I have a desk at home that I use for all my drawing, painting, journaling, and writing. My creativity desk sits in the front of the house, near a window that looks out at the small porch and front yard. For years, a prominent hedge has been growing in front of the porch. Despite our efforts to trim it, it grew to a height where it completely blocked the view out of the window, and kept out the natural light. One morning while I was sitting under the harsh LED light above my creativity desk, I decided I needed a change. It was time to remove the hedge and allow the outdoor light in.

The remains of the obtrusive object

I consulted with my wife, of course. This represented a major change, not the kind of thing to run off and do on my own. After a short discussion we agreed, it should go. With saw in hand, I cut each of the 6-foot high shrubs down at their trunks. With me cutting and my wife carrying away the branches, we finished the job in a few minutes.

When we stepped back and looked at the house from the street, we saw a dramatic change. The front porch, which had been completely obscured moments ago was now in clear view. It looked like the house could breathe again. Everything about it seemed light and open. It felt like a great place to sit for a while. It never felt that way before. When I went inside and looked out from my desk, there was light, space, and room that had not been there before.

Later that day, the impact of that small change still resonated with me. I had been sitting in that space, behind that dark wall for a long time. Now removing that object had changed everything about the look and feel of the house, inside and out. How could simply removing something have such an impact? It made me think about the positive change that happens when you rid yourself of something that no longer serves you.

I have had this experience before. I let go of a job I held for 14 years as well as the career trajectory it promised. However, that involved a long bout with burnout and depression, followed by a good measure of recovery and awareness through therapy (much more on that very large topic later). Overcoming the fear associated with that change was difficult. When I finally did it, it allowed me to see how much space in my life it had taken up. I realized how it suffocated any other hopes or dreams. I learned new things. I could write and paint. I could just walk outside in the woods and take pictures of birds and be content.

My world was wide open and full of possibilities, but being trapped in a job that took up all my space and mental energy but no longer served me did not allow me to see it. I only saw the fear of uncertainty in a life course radically different than the one I was on. The hedge in front of my window did not let me see the light either.

I am happy that both of them are gone. I can see now. All it took was trust and leaving things behind. What are you holding on to in your life that is no longer serving you? Let it go.