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Let Go of the Old to Make Room for the New

Dec 30, 2016

In our culture of continuous improvement, acquisition, and novelty, it's easy to forget an essential truth: in order to make room for the new, it is necessary to let go of the old.

A few years ago, as I was struggling with change, a wise mentor of mine explained the universal cycle of change to me.

Throughout nature and every living system, this cycle plays out.

First, there is inception--think of this as a seed being planted. For a long time, a lot of resources (sun, water) get poured in, yet there is nothing to show for it.

Eventually, the seedling pokes through the soil, and it begins to grow

The plant grows and matures. Yet as the growth continues, eventually the plant will lose strength if there is not careful pruning of the extraneous over-growth.

Without this pruning, the over-growth gets chaotic. In order to avoid this chaos, it's important to drop off and release what is no longer serving the plant. This allows for growth in the future. 

For example, tree limbs need to be cut selectively, rose bushes get pruned quite dramatically.

And consider relationships--as a human matures from infant to child, then adolescent, and finally adult--her relationship with her parents must change too. The old ways of relating must give way to new dynamics in order to have a successful and productive relationship for the new stage of development.

After this dropping off, or pruning, stage there is a period of dormancy before new growth can occur. During this stage, the living system is gathering strength, though that is not outwardly visible.

On this last day of the year, what will you drop off and release in order to make room for the kind of growth you want?

Will it be old habits that no longer serve you, outmoded ways of relating to someone, outdated beliefs that hold you back?

It always take courage to let go of the old and familiar to make room for the new and unfamiliar. And it takes awhile for that new growth to show up. But have faith. Nature knows what it's doing, and so will you.


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