Tag Archives: walk away

A Time to Walk Away

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cast away

Photo by Beni Ishaque Luthor

Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” isn’t exactly a pensive song. At first glance, it seems like nothing more than a celebration of a perpetual drunk fest on some Mexican beach. But tucked in the lyrics is a slow, somewhat poignant, realization: As he considers his Margaritavile demise, the singer first claims it was “nobody’s fault,” then “…it could be my fault.” And finally, the epiphany, “It’s my own damn fault.”

Oi vay. I can relate this slow grind to humility, especially when it comes to knowing when to walk away. When I was a young teacher, I was surprised to so readily see among my colleagues the ones who had stayed too long. I remember telling Barry, “Please remind me to quit when I don’t like the kids anymore!”

But sometimes we are the last to see when it’s time to go, aren’t we? Ecclesiastes says, “There’s a time to keep and a time to cast away.”

Wisdom is about knowing when.

When is it right to let go of whatever we are holding onto? A job? A person? A dream? A grudge? A personal war?  I don’t always know, do you?

I do know this: Hang on too long, and the misery that ensues is often my own fault because I’m only hanging on out of fear, comfort…even laziness. I may even have legitimate grievances to pin my frustrations to, but the truth is that I have outstayed the grace I was given to deal with them. Without that grace, the weeds in any human interaction eventually wind round our necks and choke the living daylights out of us.

Knowing the “when” is hard, though.  I’m often too close, too tangled in the weeds to see. I do know this much. It’s time to walk away if–

1) My only reason for remaining involves fear, laziness, or the desire to be comfortable

2) My “round” self just no longer fits the ever-tightening square hole of my circumstances

3) I’ve made a god of the thing or person I’m clinging to–and I’m trying to squeeze life, or affirmation, or provision from it, when I should be trusting God for those things instead.  Ugh.

I’d love to know how others deal with this question, though. As you think about letting go, what determines your “when”?

Pack up your camel and go

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three camels

© Albertoloyo | Dreamstime.com

What do you do when your brain turns to fuzz and you need to get the cobwebs out of your head?  Today is Epiphany, which is, traditionally, the day the wise men arrived to find the Christ child. An “epiphany” has come to mean a sudden awakening or realization.  I wrote a couple of days ago about how I had a little epiphany of my own while vacationing in Italy. Like the wise men, I discovered that if you want to find truth, sometimes you just have to pack your camels and go after it!

Psychiatrist Ed Hallowell, author of Crazy Busy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and about to Snap!, is a real advocate for the idea of walking away.  He notes that sometimes our brains are stuck in a loop like a scratched record. We spin away, but we keep hitting that same scratch over and over. We become the noise in our own brains. At that point, it’s time to move. Get up. Go for a walk. Meet a friend for lunch. Pray. Dance. Get out of town for a few days—or even longer if possible.

Again, it’s about trust. Just put that thing you are chewing on into bigger hands and TRUST.  Before you know it, the solution to that problem you’ve been looping over and over in your brain becomes clear.  It’s really weird how that happens.  Kind of like your “big idea” waits politely for the fuzz in your brain to move over and make room for new ideas to settle into your soul.  And if there’s no room for simple ideas, there’s even less room for imagination…for wonder…for amazement.  And what is life if you aren’t filled with wonder and amazement now and then?We become the noise in our brains

The wise men had the right idea. Walk away from your daily work, your routine—even sometimes from all that you know.

Follow that star!

So what about you? What do you do when it’s time to hit the reset button?

© 2011 L. Kay Johnson, L is for LaNita. All rights reserved.