The Art of Abandon

More Than A Tag Line

Moving through life with greater joy and abandon. That’s the tag line for In the Current®. Over the past few years, I’ve been raising my awareness about what the “abandon” piece of that tag line means and how I want to live that more fully. A few weeks ago, after a particular event, several insights came to me and I quickly wrote them down to share with you.

The event was this: riding in the back seat of a Cessna while my husband took a flying lesson. The lesson was an anniversary gift to Jess and when I purchased it, the folks at Sawyer Aviation informed me that I was welcome to ride in the back and take pictures. When I mentioned this to friends, a common reaction was, “Really? You’re going up for Jess’ first flight? You’re braver than I am.” I’m not sure that it was bravery that made the decision. After all, the instructor could take over the controls at any time.

On an early Saturday morning, I accompanied Jess to the Scottsdale Airport and buckled myself in to the compact seat in the back of that plane. After an initial few minutes of watching some anxieties parade through my mind, I consciously let go of them and then just as consciously allowed myself to enjoy the ride: the beautiful views of desert scenery, Sinatra aptly serenading us on satellite radio with “Would you like to swing on a star?” and sharing these moments with Jess. While I’m not signing up for flying lessons any time soon, I did relish the feeling of joyful abandon.

What I’ve Learned About Abandon So Far

In November 2007 when I launched the In the Current brand, my friend, Chris, questioned my choice of the word “abandon”. He told me that he wasn’t sure if I had personally worked on the abandon piece because over the years he had seen me labor over some decisions, even small ones. Did I realize “abandon” meant making up your mind and then letting it go? I knew his comments were sincere and he had shared them with love. My first reaction was to think, “Wow, he should have seen me before I started living with more abandon!” Chris’ comments reinforced that the “and abandon” piece is an important ingredient to continue to practice, as much as the joy.

After our ride in the sky that Saturday morning, Jess and I made a quick stop to a friend’s house on the way home. I proudly said to Rob, “I’m practicing abandon!” He said, “Really? Well that’s how I see you... as a free spirit, so it must be working.” Later I remembered the phrase I had pasted to my vision board a few years ago: Free Spirit in the Desert.

Perhaps abandon comes naturally to some and others, like me, need to remember to practice. Practice does make perfect, though, and I’m getting better at it. Here’s what I’ve learned about abandon so far:

  • Giving yourself permission to risk and enjoy the ride is part of it. This means being at peace with your own decision and going with it.

  • It’s not about what someone else thinks is abandon. It’s what feels like abandon to you.

  • Abandon can happen in big moments and in small; that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it involves giving yourself over to something, that it’s invigorating in some way, or that it brings joy.

  • Sometimes abandon means trying something new and other times it can be felt by bringing a fresh approach to something familiar that you love.

  • Living with abandon isn’t necessarily about thrill-seeking yet it always requires some form of letting go. When you yield to life even through the challenges, and choose to go with the current —trusting and letting go— this is the art of abandon.

When I think of times in my life that have involved living with abandon, here are a few that come to mind:

Taking on specific challenges during my corporate career and then leaving that career to venture into the unknown territory of starting a business.

When I was single and went to Paris and Tuscany in the same year with two different girlfriends, instead of waiting to go with a romantic partner. After all, I could always go again!

Falling in love… again… with an even deeper appreciation for what love requires and what it can open up in your life.

Moving cross country to the desert with a sense of freedom and expansion. Who me? I had never pictured living anywhere outside the NY-CT area.

Various times when fully in the present moment: in nature, listening to music, connecting to Spirit, being with a loved one, and, you know I can’t leave this one out… preparing or enjoying a wonderful meal.

Everyday tasks can be carried out with abandon. Climactic events can be experienced with abandon. Practicing abandon is surrendering to and trusting the process of life.

What is Abandon To You?

What are those times in your life that you lived with abandon? What would it mean to move through your life with greater joy and abandon?

This Week: Be on the lookout for opportunities both small and grand to live with abandon.

“Today is your day to dance lightly with life. It really is.”
—Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Here's to you,
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