The Story of My Beloved Couch

Today I have a story for you.  It’s about a couch and the challenge of letting go.

If you have ever felt like there is something in your life you are holding on to (whether it be a relationship, a job, a way of being) that you know could be preventing you from stepping into a more fulfilled, satisfied version of yourself, this is for you.

And while this story is about my couch, specifically, it’s not just about my couch. My guess is we all have something in our lives that we simply don’t want to let go of in fear of not knowing what’s next.

But let’s Take-it-Back Tuesday to many years ago, when I got really lucky.

Like Win-The-Lottery kind of Lucky.

Years ago, I managed to get an amazing, once in a lifetime, steal of deal apartment in New York City. This was the kind of deal that New Yorkers spend many lifetimes trying to aquire. The kind of deal your friends want to congratulate you about, but then kill you- so they can take your place:)

At the time, I had only been living in NYC for 2 years. I was young. I was single. And I was broke. And yet, my life was full of possibility.

The first piece of adult furniture I bought when I moved into my incredible apartment, was a light green, velvety, sleeper sofa love seat. It was regal, but not intimidating.  It was feminine, but not dainty. It had weight, but it didn’t overpower the room. It was pretty much perfect.

And I felt like I grew into the woman I am today with her by my side. I laughed, cried, stayed up far too late watching both incredibly amazing movies and incredibly crappy ones, took naps, read books, had friends sleep over on it, ate dinners and everything in between.

My couch saw it all.

Flash forward to current day where I am no longer a single woman in New York City. I am no longer as young as I once was. I am happily no longer broke, and my life is STILL full of possibility.

So when it came time for my man and I to start planning for our future, we contemplated where we should live for the next little while. Clearly, you don’t let this once-in-a-lifetime apartment deal go so fast.

Instead, we decided that we would re-decorate the place, in order to make it more ‘OURS’.

I was excited and ready for the upgrade. 

Paint job, new wall unit, bedside table, lamps, wall decor, window treatment: check, check, check!

All was going great! We were LOVING the updates. It felt exactly right.

Then it came time to look for a new couch. We happily agreed that getting a larger, more spacious one would allow for maximum movie watching enjoyment. We began our search and fairly quickly found the ONE we wanted, bought it and scheduled delivery.

What I didn’t realize was what would happen when I got home, AFTER purchasing our new couch.

I walked in the door, looked at MY green little love couch, and realized that in order to make space for the NEW one I would have to get rid of the OLD one. Don’t ask me why I didn’t really think this through before, but suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I burst into tears.

Tears. Full on tears. Over a couch!

And for the next week as I prepared to let her go, I was weepy, emotional and unfocused.

(Me on my little love seat, before we said good-bye.)

Now, it was quite clear to me, and perhaps it is to you, that this was not just about the couch as a material possession.

This was about all the parts of myself that were wrapped up in that couch. In many ways, the couch symbolized my independence, my freedom, and my ambition.  All things I was proud to have ‘acquired’.

And while I knew I had to make space for this new chapter, I wondered how much of ME I was supposed to let go of in order to make that space?

All of me? Parts of me? None of me?

And the scarier questions that arose were what would this new chapter look like? Who would I become? Would I succeed or would I fail at being the partner I longed to be?

Have you ever been BEYOND excited and ABSOLUTELY certain about the direction you are headed and at the same time, you are having lingering feelings of fear?

It’s a crazy roller coaster of emotions.

While I believe it is incredibly common, what is even more common is that many of us are not fully CONSCIOUS of the fact when a transition is actually happening.

We don’t even realize that letting go is a natural–even beautiful–part of moving forward. So instead, we grip on to the past.

Whether it is about starting a new job, beginning a new relationship, or making changes in our bodies, an internal struggle occurs as we begin to shed our old skin.

This unconscious realization that change is happening often causes us to sabotage the very thing we want to move towards. 

We get moody. We get doubtful. We isolate. We pick fights with our partners. We pick fights with our friends. We show up late. We stop going to the gym.

We say, “Oh maybe this was a bad idea after all.”

When in reality, we are simply uncomfortable because the NEW version of us, the direction we are headed, the thing that we actually have always wanted, is not yet fully formed. It remains slightly murky and unknown.

During these times, I think it is important to be gentle with yourself, but also to become aware of where you are placing your focus.

Life is truly a game of attention.  What you deliberate over, negative or positive, will have a big effect on how you will feel day to day. 

Are you keeping your eyes on what you are losing? Or are you focused on what you could be gaining?

Is your head turned towards your past, idealizing the ‘good times’, or are you willing to look forward and let yourself continue to dream of your bright future?

Most importantly, are you willing to sacrifice just a little bit of your comfort in order to take a leap towards this new, beautiful landscape?

The next time you go through a similar transition, or are in one right now, by all means, feel your feelings.

Take some quiet time to reconnect with what you do know.

Get extra rest.

Go for a mani/pedi. (I’m not sure why, but this tends to solve a lot of problems in general:)

Hang out with your friends or anybody who reminds you of who you are, no matter the job, relationship or body you are in.

But so important, whatever you do, do your absolute best to not let the Couch Gremlins get the best of you.
 
I promise, you can handle it. You can withstand the discomfort. You can float between two lands, not fully grounded in either.  You will not lose yourself.

You will find your footing. You will find your groove in this new space. You will grow new roots.

And before you know it you will be curled up on your new couch, making new memories and STILL staying up far to late watching both crappy and amazing movies.

Are you going through a transition right now, or do you know someone who is? I want to ask you to share this or forward it on to them so they know they are not alone.

Then, I invite you to leave a comment and let me know if this resonates with you. Have you ever sabotaged yourself as you were moving towards something new? Do you have things you can turn to ground yourself during these times?

I would love to hear from you, below.

With love from my new couch,
Erin
P.S. Did you know Volume 1 of the world-wide popular Soul Stroll is NOW available? If you are looking for some inspirational ways to move your body and inspire your thinking, check it out HERE.

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42 Responses to The Story of My Beloved Couch

  1. Leslie says:

    Haha!! I often find that I hear, read, experience exactly what I need at a particular moment!! So, here again, with this blog post is that synchronicity. I am on my way through a 14 day cleanse that I hope will reset my digestion, improve my immune system and get me started on an Ayurvedically inspired daily routine! I’m letting go of not nourishing myself with 3 good meals everyday, not drinking enough water and not putting aside time for reflection, exercise and rest!!

  2. Cori Roffler says:

    Erin, this beautiful message comes a day late for me. Oh how I wish I could have read it yesterday, last week, or even last month. But it comes in time to be like a thick fuzzy security blanket this morning.

    These words of yours so clearly explain my past few months,
    “I knew I had to make space for this new chapter, I wondered how much of ME I was supposed to let go of in order to make that space? All of me? Parts of me? None of me? And the scarier questions that arose were what would this new chapter look like? Who would I become? Would I succeed or would I fail at being the partner I longed to be?”

    And then the past 2 weeks things were coming to a head and these words fit so perfectly,
    “We get moody. We get doubtful. We isolate. We pick fights with our partners. We pick fights with our friends. We show up late. We stop going to the gym.”

    Last night I finally had the conversation I was fearful to have. But instead of being the disaster I was sure it would be … it was going to be emotionally draining and personally devastating … it was actually safe, and healing, and allowed for closeness, and growth, and in the end was a beautiful first step.

    So this morning your words wrapped me like a comfy warm blanket,
    “I promise, you can handle it. You can withstand the discomfort. You can float between two lands, not fully grounded in either. You will not lose yourself. You will find your footing. You will find your groove in this new space. You will grow new roots.”

    Thank you Erin for such a wonderful and timely message. You took my icky feelings from these past few months and gave them words, an explanation, and hope. You share beautiful work with us. Thank you!

  3. Katie says:

    I am going through a similar transition. I’m going to be quitting my job due to certain circumstances. I’m an emotional wreck though. I’m not a big risk taker and the fear is just overwhelming. You’re post really resonated with me 🙂 I just need to stay positive and not let it hold me back.

  4. Erin,
    THANK YOU! I so needed to read this today! I will proceed accordingly with a new sense of wonder and splendid possibilities! I’m giving a beautiful sigh of relief!

  5. Deana says:

    Yes.

    Three years ago, I gave up my townhouse I had renovated from top to bottom, and all (very nice) belongings having anything to do with my ex-husband, and former life.

    It just hit me one day, as I looked at the dining room chair I was sitting in…HE sat here. His power, his energy is all around me, and I do not want that in my life for one more minute.

    I told the realtor my house would sell in two weeks, and it did. I moved what I could in a rented SUV, and shipped the rest by UPS.

    I moved from the East coast to the West, and started fresh, collecting funky things from thrift stores and craigslist, painting bright colors and expressing myself in new ways, in my little ocean community.

    You see, I was hanging onto the ‘why me’, the ‘how could he do this to me’, and it was holding me back. I had memories in buying that table, and this couch, but I needed to purge.

    I now have a completely different lifestyle. I have recently left my j.o.b. to be on my own with my own business. Through shrink session, craniosacral, tapping (EFT), and lots of tears and anger, I am almost free of what I have let hold me back for so long.

    I’ve got a life to live, and it’s all mine to create!

    It’s my time to shine.

  6. Amber says:

    Thank you for the beautiful message this morning. I have broken up with a wonderful man who just isn’t wonderful for me. And I am feeling doubt and sadness. It is so hard to want to comfort the person you are also hurting. Today is a hard day, and your post is a beautiful reminder that things will be okay. I am moving towards something and can sit in the discomfort and just “be” for a bit.

    Much love, and thank you.

    • Erin says:

      hang in there lovely, Amber. i feel you on wanting comfort from the person you are also hurting. you are very wise to recognize it. sending you big hugs as you transition! xo

  7. Christie says:

    Erin, you create magic! You truly put words to all the emotions I have been feeling but couldn’t articulate. It’s so comforting to know I am not alone, I am not bugging out, I am normal… Transition in any way can be daunting – a couch, a job, a move, relationship… Just knowing that this too will pass and it’s totally ok to feel what I feel gave me strength and has cleared the yuky space I’ve been in to now excited about ” growing new roots” . Sending you the biggest hug for creating work that sparks the heart!!

  8. Cori says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thanks Erin.

  9. christina says:

    Erin, I needed to read this today. I am in yoga school and I am having so many doubts and fears surface recently. I’m just down in the dumps thinking “what have I gotten myself into?”. I’m fearful of failure. Thank you for this, it has helped me to reframe. I’m still scared but I will continue on despite the fear.

  10. elyse says:

    This completely resonates with me right now. Both in the letting go and the furniture department. I’m making a major life/home/relationship transition and it’s all exciting, new, intentional, and yet SCARY and UNKNOWN. This post gives me faith. Thanks Erin! xoxo elyse

  11. Jennifer A says:

    You are absolutely right on! Thanks Erin.

  12. Vanessa says:

    Saying goodbye, closing a chapter. These can be very painful things to do even when the next chapter seems exciting, healthy, promising. Trusting you will be okay is important. Being kind to yourself through transition, also very important. Thank you for your post!

  13. Erin,

    I have loved reading your emails for many years. I am moving in with my fiancé and having the TOUGHEST time getting rid of the “old”. I too feel as though these “things” add a sense of identity of who we are and what we have accomplished. It’s really hard to say good-bye to the old life and hello to the new life. I suppose it’s a life struggle and part of growing up. Thank you for sharing as it always helps me reflect.

    Jessica Sherr

  14. SO TIMELY. It is amazing, you can know you’re going through something, think you are really just crushing it as far as getting through it, then read something like this and feel yourself with those pangs of familiarity and agreement. Let the tears flow…:) I appreciate your candor and sensitivity and the reminder to be sensitive to myself. (I definitely forget). I recently went from being in a business partnership, to solely owning my business, changing the name, rebranding, etc… and there are so many emotions cropping up that I wasn’t expecting and I’m definitely learning to deal with all of this without upper limiting myself. Thank you for sharing, this honestly couldn’t have come at a more perfect moment, but isn’t that just exactly how it works? As long as I’m paying attention, I always get the messages I need to receive the most. Thank you again! oxox

    Mandy Vela-Huff

  15. renee says:

    Erin,
    I listen to you 5 days a week during my workout. “I make space for greatness” has stuck with me for the last two weeks. So . . .I started getting rid of things that do not serve me. I began with clothes, the kids clothes, linen closets and then it came to . . . my quilting, my scrapbooking, my catering dishes. I had to acknowledge that I enjoyed doing those activities during those seasons of my life (they even defined me and gave me a label) but now . . . I’ve grown, I’m in a new season.

    I’ve cried a river. I kept thinking that I was losing the old me until I realized that I needed the old me and the lessons I’ve learned to create the new me! I get it now!

    I love your couch story! It illustrates the point beautifully.

    • Erin says:

      Ah, this is so great Renne! I love that you said you enjoyed these things in those seasons of your life, but you are in a new season. This is so beautiful.

      You are brave and bold. Makin’ space for greatness!

  16. Hi Erin,
    Do you know that line “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”? Yeah… so I get your emails all the time, and I am the queen of hitting the deleted button. I have no idea when I signed up to receive them, but I CAN tell you I haven’t been reading them. Until today.

    Whaaaaa?

    I spent a bit of time this morning working on a “reinvention” plan… and then I read your blog today about letting go. I have a lot to let go of… and I’m gonna take the class (is it too late? there are no dates on anything… except that it started the 29th, but then it says I can sign up until Sunday… does that mean THIS Sunday? or was it LAST Sunday?). Regardless… the browser at work is archaic, so I will have to wait to get home to sign up… if I still can. If I can,we are gonna change my life. If I can’t, then I’m gonna change my life without you. Yay!

    -Patty

  17. Aakriti says:

    Hi Erin
    I thought that story was so cute and right on the (emotional) money.
    I’m moving out of my parents’ house for the first time (for good). This comes after years of “no, it makes more sense to stay at home”, shying away from the pain of growth and transition (and expansion) to settle for the familiar, sometimes more painful comfort and luxury of having things all taken care of.
    This time however, the Universe has been quite insistent and I know its the right time for me to do this. And I feel supported that this is definitely the NEXT step that I NEED to make to allow the greater, expanded, more full life that I want to live.
    I was looking around my parents’ house yesterday and got choked up, thinking of how much I’m going to miss my dog, my bed, my room.
    All this familiarity, all this safety. I suspect I might spend a couple nights in my new place, in my grown-up house, all on my own curled into a little ball and crying.
    Your words come in at the perfect time. I’m choked as I write this.
    “I promise, you can handle it. You can withstand the discomfort. You can float between two lands, not fully grounded in either. You will not lose yourself.

    You will find your footing. You will find your groove in this new space. You will grow new roots.”
    I needed to hear this. I might just throw on some music and dance through my sadness. Shrink-style.
    But yeah, its scary, its necessary- its conflicting and its FRIKKIN huge.
    So thanks. For your support. I’ll make it a point to get a massage, to be gentle with myself and spend lots of time with my friends and boyfriend.
    That will help me process and transition with ease.
    Thanks again.Much love.
    And congrats on the new couch and all it brings. =D

    • Erin says:

      Oh honeypie, on that first night that you are in your new place alone, I want you to imagine there are a few little angels flying around your new place sprinkling fairy dust and love:)

      “All this familiarity, all this safety.” This line resonated so much with me.

      Be brave. Have courage. You are going to FLY!

  18. LOVED this, Erin! I definitely can relate to letting go of the old to make room for the new and how scary it can be, even when you know the new stuff is going to be awesome! For me, it has been great to do such things regularly because now when an opportunity like that comes up, I can remember how amazing something turned out in the past and I’m not so scared.

    Love you!
    Emily

  19. Ashley says:

    Wow! Erin this e-mail came at the exact right time. It almost put me into tears just reading it as I realized that I am going through that uncomfortable stage in my life right now. You are truly amazing and I am blessed to have your path cross in my life. Thanks for always reminding me that by all means, feel my feelings.

    Yesterday, the company I work for told me that it wasn’t work for me in sales. I knew in my heart of hearts that phone sales and possibly sales all together wasn’t/isn’t for me. Regardless that’s where I have 6 years of experience in and still the news that I may be laid off hurt me to my core. I know I need to let go of the old and begin something new. There is a reason that this is happening in my universe now and its because the next thing down the line is going to be even greater.

    You’re words resignation with me and have turn my aspect of “my situation” around. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  20. Carin says:

    I almost deleted this email without reading it because “I just don’t have time to read it.” But I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve been tough several transitions this year, and the last one I’m making is a business transition, but I’ve felt I’ve been held back and didn’t know why…

    I’ve been held back because I haven’t let go of the things I need to in order to make this last transition the most poignant and visible one yet.

    Thank you for your words, Erin.

  21. babs says:

    I have been kicking and screaming at the bottom of a deep well for 6 years. I married someone I should not have and went through extreme emotional, mental and on one isolated but last straw incident, physical pain. After 12 years of marriage and being together for 15,I threw him out, became legally separated and got on with my life. But it was hard. Harder than I ever imagined. My business fell apart with the financial crisis, my pre-teen sons’ heads were spinning and i was never so scared in my life. I decided after 18 months apart, that maybe, i reacted too quickly. That maybe, with therapy and communication, we could make this marriage work. We were the couple everyone wanted to be, cool, fun, young, partying, great kids, great house. No one knew the truth. The fact is, I did not want to face the truth. I was a coward and was willing to give my all without receiving. I did not want to accept that my marriage failed, that i had to let go of the family i created, my husband as i had envisioned him and that I would be a divorced woman. I thought of all the women i knew at the time, who were feverishly searching match.com. It was unthinkable. Just writing all that now is still unnerving. And so for the past 4 years, i have in some ways, been in an even worse place than we first broke up. The therapy has been a blessing and a curse. Ignorance is not bliss, but i now know why people say it. He could not handle his past and so would not go individually, as he promised so many times and was unbearable with the couples therapist. I gave up asking and just continue to go on my own, but i feel like i am just making excuses and overindulging my weakness to stay in this losing place. It’s now been 21 years together and married 18. How time flys. The first time, it felt like 12 years, now it feels like 20 and it’s even more. It is harder the 2nd time. I am barely breathing in this awful lonely unhappy marriage with someone i have no future with. He sucks my energy and makes me feel badly about myself. He is not a bad person, just very damaged. We simply do not work and have not trusted each other for a very long time. We keep trying to make believe that the 800 lb. gorilla has not doubled in size. I need to move on. Thank you for this story about the couch. Maybe it will help me to do what i need to do….

  22. Brandy C says:

    Just last night I went thru a similar moment. My “couch” was a box of Halloween decorations and costumes from when our sons were young. I cried when I could not find it… Then remembered I got rid of it last year when the youngest graduated. Wow… I don’t have to decorate for children that are grown. New season…. Will I miss the old one? Needed this today

  23. Lisa A says:

    Erin,
    Thank you so much for this story. It really hit home. I have been trying to lose weight and you just hit the nail on the head for me. Being smaller is an unknown and it’s scary.
    Thanks again 🙂

  24. rj says:

    Erin,

    This resonated with me. Using the couch as the analogy makes it feel very safe to read. Then, change couch to whatever it is we’re facing. Your advice is perfect…exactly what I needed for some transitions I’m facing. Thank you for sharing!

  25. Ashley says:

    Erin,
    In hindsight I can definitely pinpoint times in my life when I sabotaged things because I was scared. Today I was feeling down about the lack of progress in my professional life. I am a graduate student who is finishing up student teaching and I was annoyed that my teaching certificate wont be in until the end of January. I was looking into getting my substituting certification but it probably wont be finalized until around the same time. All I kept thinking is so this is what I get after 4 and a half years of working myself to the bone. I am going to be stuck home for the whole month of January staring at the ceiling. I felt like giving up all the effort I have been putting into figuring out what job I could get for the spring semester as I finish up my graduate classes and for the next school year. Then I got your email that talked about the baby turtles and how we should do not have to tackle things alone. I love the mantras you included in the email and keep looking at them. Despite the challenges and uncertainty I am facing I am determined to keep moving forward. I have not worked this hard to give up now.

    Thank you Erin for the needed push!!

  26. claudia dls says:

    I truly bbelieve everythung comes to you just when you need it or when your are in the attention position. As I can see this is a really old post that I happend to see now becauae I was looking for the email of the soulstroll to downloaded for tomorrow morning. I have a vurtue that becomes not such a good thing when I over think everything! for more than 8 years I have been struggling with over weight and some times I have almost get to the right weight for my tall or so… but suddenly… its like I get tired or secure that I wont gain it back… so start eating a lot again.. slowly… till with time.. bang! Same weight or more… I had this amaizing doc that even become a friend.. she is just so sweet and so supportive… but even with her I just sabitage myself… after my mom pass and during the process of her cancer my brother and I gain a lot of weight…. I got a little mad with life… but reading this… I can see sometimes we are afraid of gating out of the over weight maybe feel exposed… I have so many years without not even a date that I dont know how I will react. I am so social.. so fun that people dont understand how am I alone.. maybe I am afraid of getting hurt so maybe thats why I sabotage the loss weight for be secure of not been picked… of course I want and I am changing this way of thinking and using mantras of affirmationa and loving me more… now I am in an actuall transition of leaving my job… to take care of my house and find something that I love and inspired me … in the mean time I know I will find it and getting my house and myself better giid looking! But a little (lot) scared to quit… it sounds crazy but I dont feel hapoy and dont want to stay where I ront want or feel good just for comfort of… the thing that I know ( doent even a good payed).. but feel excited it to take accaction on that.
    thanks for reading…

    Claudia Dls

  27. conny esquivel says:

    Just what I needed! I was lately looking for something to share with a friend that needs to read, listen that what comes when you let go is always so much better than what already have… And for me, cause I know I need to let go….

  28. Cecilia says:

    Oh, Erin, your “couch” story resonates! I was diagnosed with Lupus some years ago, and I remember my first thoughts and words to my doctor. Great, at least now I know what is going on. What’s our plan? How do we cure this? My loving, supportive, integrative, holistic doctor looked at me and told me that there was no cure, but that there was remission. I felt as though I had lost my breath, as if I had been submerged in the deep ocean where no one could hear me much less find me. I remember walking out into the street and not seeing anything because of the torrent of tears I was crying and not aware that I was crying. I had to stand up against a building to hold myself up.

    It took me a couple of days to catch my breath and then I set out to find whatever answers I needed at that time. The fire in my belly was burning and I knew I had to fight for my life like never before. But wait, what life? The life I had was gone (no work, no school, lots of friends/acquaintances gone, my dreams, aspirations, the body I knew and loved to live in was gone). I realized it was time to let go in a major way. Let go of that life that would never be. Then slowly I realized that I had never been more creative in my life, because Lupus is the most uncertain ride I have ever been on. Moment to moment, day to day, instant to instant. What next? was the ever present question. Every day is a new beginning. What I can count on is myself and grow attributes very quickly as my circumstances call upon. I have learned to respond to what is needed of me in the moment. It is a new life! I am busy creating all the time.

    Thanks, Erin, for yet another wonderful beginning for me! Movement is life itself for my body and my mind and soul. Your mantras and routines always give me that second wind that I need every day now. I am now truly relishing in letting go, because I can sense the release and the space that this creates. Gives me room to breathe.

  29. Lisa says:

    Thanks for reposting- was just the reminder I needed right now.

  30. Judy says:

    Love this story.

  31. Melinda says:

    I am looking toward a new season where I can offer more service. Not sure how or what my next journey will be but trust God will show me my way and guide me forward.
    Thanks Erin.
    It is time to change up a few things and challenge myself as I move forward.