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  • Writer's pictureDenise Fleissner Ralston

Box of Potential

My friend, Michael, is a professional musician. For decades he has been collecting guitars, strings, cables, amps, microphones, and fans. Recently, Michael identified a box of items he determined were no longer useful in their current condition, but if refurbished, could be of monetary value. For weeks, he toiled about the contents of the box. “When I woke up this morning,” he said, emphatically, “the first thing I thought about was that box!” “What came to mind?” I inquired. “It sounds so silly,” he admitted, “but I realized I was burning up precious rehearsal time worrying about how to eek money out of old, worn-out stuff.” Translation: time spent on a low-value return was impacting Michael’s rehearsal schedule, directly affecting preparation time for paid gigs. “So what happened next?” I asked, curious. He laughed. “I picked up the box, rolled it to the trash, and dumped it!” “The whole thing?” I yelped, surprised at his decision. “Yep, the whole box. I just chucked it.”  I wanted to cheer, “YES! Living in the potential usually results in lost value,” but I self-managed. Instead, I asked, “What made you do it?” He responded, his voice now animated, “When I looked through the stuff again this morning, I realized nothing in the box truly had potential, therefore, there was actually very little value. I was saving garbage and I wanted it gone.” He sounded triumphant. “Then when I went to retrieve the empty trash can later in the day,” he continued, “I lifted the lid and smiled, feeling absolutely liberated that the box was gone. It no longer had a hold on me.” For Michael, what was holding him hostage was the potential value of the gear. In effect, money was controlling him. When he realized where he was stuck, and the impact it was having on him (lost rehearsal time), he had clarity to proceed and give himself permission to let it go. In doing so, he achieved a goal he had been praying about for months: more emotional space to play, pray and make music! What do you need to let go of?

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