Hold on Loosely, Don't Let Go
Today's Sacred Sunday Song
"Summer Rain" by Mark Wilkinson
(Click to listen, sip + read)
There's a saying my best friend Rach says often that has never left me...
"Hold on loosely, don't let go."
These words got me thinking, recently, about my days spent working in collegiate athletics.
We produced hundreds of events over my decade-long career and the only common denominator underlying those events was the fact that we never knew how they were going to turn out.
Was our team going to win or lose? Would we advance to the playoffs and host the next round of the tournament? Would the contestants in the on-ice promotion follow the instructions? Would we go in to overtime? Would the anthem singer's microphone work? Would we be at the arena until midnight? Would our schedule end in early November or would we be playing in to December?
If there is one thing I learned in my career in sports marketing, it was to hold on loosely.
Best laid plans were always written in pencil and even those details were being edited on the fly.
I'll never forget the time we had sky divers coming in to the football stadium to deliver the game ball before kick-off on senior day (with almost 40 parents/family members on the sideline).
I had to nail the TV timeline and choreograph in a 12-15-minute senior ceremony, depending on how quickly my announcer could read the script without sounding like he was rushing, with the normal game day flow + feel as our head coach was not a fan of surprises as it related to pre-game festivities.
The skydivers lost communication as soon as they got in the plane to head up, which mean that the timing of their descent (~4 min.) was now completely out of my control.
In collegiate athletics, pre-game timelines are dependent on seconds, not minutes.
I was just now given a 4-10 min. window that I had zero control over, right there in the middle of thousands of people...with yours truly being the one holding the walkie talkie to dictate what happened next.
I can remember our head coach's body language as he paced the sideline...I walked over to him like a dog with a tail between her legs and said, "I'm sorry coach," as we waited for the sky divers to emerge in the air.
Neither of us knew what was going to happen next, but whatever it was, we were the ones that had to pivot as a result of that outcome.
We never made eye contact and if I had had an invisibility cloak ala Harry Potter in that moment, you can bet I would have been using it.
Mercifully, the sky divers finally appeared as if out of thin air within moments of the senior day ceremony wrapping.
I cued the announcer to direct the crowd's attention to them as they fell to the field, which felt like the longest 4 minutes of my entire life.
I was sweating profusely under my polo shirt and winter jacket and felt like I might throw up, but by some miracle, those sky divers landed, I sprinted out to drag them off the field in the middle of their celebration dance and we made our TV timeline within 12 seconds(!!).
This story and Rachel's words got me thinking about how we try so hard to hold the whole of our lives in our small hands.
We spend our days working tirelessly to manage and manipulate, contain and control the outcomes we're so longing for, yet, I've come to realize that no matter how desperately we cling to an outcome...the positive pregnancy test, the promotion, the six-figure launch, the house, the relationship, the way we've envisioned it in our minds...life just never rounds out that way.
Though our teeth may be clenched, our children grow to leave the nest and our businesses boom while we're busy living, creating and giving.
When we find the courage to loosen our grip, slow down and witness the divine order of what truly matters sorting itself out in the landscape of our lives, the nectar we seek suddenly appears.
"Walker, there is no path, you make the path as you walk."
- Antonio Machado
Sacred Sunday Reflections:
Grab your journal and spend some time listening + going inward.
- What are you holding on to too tightly?
- What can you gently loosen your grip on while still staying connected + committed to?
- How can you infuse more fun + flow in to the things that feel most important to you?
- Where do you want to walk next on your sacred path? What is calling to you in this moment?
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