, imagination, and wisdom?
  • What else?

If what I just described sounds like what you need right now, I am offering a pair of workshops this winter and spring to support you in this work – “Creating Your New Year” starting January 24th, and “Spring Cleaning Your Heart and Head” starting April 5th. You’ll find the details below.

I also have space available for new coaching clients if you’d prefer one-with-one support. If you are curious about that process, you’ll find info on my website.

The Workshops

I am offering a pair of workshops this winter and spring that focus on what we want to be creating, and letting go of, this year. They build nicely on each other, but either can be taken without taking the other. Both will be offered online.

Creating Your New Year will run for three consecutive Monday nights, from 6:30 to 8:15, January 23rd through February 6th. The cost is on a sliding scale from $65-$140.

Join me in a curiosity-based process to uncover what you want from and for yourself this year, set some clear goals that are rooted in your core values, and learn tools that can support you in moving into the changes you want to create.

Spring Cleaning Your Heart and Head will run three consecutive Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m., April 5th through 19th. The cost is on a sliding scale from $65-$140.

If you are feeling cluttered on the inside, stuck in old ways of thinking and feeling, or bogged down by your past, join me for “Spring Cleaning Your Heart and Head” and learn ways to clear out the clutter, let go of old burdens, and make room for the new self you want to become.

If you want to register for either or both of these self-offered workshops, please email me at

Upcoming PCC Workshops

I am also teaching one workshop in PCC’s winter term, and one in the spring term. Both will be online.

Preregistration is required for PCC workshops, and can be done through the PCC website at:

Tools for Getting Unstuck will run three consecutive Wednesday nights from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., starting February 22nd.

Feeling stuck is an experience common to us all. It stifles our creativity, brings up judgment and anxiety, and wastes a lot of time. Come spend three hours in this highly interactive workshop learning some ways to get out of stuck spots, make decisions you’ll feel good about and create the forward motion you need to create the changes you desire. These techniques can be used at a personal level and in organizations (workplaces, boards, families, recreational and creative organizations, etc).

The CRN for this workshop is 14822, and the cost is $55. (See below for link to register.)

Creative Problem Solving runs two consecutive Monday nights, April 24th and May 1st, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m..

Creativity is never more important than when you’re searching for an answer. Explore how you can tap into your most creative self when tackling any problem.

This workshop dips back into a couple of the tools I introduce in “Tools for Getting Unstuck,” but with new applications, as well as introducing some new tools.

The spring term registration process has not yet started, so I don’t have a CRN or cost for this workshop yet. Stay tuned :-).

Tech alert: You will need a computer rather than a phone for participating in this workshop, because we will use Mural as well as Zoom.

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