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Along The Path

Along the Path is a newsletter created by Coach Marlene Boas, Ph.D., BCC
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You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em .

                                                                                     Kenny Rogers


Holding on and letting go

I play poker and I'm guessing that the immense rise in popularity of this game is due to the myriad life lessons it can teach us.  When I was young my dad would always say "that's the hand you were dealt, how are you going to play it?"   That made me realize that I have the  power to change some things but others are outside of my control.  It's a lot like the serenity prayer; know what you can change, what you can't, and the wisdom to tell the difference.
Knowing when to hold on and when to let go is a challenge we face throughout our lives on all levels from the mundane to the profound.  We all have stuff  that we're holding on to that we'll never use again but can't quite let go of.  Even if shoulder pads do come back into style I'm pretty sure the jackets hanging in my closet won't be fashion forward and I'm not nearly hip enough to pull off the retro/vintage look.  So why are they still there?  Do they provide a physical representation of  memories of the 80s? (It was a memorable decade because all my kids were born then.)  Think about the stuff you have that's not being used.  Why do you keep it?  Is it time to let go?
Another place to examine whether to "hold or fold" is our values.  A while ago I was working with a woman in her 60s who had a case of the pervasive "not good enoughs" because she had never gotten that graduate degree. She really never wanted one, didn't feel the need for it, never accomplished it, but always had a low grade nagging feeling of inadequacy.  When she took the time to carefully examine her life and reflect on what was really important to her, she realized an advanced degree was not something she valued but had been important to her mother who was an early feminist and worked hard for womens rights.  This woman had been blindly carrying that value for her mother for decades and was ready to let it go.  When she did, a weight was miraculously lifted, she sighed with relief, and had a renewed energy for things she loved. Our values change as we get older and wiser.  Have you reexamined values recently?  Not just simply naming them but really exploring what they mean and how they influence your life and discussing them with people you're close to.
Our thoughts are perhaps the most important place to invest some reflection time to decide if we've been holding onto to some thoughts or beliefs we need to release.  They might be about ourselves, others, relationships, money... and they may be holding us back without us even realizing it.  Thinking about our thoughts (aka as metacognition) can be difficult and we can easily get lost in our heads, going down the same old, familiar, worn out paths.  A trusted friend or coach can really help you see the forest for the trees and find new ways of looking at things.
Taking time to reflect on our lives; our thoughts, values, inspirations, and experiences is critical for us to move gracefully along the path of our life.  Otherwise we trudge along carrying things that slow us down, make us unhappy, or downright miserable.  Knowing what you can influence, being determined to take action, and also accepting what is out of our control only happens when time and energy is invested in discerning the difference.  In poker you're going to lose big time if you don't take the time look around and consider the subtleties of what's happening and how you're going to respond.  This is your life and the stakes are big.  It's important to remember that sometimes you can make all the right moves and sheer luck will crack your pocket aces anyway - but at least you played the hand well!  


Kind vs Nice  - Jan 2015
Managing Expectations December 2014 
Gratitude - November 2014
October - Who's Calling?
September - Note to Self
August 2014 - Lost in Translation
Copyright © 2014, Marlene Boas, All rights reserved.

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