Waiheke, Auckland, New Zealand

May 7, 2017

On Holding Back

A couple days ago, I got back from a week-long, 100 km walk around Waiheke, one of the islands outside Auckland, New Zealand.

I’d headed out walking looking to connect to the place and the people, and attempt to put down some real roots in this life I’m carving out in New Zealand.

And to an extent, I did - but as the cliche goes,

Wherever you go, there you are.

Day after day, I walked with this big life transition, but also with my history, my present, ideas of my future.

I walked up mountains with the parts of me I’d really brought to my life - and down the hilllsides alongside the parts of myself I’ve held back.

I found myself wondering, "Why am I holding that back?" and "Is that holding back still serving me?"

100km and some sore feet later, I wasn’t holding any answers, but I did find some better questions.

One of the big things I hold back is my excitement, desire to jump into action, and enthusiasm. Over the years, I’ve watched how it can trample other people, ideas, or ways of seeing underfoot. As a result, I’ve learned how to hold it in, make space to listen, and for things around me to grow.

But by the end of the walk, I wondered if there wasn’t a false trade-off happening. Could I be both bounding and excited, and also observant and careful? Was it possible to be both? And if so, what might that look like?

I don’t know the answers to any of those questions - but I think they’re worth finding out. So, back home, I’ve begun to explore that idea - experimenting in daily life with bringing both energy and careful attention - with my partner, with my work, with my friends.

I wonder, for you, if there are similar things.

Are there parts of yourself that you hold back?

Does the holding back serve you and the people around you? And if not, might there be ways you could play with bringing that bigger, fuller you to your life?

Feel free to write back, and let me know what you’re thinking.

I’d love to hear from you. :)

-Steven

p.s. The absolute best thing I read this week (and probably this year) is The Oatmeal’s piece on belief. Please read it and share it. It’s that important.

p.p.s. A lot of the stuff I mentioned a few weeks back is in the works! I’ve been busy behind the scenes, talking to other writers from across the world, and figuring out what this next version of Ink and Feet looks like. More soon! :)

p.p.p.s. In that process, I’ve also discovered that a lot of the emails that people were sending me were never reaching my inbox. I’ve moved to a new setup, and emails should now reach me - but if I haven’t replied to you, that’s probably why!

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