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  • Stephen Scott Johnson

2020 – Disentanglement and Letting Go

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

I took a trip down to Point Lonsdale on the weekend to meet with a client, a place where open ocean meets the bay and ships are guided through Port Phillip Heads into calmer waters. It’s a magical spot adjacent to historic Queenscliff, a bayside town approximately 1.5 hours’ drive from Melbourne. We gathered to reflect on the challenges of 2020 and explore ways to re-energise and equip their team to succeed in the new year.


Across the board people are spent, exhausted from this year’s rollercoaster of stress, isolation, uncertainty and loss. We all just want it to end and lean into something more positive – anything – to catch the glimmer of hope that exists beyond the boundaries of 2020. If you managed to stay above the chaos and drama this year, consider yourself one of the few. But if you’re like most people, you’re likely approaching the finish line with singed hair, torn clothes, bloodied and bruised. Well done, you are more resilient than you know (you deserve a Nobel prize).


I’m not one for hollow resolutions although I believe it is important to have a game plan and to lean into a new year with intention. This year I am going to ask you a different question and invite you to contemplate the answer, then let it guide your next steps.

What has this year taught you about yourself?

I learned to love what is and to be more present with the outcome of events I cannot control – to disentangle myself from the angst of derailed plans. It wasn’t easy. In fact, for a while I went into ‘rescue mode’ because I believed my growth and happiness was dependent on the realisation of those plans. Thus, instead of travelling the world immersing myself in all manner of experiences, I didn’t travel far from my apartment (and I discovered beauty in that context).

Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on. – Eckhart Tolle

Our anger and defensiveness when we experience loss or when things don’t go to plan often indicates that we are not yet present enough to disentangle our reaction to an event and observe them both. The difference is like being a character in a movie plot versus sitting in your living room watching the movie. I’m not suggesting that you should live in denial of what happens around you, not plan accordingly, or not react to situations that warrant a response. Rather, to not be attached to outcomes and learn to see yourself as separate from your circumstances and the situations that happen around you.


Instead of getting bothered, get into being free. There’s a certain freedom that exists when we learn to be truly present and unattached. From this place we can invest ourselves more effectively – to see beauty in things we would otherwise not notice or appreciate and broaden perspective. Consider a situation this year that continues to consume your thoughts and energy. How does it make you feel? Do you see yourself as separate or intrinsically tied to the situation? Visualise yourself holding on tightly, then releasing it. Has who you are diminished as a result?


Throughout the festive season I invite you to practice this game of visualising and releasing. You are more resilient than you know, and in time this practice will help you experience indescribable joy and peace, even when faced with the most challenging and chaotic of circumstances.


It all starts with disentangling and letting go.


Until next time...


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