What Can You Let Go Of? 

Creating Space

As busy moms we are always trying to get more things done. But just as we put a dent in our list, more things seems to pile on. What if we  are missing an important question? What if instead of adding more to our plates, we paused to think about what we can actually let go of?

My mind has been roaming on this topic for a couple weeks now, and I prepared to chat about it in my Unstoppable Moms Club room on Clubhouse. I am so grateful for these conversations and the ability to learn from other amazing women. 

Here are some of the things that have come to my mind:

1. Let go of pressure.

2. Let go of the outcome or result.

3. Let go of trying to get somewhere.

4. Let go of trying to be perfect.

5. Let go of comparison.

6. Let go of doubt.

7. Let go of meaning.

When I got to let go of meaning my mind really went wild. At first I was thinking about all the pressure and the results and the trying to get places. I thought back to my days as a college athlete. I remember absolutely loving it, then at some point after a lot of success, getting off track and becaming paralyzed by the need to win. Trapped in need-to-win-mode, my performance was laced with tension. I felt so much pressure on every single shot. And in tennis, each point can have lots of shots. It was intense.

But when letting go of meaning entered my mind this past week, it kind blew the lid off if you know what I mean. Like, if there really is no meaning, things just happen, we just accept them as is without judgement or story, then there is so much more freedom. 

What does it mean to live without meaning? To clarify, I’m not talking about meaning like your purpose. I am a huge proponent of living into your purpose and living intentionally (see my post on that here). Instead I mean living in the moment without letting our thoughts react or  make a judgement about whatever is happening. (Ironically I can’t even define it without including the word “mean”.)

If you stop to think about it, things just happen. We are the ones who assign value or judgment. For example, 

PRESENT: It is raining outside

POSSIBLE MEANING/INTERPRETATION: That stinks. I miss the sun. 

PRESENT: it is raining outside.

POSSIBLE MEANING/INTERPRETATION: That’s amazing we desperately need it. It’s so cozy inside listening to the rain.

And that is the most mundane and simplistic example.

When you dive in to a personal level, our propensity to make meanings is MASSIVE. I don’t know about you, but in addition to that, I also find I am much more critical of myself than anyone else. (You could also be the opposite though, and find yourself more easily drawn to making meanings about other people.) Either way, at the end of the day, I’d venture to say that we are all just looking for some space. We are looking for more room to just be. To be ourselves, to live our lives. To give ourselves grace and love. Cause in that space we will be more caring toward ourselves, our friends and especially toward our children.  

When you think to yourself about what you can let go of, what comes to mind? Do you feel like you ever COULD let something go? Do it sound freeing or scary? Again, if we try to think about this from the perspective of an observer, we might be able to gleam some insights for ourselves or approach it from a new angle.

What is holding you back? What “stories” do you tell yourself that you believe about yourself or your situation that in fact are likely to be holding you back? What if none of that were true? Or what if that weren’t true in the way that you believe it to be? What then? 

Whether or not it’s true, thinking about it from an angle of letting go meaning gives us somewhere to look from. By giving up one tiny part of our life that isn’t serving us, we can create space. Maybe that tiny space will serve as an opening for something new, or maybe that tiny space can remain just that, a tiny space to just be in our day.

Both sound wonderful for me.


[Want to join in these conversations? Join us Wednesday nights at 8pm PST on Clubhouse in my Unstoppable Moms Club Room. Reach out for an invite to Clubhouse- iPhone only in beta- or with questions.]


PS- Other things we talked about letting go of include expectations- of other people and of ourselves. Letting go of the need to be productive all the time- like we can just sit on the couch and read a book, even if the house is messy. (Cause let’s face it, it never stays clean!) We can let go of saying yes to everything and practice delegating and outsourcing! And then remembering not to just fill that space back up too quickly with more doing. Finally we talked about letting go of comparing our kids to each other and embracing being present to who they are in the moment. We also noted that leaning on our friends and communities has been super powerful in helping us! So come be part of our community on Wednesday nights 🙂

Mistakes to Magic

What is your favorite mistake? Namely, what mistake have you made that led to something completely unexpected, possibly even beautiful?

After listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcast interview with Dax Shepard, I was completely inspired and intrigued. I find our lives’ paths to be utterly fascinating, especially when something “bad” turns out to be a blessing in disguise.

For anyone who has listened to Ferriss’ podcast, you have heard him ask this question before. But there was something about Shepard’s answer that struck a chord with me and made me want to write this post.

Shepard’s biggest mistake began to unfold when he started relating to himself as a writer/producer, no longer an actor. He had landed some big jobs and was feeling pumped. But, as things progressed, it didn’t work out. He was crushed. So crushed, that he spent months being upset and thinking it over and over.

And then it happened. Shepard had the inspiration to start his podcast (which incidentally has become wildly successful.) He said if he had kept on going down the producer route, he would have taken bigger and bigger projects and been away from his young kids too much. Not to mention the fact that the movie business is now stunted due to COVID…

Instead, a self-proclaimed lover of talking, he is doing a podcast he enjoys. He is able to be at home all the time with his kids, thus allowing his wife, Kristen Bell, to travel for her work. Plus, he makes even more money.

Sometimes when it rains, it pours.

It really got me thinking… We think we know what we want for ourselves and our lives. But just like Shepard said, often when he did what he thought he wanted to do (like do a crazy stunt filled movie) it wasn’t fulfilling. But then fate intervened. He failed. Yet it opened the door for his podcast, an endeavor which better suits his life and has turned out to be even more successful.

This sentiment fit right into all my recent happiness and well-being research. One thing I was blown away by in my findings is how often our minds lead us down the wrong road. I have been studying happiness research since early 2000’s and this is the first time it hit home that what we think will make us happy is often mistaken.

Though we clearly want what is best for ourselves and our families, according to Dr. Laurie Santos, Yale professor and host of the popular Happiness Lab podcast, we often have “miswantings.” I was so fascinated by this research that I dove in and enrolled in Santos’ phenom course, The Science of Well-being.

Though I could go on forever about Dr. Santos and all the amazing things I learned in the course and the difference she has made in the world, I will stick to the topic of mistakes. I’m sure, like me, you are curious about miswantings. Here are a couple examples of where our minds lead us astray.

First, we really think awesome stuff will make us happy. Nope. It might make us temporarily happy, but eventually it will just become normal. This process, called hedonistic adaptation, keeps people on the consumer treadmill. Once they get used to whatever they have, they need more and more to be happy.

A second miswanting is that we think good things will make us happier than they will; so we often go after the wrong things. And, as an inverse of that, we also think that bad things will make us more upset than they actually will. All of this tricks us into going after certain things and avoiding others. Sadly, that keeps us away from what actually would make us happier in the first place! (Like personal connection, meditation, exercise, and sleep.) [If you want to dig into this more please reach out. I have lots of research and, of course,  you can also check out Dr. Santos’ work as well.]

Thanks to studying Dr. Santos’ “miswantings” I  find such freedom in the following:

  • If we don’t get what we think we want, it won’t be as bad as we think.
  • And, if we mess up and bomb out, it also won’t be as bad as we expect.
  • So why not keep trying anyway?

It wasn’t until after I listened to Shepard’s interview that I stopped to fully reflect on my own unexpected bonuses, and how my mistakes and misfortunes have actually taken me down better roads. When looking back, it can be pretty crazy to see where mistakes and misfortunes have led. So, I invite you to take a few minutes and think about your favorite mistake. I’ll even give you a few prompts to get you started.

But, to wrap up this post, I want to share one of my sister’s thoughts. She says something like this… “Just when you think something isn’t working out, consider that maybe it is working out just as it should be.” Pretty wise, little sis!

To making mistakes, learning and growing on this crazy adventure. Thanks for reading. Now go make some magic in the twists and turns of your life!

PS- Thanks to Mic Johnson for sharing his quote. It fits perfectly with the sentiment of this post…

Sometimes the struggle blooms into magic 🙂 You can find more “#micologies” here.

And of course thanks to Dax Shepard for being vulnerable, keeping it real and sharing his stories. 


Favorite Mistake Prompts:

  • What is your favorite mistake?
  • What unexpected turn did your life take as a result?
  • What did you learn from it?
  • How can you take that lesson and use it in your life today?
  • Are you open to making mistakes in your life? Why or why not?
  • What mistake are you making right now? (Maybe you aren’t even aware of it.)
  • What did your favorite mistake make possible for you?
  • How did it shift your life?
  • What insights can you take from this?
  • How can you use all you’ve learned to help teach your children?
  • What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to that time with all that you know now?



The Tim Ferriss Show [Tim Ferriss]. https://tim.blog/2020/11/18/dax-shepard/

The Happiness Lab Podcast. [Dr. Laurie Santos] https://www.happinesslab.fm

The Science of Well-being Course. https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being

[The Science of Well-Being is Yale’s most popular class and is generously available for free on Coursera. Over a million people have enrolled and Dr. Santos’ work has been extremely valuable for people around the world during COVID.]

Happy New Decade!

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Happy New Year! 2020! I was super excited to start a new decade and here we are almost a month into it already. Like the start of a new school year, a new year and especially a brand-new decade feels like such freedom. I feel like I am opening the cover to a new book full of blank pages where I can literally write whatever I want. I can feel the excitement of leaving old ways behind and establishing new habits and patterns in my life. And although my big plans to ring in the new decade in style were crashed by the realities of a sick kid, I worked hard to stay present and enjoyed the options I had. (Aka, I stayed home and watched the Sydney fireworks and had a family dance party.)

More time at home meant more time to be introspective. Scrolling through my limited Instagram (more on that in another post) I was inspired by three posts that I wanted to share since they were very useful for me. One was by one of my favorite authors, Leeanna Tankersley, whom I’ve posted about before. You can see her full post copied below, but basically, she said to take a few minutes to look over your past year. Check your calendar or photos for reminders; but take time to take stock of all that happened for you and your family. Think about the highs and the lows. Celebrate all you have made it through. Write it down and give yourself a pat on the back for doing it and making it through to the other side.

I loved this idea and spent some time on it after I put my kids to bed one night. I hope to continue it as a yearly tradition and keep each write up as a precious memory of everything that was our life in each year. I know that times goes by (quickly) and I believe I’ll remember life the way it is, but I won’t. Even though it feels like this phase will last forever, because sometimes it certainly feels that way in the moment, I know it doesn’t.

My child’s cutest baby cheeks. The way they cuddle into me. Nursing my baby and rocking away in his super still nursery in the middle of the night. How they call for me for one more hug after I put them to bed. How they only want the blue cup when you’ve already poured their juice into the red one and it’s too early to even see a sliver of sunshine. How they are always doing puzzles and leaving their clothes on the floor.

Each magical detail. One moment an irritation, the next moment a fleeting memory laced with warmth and the feeling of tears welling in your eyes. So, I will write it down and save it. I will look at it again in the future. I will remember. I will remember what I learned, what I gave up, what I gained. And it will help me to hold strong and stay present in the current moment. It will help me to embrace the challenges and remember how I will think of these challenging moments in the future with love.

And other memories I might not remember so fondly. Other memories still hold pure sadness in my heart, like the unexpected death of my brother-in-law last year. I certainly miss him and want to hear his laugh and how he’d always say, “I’m going to slide out,” whenever he left. How he’d play with the boys and have fun conversations about science and movies with us. But in this sadness, I remember how our family came together, how we had an amazing time in Michigan honoring his life. We shared hot summer days and nights over the 4th of July telling old stories and laughing together, sending fireworks into the air, spending quiet moments sitting together on the porch watching the storm quietly roll in as lightning bugs blinked silently all around the yard. I know that we made it through hard times by taking it moment by moment and leaning on each other. And in these memories, I’ll know that I can make it through any hard moments that may come again God forbid.

I also reflected on another big milestone in 2019, our 10-year wedding anniversary. I was surprised at how much it meant to me and how proud I was at all that we had accomplished and been through together. I love my husband and it was nice to have an opportunity to stop and think about us, rather than just being us in the swirl of life that surrounds us being mom and dad to our two young kids.

The second and third posts that inspired me were from my friend and health coach Judi from @liferedefinedwithjudi. Her first post that stood out asked these two questions: “What are you going to leave behind? What are you going to take with you?” Again, the idea of leaving things behind seems so eloquent and beautiful.

As parents we’ve seen our kids leave things behind: pacifiers, baby food, diapers, cribs… As adults, what do we leave behind? Or should I say, why don’t we leave things behind? Why do we seem to take everything with us by default? We see the patterns of learning and moving on from our children. We too can choose to leave things behind.

Some things helped us when we needed them to, but now they hold us back, physically, mentally, emotionally.  Taking time to truly see ourselves and our behaviors can help us to choose what we want to leave behind. And like Marie Kondo says about donating our used items, we can thank whatever we leave behind and move on into a new future, free to create and use new or refined skills.

The third post that inspired me (more like made me cry!) asked you to think about the past decade and all your memories and accomplishments. When I thought about mine, I was jarred by the HUGE milestones that had occurred. I got married to my summer fling. I gave birth to my son and became a mom! I had another baby boy and we became a complete family! My husband started his own business and we moved into our home. We celebrated 10 years of marriage. HOLY COW those are some BIG moments!

So much happened in the last decade, and after reflecting on it I realized the possibility of all that we will experience in this next one. Therefore, I am bringing with me my desire to continue to learn about what it takes to lead a happy and fulfilled life. I am bringing with me the dear friends I have made and plan on investing time and love into these relationships. I am taking with me my dedication to health and well-being. I am taking with me resilience, patience, and grace. I am focusing on being present. I can’t wait to write the next chapter.

References & Links

“Take 10 minutes today to go back through your year month by month. You can look at your calendar/planner if you need help remembering, but some of us had the kind of year where you know exactly what happened and when it happened. Write down a few events, milestones, memories from each month. What was significant? Stream of consciousness, bullet point, words/phrases. See, on paper, what you’ve walked through, what you’ve navigated, what you’ve lost, what you’ve celebrated. It might surprise you. Give yourself a big il’ THANK YOU & HELL YA for showing up, for beginning again and again, for making it.” December 31, 2019 @lmtankersley



Two more days of 2019!! This being one of them. What are you going to leave behind? What ae you going to take with you?” December 30, 2019 @liferedefinedwithjudi




“It’s the last day of the year. The last day of the decade. Take a moment to reflect on the last 10 years. What were your top 10 moments or memories? What are your top 10 things that made you smile? What are your top 10 accomplishments?

These last 10 years have had their ups and downs. The best things about the downs are that you: 1. You become a stronger version of yourself. 2. Gain new perspective. 3. Its during the “downs” that growth happens. 4. You get to go back up!” December 31, 2019 @liferedefinedwithjudi