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Where is your heart?

    What you once put your whole heart into, will never entirely let you go.

    Suppose you were to be told your life is soon to end. What would you look back and wish you had done that you have not done? Now, suppose you have a reprieve... are you going to forget about those things again?

    Where is your heart?

    What have you left behind that used to be intensely important to you? Why did you give it up? Are you truly done with it? If not, you may be certain that it will not be done with you. Perhaps it will return in the form of dreams, or of hopes that you have for others (children in particular). Perhaps it will remain a lingering regret, an "if only" or a "what if" that haunts you with images of the road not taken.

    This does not mean that we cannot or should not change paths. Many of us followed interests, hobbies, even incipient careers in our youthful years that would probably have turned sour had we stayed with them into adulthood. What it does mean is that we need to be sure that we have CHOSEN to let go. It is not healthy to carry the belief that we were forced to move on, to leave behind against our will something that was dearly beloved to us.

    What if this did, indeed, happen to you? What if some form of pressure was applied to "guide" you into a path that others thought more beneficial, or for some other reason you had to make a choice that was not in accord with who you really were and what you really wanted?

    Is it too late? It is conventional coaching to say that it is never too late, and for some things it is not. People win long-desired degrees in their eighties. There are folks who are maturely mature and who climb mountains, start new businesses, and in other ways do the things they have always longed to do. Yet some things are not realistic. While some rock stars may be aging, they were not so when they first established themselves, and I suspect that rock-stardom would be difficult for a mature mature person to attain.

    Sometimes there are responsibilities and commitments that will not allow us to change horses in midstream.

    Here's a thought. If what you loved will not let go of you, and yet it is not realistic for you to return to it, how about using your passion to help others? Whatever knowledge and skills you honed may still serve others. Perhaps you can bring them to the young, to the deprived who need to have their horizons widened. Or to the elderly who need the same. Perhaps you can gather all your knowledge and write about it.

    Whatever it is... do not hold back. Do not say "Maybe next year." For you never know when that reprieve will be rescinded.

    Or, perhaps you need to take out all your dreams, all your knowledge, maybe even the box of equipment that has been stored in the attic or basement for yea these many years, and really take a look at whatever it is. What does it mean to you now? Perhaps the truth is that, if you look at it with the eyes of reality, you will realize that you are indeed ready to let go of it after all. Perhaps it was only a fantasy, not a real dream, that has haunted you all these years.

    If that is the case, you may do well to bid it a real goodbye, so that you make it clear to yourself that you are bidding it farewell. You could write it a letter, a letter that sums up your memories and your hopes, and why you are now letting go of them. You could keep that letter as a reminder of why, or you could symbolically burn it or bury it. You could visualize all the gear, the equipment, or the dreams, floating slowly away from you down a river, knowing that when it turns the bend and is out of sight you will be done with it. There are many forms of goodbye ritual to make it real to us.

    On the other hand, perhaps the dreams are really happy memories, and there are no melancholy "what if" or "if only" thoughts attached to them. Then be joyous. Perhaps construct a memory board to bear witness to the times you enjoyed so much, and rejoice that whatever it is was able to contribute to who and what you are now. For it did, whether you return to it or not. All that we have done continues as a part of us, for it shaped us, even if only a little. For this reason, if we like who we are now, we cannot totally disown any part of what has gone before, but we can, when we are ready, say goodbye to it.

    Whatever it is, do not let yourself be weighed down with the feeling that your relationship with this hobby, this passion, this activity, is incomplete. Revive it, or let it go, and feel your energy return to focus on the things that you plan to do now!

    � 2003 by Diana Robinson, Ph.D.

    Choices Success Strategies Coaching
    Work in Progress may be reproduced in its entirety only, including this copyright line. Disclaimer -The contents herein are solely the opinions of Work in Progress owner, and should not be considered as a form of therapy nor advice. There is no guarantee of validity or accuracy. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, services of a competent professional should be sought. TO SUBSCRIBE to Work in Progress send a blank e-mail to workinprogress-On@lists.webvalence.com. To offer feedback e-mail Diana.