Dillan Digiovanni

Giving up good for great.

General, InspirationDillan DiGiovanniComment

The only constant is change.

If we want better, we need to be willing to give up good, often really good, for great.

Sure. Sounds like a cliche inspirational meme, right?

But what about when we have to go there and face what it truly means? When we have to risk the cost, the sacrifice, the sheer terror involved in not only overcoming denial to face reality but then actively choosing to do something to change? 

It's why most people are terrified of change and avoid it at all costs. We worry about the lack of control. We fear The Great Unknown.

Maybe we resent the work involved. It's easier to do nothing new. 

We don't ever know the answers until we take action, the very action that terrifies us. So we cling, with a fierce mental grip, on things or people or places, sometimes dangerous or toxic, sometimes just uncomfortable. We stay and it keeps us stagnant and safe. Safe and stuck. Stuck and settling.

But we aren't meant to settle. Deep down we know that. We're meant to thrive. And eventually something might leave us or we decide to leave because we realize it was no longer meant for us. That it served its purpose and our clinging to it creates suffering. If it was really good, we can be grateful.

I think this as I sit in my new home which is back "home". As in the state of New Jersey where I was born and raised, but now living on the Jersey Shore for the first time. I landed here after a challenging, life-changing summer spent wandering and wondering. It was the next phase of my personal growth, of my evolution, that I live out loud as an example of the professional work I do in the world as a coach.

Walking my talk, day after day.

I sit and breathe in the salty sea air and feel the mist on my face as I jog along the boardwalk each morning, fighting with fierce compassion to bring my body back into shape after a year spent first in unintentional retreat and then intentionally adrift. 

I come home and take off my shoes. I breathe in gratitude and exhale the familiar twinge of grief. I pause and close my eyes. It was this day a year ago that I drove a moving truck through the congested highways of Boston and up the winding dirt roads of Vermont. I unpacked all my worldly belongings, significantly reduced from many moves over the last five years, into a renovated barn where I settled for the next 8 months.

I miss that barn almost every day since I left it. It was the perfect home I'd wanted and needed and every day felt like a precious gift. Every morning, I'd rise early and meditate and then trot downstairs from the loft to make a fire in my small wood stove. Then coffee. Breakfast. Music of my own choosing. Days spent doing only the work I wanted. I rose with a smile and fell asleep with a smile every single day for eight glorious months.

It was the wood stove was what called me there. From a deep knowing that refused to be ignored. With ten days left on my lease in Boston, right down to the wire, I found my perfect next place. When people asked me why I moved there of all places I replied, without skipping a beat, "my wood stove."

And then in April. a new landlord removed the stove. The insurance was too costly, he said. And when I saw the extensive renovations he immediately began on his own small house thirty feet from the barn, I understood why. I tried to reason and it fell on deaf ears. 

It was time to go. I heard the voice actually say it. "Your time here is done. You've gotten what you needed. It was good. It was wonderful. It was the long retreat you needed to heal. And now it's time to get back out into the world." Who's voice it was, I'm not sure. My intuition perhaps? Or maybe that of my friend William, who died within days of me moving in there, urging me to move up and out to shine my light in the world again.

I didn't want to go. I didn't want to leave something that had been so, so very good. But I knew in my deepest knowing that it was time. I was time to seek and find something just as good, or great.

And so I packed and grieved as I moved among the boxes, cherishing each moment I spent in solitude staring out the massive picture window. The way I'd painted the entire place with the property owner before I moved in, using colors I chose to make it feel more like mine. Decorating it to match my very heart's desire. Cooking robust meals to feed my body. Making new friends. Walks I took in the dark. Hooting owls waking me at midnight. The babbling brook that thawed in spring, and woke me in the morning through my cracked window.

The way I cried when the anger came up and out in March. Anger that had been shoved deep down for three years. Anger that finally had room to breathe and be freed into the crisp mountain air. Anger that dissolved as soon as it felt seen.

It was time to go.

It was time to give up good for great. I didn't know what would happen but I knew it was time to find out.

When something feels good and right, it is so hard to know when or how or if we should give it up. It's so hard to trust that something better is meant for us and waiting. Do we just need more tenacity? Are we being selfish? Too impulsive or non-committal?

What's wonderful is our freedom to explore these questions and find answers that feel right and true for us. We're blessed with this thing called life that's the ultimate adventure game if we'd only learn to live it that way. If we gradually released our expectations and attachments gently so we could drift more easily from thing to thing as the wisest sages suggest.

How can we embrace this?

What can we practice each day to do it better?

When can we tune into our intuition and trust, as we have so many times before in our lives, that the message is the right one?

We must practice giving up good for great, even when we have no idea what great might be.