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Finding peace in letting go – Alison Craig

Last Autumn my husband and I were taking a morning walk along a path filled with beautiful Fall colors and textures. The morning was crisp, and the air was fresh. There were countless dandelions dotting the edge of the pathway, floating above the remaining foliage like fluffy cotton balls. I leaned over to take a picture of one. Much to my initial dismay, it was completely falling apart. The seeds that would normally make up the beautiful airy sphere were letting go, in what at first glance appeared to be a complete mess. But as I looked closer, I saw unique details and textures. The dandelion letting go of all its seeds actually had a beautiful gracefulness to it. The dandelion was letting go of what it to needed to in that season.

Allison Craig

Letting go can be hard

Letting go can be one of the hardest things we have to do in our lifetimes. Just like the dandelion let go of its seeds in order to create new plants the following season, sometimes we need to let go in order to give ourselves space to grow. Letting go can be scary because whether it be in a big or small way, letting go can also mean change. But giving ourselves room to grow can result in the most beautiful transformations.

Some of my earliest memories from my childhood include hearing my father play songs on our family’s baby grand piano during the evenings. Some years later, I learned how to turn pushing randomly on those same keys into beautiful music. When my husband and I got married, we were given the piano I had spent so much time playing as a child and teenager.

But the reality was, we really didn’t have room for a baby grand piano, and I was too busy to play it. It was very large for the space we had— it metaphorically ate up all the adjacent space in the room next to our kitchen. After a couple years, the writing was on the wall. It was time to let go the baby grand piano that I had so many fond childhood memories with. I found a friend who was looking for a piano and the problem was solved. I knew it was going to a good home where it would be used and appreciated.

While we may not want to admit it, material possessions are sometimes hard to let go of. Especially if it is something we have worked hard for, paid good money for, or have an emotional attachment to. But letting go of excess materialistic possessions can free up space literally and figuratively for us to focus on other areas of our lives that are worth developing and growing into, rather than managing an overload of belongings. 

Letting go of dreams

But letting go isn’t always materialistic. Perhaps there is a dream or idea you’ve had to let go of. Maybe it is just temporarily, or maybe it is permanent. If letting go of a dream is temporary, perhaps the timing just wasn’t quite right, so letting go just means for now. Or perhaps the idea you had is being revised for an even better plan for your future. Or maybe there is a particular picture in your mind of how your life in general was supposed to look, but things just aren’t turning out that way.

I know personally there have been times where I became so focused on how I thought my life should unfold, I didn’t realize things were coming together for the better. I had to let go of my preconceived ideas of how I thought my life should look, before I could fully see the beautiful life right in front of me.

Letting go to grow

While letting go is often associated with loss and change, it can also be associated with gain. There are countless facets of our lives where we may need to let go in order to grow. I don’t know what area in life this may or may not be for you, but I know it can be scary. Will we regret letting go? Will we not like the change? Will things ever be the same again? So many questions come along with letting go, and sometimes there are things we should hold on to as long as we can.

My thoughts go back to that crisp Autumn morning walk and I remind myself of the dandelion letting go of its seeds. It was done in such a light and airy way, it gets me to wondering—are we putting too much weight on letting go in certain areas of our lives? Perhaps we should shift some of the focus from what is in our lives, to how we live our lives.

Reflective questions

Have you ever felt like there was an area of your life where you needed
to let go in order to grow?

Do you have trouble letting go of material possessions? If so, why do you think this is?

If you feel you have an excess of material possessions, is there a way you can prioritize keeping the most significant or memorable items, while letting go of the not-so-important ones?

Has there been a time in your life where things just didn’t pan out the way you thought they would?

Was there some good that came out of this experience?

Is there an area in your life where you might be focusing too much
on the what, rather than how you are living your life?

Allison Craig is a photographer, designer, and writer inspired by nature and the plants she grows in her garden. Her hope is to inspire others to see beauty in their everyday lives. Her first book, Finding Peace in the Everyday, is available on Amazon.
IG: @autumn.soul

Finding peace in the everyday book cover
Finding Peace in the Everyday
Allison Craig

iola bookazine change issue

This article and reflective questions can be found among others in the Change issue of iola. Get your beautiful copy here.

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Peace in Safe Places – Allison Craig

There is a little restaurant out in the country not far from where my husband and I live. The location is interesting, almost bridging the transition of development by the freeway with an open expanse of fields dotted with picturesque old farmhouses. Some of them appear to have been abandoned, just sitting in the middle of a field. I immediately found the area so intriguing, and in a way romantic. So of course, I wanted to try eating at the quaint eatery along this picturesque road.

We would often pass it on our way to go on a hike in the nearby foothills. Every time I would request we stop to dine there, but my dear husband was very hesitant (as he is with any new restaurant). But after driving by many times, one day he finally succumbed to my begging, and we stopped in to eat. This little roadside joint instantly became one of our favorites. The environment is welcoming and cozy, and the food is delicious. As the summer heat became too much for us, we stopped going on hikes. Then we went on a vacation. One thing lead to another and before we knew it, quite a bit of time had passed by before we had been back to our new favorite charming restaurant.

Finally, when the weather cooled down, we went on another hike and stopped in for lunch. The waiter, who had gotten to know us (to the point where we didn’t even have to tell him what we wanted to order) asked us how we’d been. Feeling embarrassed that we hadn’t been recent customers, I muttered some apologetic excuses as to why we hadn’t been in to dine lately, but that it was so good to be back. He smiled at me and commented that it was good to have a safe place to return to.

His sentiment really struck a cord with me. A safe place to return to. This was something I had felt for a long time but hadn’t realized it, if that makes sense. I will explain. For my husband and I, many of our safe places have been the tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurants we frequented over the years. While we were living in Southern California, there were a few restaurants we ate at multiple times a month. A couple of them we frequented almost every week.

In one respect, the staff didn’t know us at all. But in another, they knew us better than many other people in our everyday lives at the time. They saw us during times when we were tired and worn out. At times when we were happy it was the weekend. Times of serious discussion, and times of light-hearted laughter.

When we were about to move away, some of the saddest goodbyes were to the people who worked in these restaurants. And in a way, the establishments themselves. Over the course of seven years, these eateries went from ordinary restaurants to places of refuge for us. I have so many fond memories of spending time in each of them.

A couple years later, we went back to our old stomping grounds. When we walked into one of the restaurants, the owner immediately recognized us and came over to greet us. It was good to be back in one of our safe places. We settled into our usual booth and carried on just as if we’d never left.

Reflective questions

Printable questions here.

This is an excerpt from Allison’s book: Finding Peace in the Everyday.

Allison Craig is a photographer, designer, and writer inspired by nature and the plants she grows in her garden. Her hope is to inspire others to see beauty in their everyday lives. Allison and her husband, Anthony, publish the Artful Reflections™ Podcast on a bi-weekly basis. Her first book, Finding Peace in the Everyday, was released in March 2020.
IG:  @autumn.soul.

This article is one from the rest issue.
Read more about it here.