Letting Go in the Space Between

August 21, 2008

This is Marisa from Creative Thursday and I’m an artist, blogger, and author from LA visiting you today while Holly is away. If you already know me in this internet blogging, podcasting land, then it will come as no surprise that my article today is for the creative dreamers, a subject I am endlessly passionate about.

Letting Go in the Space Between “We All Flock To Ruby”

So you have dreams that you want to see come true? Go for them.

Honestly I don?t think that any one of us can be reminded of that sentiment enough.

If you are a regular reader of Holly?s beautiful blog, then I?m sure you are one of the dreamers, and maybe one of your dreams includes working creatively for yourself? There are always insightful and inspiring discussions going on here in support of the creative dreamers. I was one. In fact I still am. And it?s important to note that I write this as a believer in the idea that you can have what you want in your life. My dream of being creatively self-employed came true. And my intention with this post is to share some thoughts on what has worked for me in allowing that dream to become a reality. It?s about letting go, something I am still learning to practice daily both personally and in my business.

Reaching for something greater than where you presently stand is life giving. Exciting and a little bit scary, it makes you feel ALIVE. Well let me re-phrase that; if you feel hopeful that your dream will happen it is life giving, but if you are afraid it might not, it can be a very unpleasant experience. Believe me, I know all to well that there are days when because it hasn?t happened yet, it can feel more than frustrating, often even devastating. Part of the delicate dance we learn in our life is how to find happiness in the times between the dream and the realization of that dream, a place I will call the space between. Because what you come to realize is that this is where you actually live, every day, in the space between.

Once you come to accept and even embrace the space between one dream and the next, the process of letting go becomes easier. So you might be wondering, why exactly do I want to ?let go? of something? Because when you let go, your dream has a chance to become real. I?m not sure how this happens exactly, but as much as I don?t want to believe it, every time I let go, something that I?ve been wanting comes in, even if it?s simply an answer about what to do next.

Chances are if you?re not letting go, then you are probably afraid, holding on desperately to the idea of what you want. And by doing this your life begins to stagnate, you become tired, you may blame those around you for things not happening faster, you begin to lose hope, you become frustrated. You make important decisions out of a fearful place instead of a hopeful place. Simply put if you?re not letting go on some level, then you are not trusting. And if you?re like me, you may even be trying to control EVERY aspect of your life. Not only that, but your present days become clouded with disappointment of what has not happened for you yet, instead of filled with appreciation for all you do have. And in a separate topic altogether, being in a state of appreciation is a blissful place to be and a sure sign that you?ve let go for a moment.

Not only does ?letting go? allow room for the new dreams to manifest, but it creates this space for you to notice and be grateful for your life just as it is.

And when you appreciate your life just as it is, more space is created for happiness to come in. I think it?s fair to say that most of us are in pursuit of our dreams because we think that by having them, we will be happier. True?! So why not be excited about your next dream and feel happy now. It is also important to note that I?m not referring to ?letting go? of the excitement that your dreams bring you, or letting go of the hope that they will come to fruition. I?m referring to knowing when to release the grip a little, knowing when to step back but doing so in a state of peaceful trust.

Usually there are two ways people let go. One is to give up. Right, you?ve heard that before? The familiar story is ?someone gave up on their dream and then boom! their dream came true”. The second is to trust that it will all work out.

I find it very sad to ?give up?. While I have unknowingly taken this approach, I find it incredibly disheartening to just throw in the towel. So recently I?ve tried a new approach, and that is to turn feelings of desperation and fear as to whether ?it? will happen, into feelings of hopeful expectation that ?it? will happen. This slight shift brings about a sense of knowing and calm that I can only hope to experience more often.

When I do glimpse it, this sense of calm allows me to move more graciously in life, to operate from a clear state of mind. Let?s face it. As much as we try to plan out our lives, LIFE still has a life of its own. And even though uncertainty, also known as the space between, can feel a little intimidating, there is still an excitement to not knowing how it will all turn out. What I am coming to know is that when you give into the unknown of it all, when you trust and ?let go?, whatever that means to you, life will flow in the direction it is meant to, and I believe, with your best interest at heart.

Dancing this delicate dance is constant, knowing when to take action and when to step back. When I achieved what felt like my very ?BIG? dream of being creatively self-employed, ~ somewhere just before it took hold, there was a moment where I let go, not so much in the trusting way, but in the giving up way. I literally felt like I had tried everything and I was all tapped out of ideas of what to do next. In my mind I had given it my best shot, and that?s all I knew how to do. Within weeks of this awareness, my business changed forever and has been going strong ever since. I experienced firsthand what happens when I let loose of my grip on my dreams. New doors opened and new inspiration appeared, a momentum took hold and it hasn?t slowed down. Now I have so many ideas at any given moment, that it?s all I can do to stay focused on one at a time.

Now that I?m fully living this dream that felt like years in the making, I am still reminded every day I run my business, of moments where I need to let go. There are always those times where you gear up and put action and effort into the direction you are wanting to go, and the trick is recognizing the subtle difference between those times and the times when you need to let go and trust that you?ll know the next step. These are also the moments when you become a hopeful, appreciative observer of the magic of your life, especially in the space between.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I have to say here and hopefully start a discussion so please join in with your thoughts.

Thank you for having me today decor8 readers!

(image and text by marisa haedike of creative thursday.)


  • Reply fabframes August 21, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Great insights, Marisa! I have a couple of small thoughts to add. First, take every opportunity seriously. You may end up not pursuing everything, but don’t blow something off just because it seems “below” you or not quite aligned with your goals. It’s always worthwhile to find out more and to establish rapport with anyone who’s reaching out to you.

    Two, always be nice! You never know exactly who you’re communicating with, who or what they know, and whether or how knowing someone may help you in the future. It pays to treat everyone with kindness and respect, even people who may criticize or dislike what you’re doing at a particular moment.

    I think these two strategies really help you to conduct yourself in the best way when it comes to day-to-day dealings, and hopefully they’ll pave the way toward great opportunities.

    fabframess last blog post: National Parks Posters by Charley Harper

  • Reply Lauran August 21, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Marisa — what a wonderful post, and just what I need right now. It is so true — that letting go makes all the difference, but often it’s hard to get there. I beat myself up about not keeping on top of everything — being a mom to a small child, keeping the house clutter-free (hah!), cooking dinner (double hah!), working from home, trying to develop a creative business, exercising so I don’t “let myself go”, keeping up my friendships, oh yeah, and being a sensitive and attentive wife. Sometimes I just have to throw up my hands and go for a walk or go see a movie (if possible). It’s then that I feel better, because I’ve just let go.

    I too try to have faith that it will all work out, and it usually does.

    I really loved your post and I’m going to keep it bookmarked and read it at least once per day. Thank you.

  • Reply Mandy Ford August 21, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Your post came at a perfect time for me. I too dream of being able to use my creativity to support my family and be able to truly enjoy what I do every day. I work an 8-5 job that can be rewarding but is nowhere near what I would dream to do if I could choose my occupation. I’m a new mom of twin boys which takes up a ton of my time as well, so lately I’m a little discouraged because I don’t have the time to work on my creative ventures. But, I do have hope that one day it will happen. It is nice to hear your story and know that it can happen if you believe in yourself and your talents.

    Mandy Fords last blog post: {wish list}

  • Reply leliakate August 21, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    How inspiring just to hear these words. What you are saying is so real, yet continuously optimistic and hopeful. Definitely what I needed to hear at this point in my life. Thank you!

    leliakates last blog post: The Very Best Source

  • Reply Diana August 21, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Wow – great post! I agree completely with what you’re saying. I’ve been feeling frazzled with my photography business, but not quite sure why. The economy was hitting hard and I was frustrated. I turned my attention to fulfilling the 29 Gifts Challenge ( and “let go” of trying to force things with photography. Since then, some new opportunities have come up, and I just generally feel happier, more well-adjusted, and more sane! I’m able to enjoy the whole experience.

    Dianas last blog post: To be a bird….

  • Reply Kelly E. August 21, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Marisa, well said and inspiring as always! I realize I need to let go a little. There are so many opportunities and ways your career can go as a creative person, it can get a little overwhelming. I’m at that point right now, so I’m just going to chill out, “let go” and give everything a chance and see where I land! I already feel less stressed out!

  • Reply Serena August 21, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks for your words of wisdom, Marisa! They make so much sense and, I too, believe we can block the flow of what is meant to happen by holding onto preconceived ideas of what we want to happen. Great post!

    Serenas last blog post: books i’m reading

  • Reply Leigh August 21, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    “Part of the delicate dance we learn in our life is how to find happiness in the times between the dream and the realization of that dream, a place I will call the space between. Because what you come to realize is that this is where you actually live, every day, in the space between.”
    One of the most amazing and true to my life words I have read. I find when I get to that moment you are speaking, to true how my day becomes easier and things happen on their own. You are reminding me to enjoy that moment and have faith that I will be where I need to be whenever that may be. :)
    Thank you :)

    Leighs last blog post: Convey

  • Reply Margot August 21, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    It’s amazing how the world has changed that I’m sitting here reading a blog (which a few short months ago didn’t exist in my world) and it’s hit such a vulnerable spot that I can’t stop crying. I AM living my life through my creative ventures but I struggle daily to actually make it work and not lose my shirt (or house or business for that matter). My husband, another entrepreneur and I have to have pep talks nightly to remind ourselves that we wouldn’t want to do anything else, despite the struggles we experience and the risks we’ve put on our lives. And that if we continue to open ourselves to the challenges before us, the goal will be reached. Thank you so much (everyone) for at least making me feel less alone. And thank you, thank you, thank you Marisa for writing today. I hope one day to be on the other side, as you finally are.

  • Reply josephine August 21, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    as usual, decor8 seems to be reading my mind. what a timely post for me! i was just thinking that the slight funk i’m in might mean that i should “let go” for a bit. i’d been afraid to “let go” for so many reasons – i’d feel lazy, i’d be afraid that i’d never pick myself back up again, i’d disappoint myself. but your post has given me confidence to go easy on myself, take a breather, give my goals a chance to flourish and breathe, and welcome the inspiration that will come when i feel refreshed from my break.

    just yesterday on my drive home, i was thinking about how, even though this space in between can feel a bit frustrating, it’s also a bit (i don’t know any other word to describe it) delicious. weird, no? it’s the excitement of the unknown, like you said. i feel like there’s so much power in the space in between. there are so many avenues, choices, decisions to make that i can’t help but feel empowered. it’s such a strange contradiction- to give up control but still feel in control. i guess because this time is so ripe with possibilities it’s important that we’re in the right head space to make decisions from a place of trust, not out of fear.

    josephines last blog post: mind your surroundings

  • Reply Gail August 21, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    I’m not sure if it’s serendipity or zeitgeist but your post jumped out at me after I found it leapfrogging from blog to blog. I’m coming to accept that there are certain things that I simply have to do to stay sane (like writing) and everything else is just filling in the spaces in between. And that it’s ok to do what’s right for me… thank you.

    Gails last blog post: Whatcha been up to?

  • Reply Dyan August 21, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Marisa, I really appreciated this article and the idea of the ‘space in between’. I am learning that really it is the journey that matters the most. Sometimes our fears stifle the new bud of a dream that we have. Sometimes things simply take time and all unfolds when it should and I do believe in our bestest interest. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Mary August 21, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Thankyou so much for sharing your “lessons learned”. One of my greatest/ worst character traits is persistence, and I constantly struggle with when to let things go. You put things in a great perspective for me, and I really appreciate it. thanks again!
    Mary elizabeth

    Marys last blog post: Just Me & the Grody White

  • Reply Felipe Diz August 21, 2008 at 7:37 pm


    I love you. I think you’ve just turned my life around.

  • Reply i.d. August 21, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m struggling with this precise issue at the moment, despairing at all the hard work and sacrifices that lie ahead but hopeful for all the wonderful possibilities out there…

    I agree that “letting go” and trusting that everything will work out the way it should relieves a lot of the pressure. It also helps to surround yourself with people who believe in you, to get you through those days when you lack faith in yourself.

    My tip: I have broken down my “dream” into manageable short-term goals. That way, every little thing I do feels like an achievement in itself. And unlike long-term (eg, 5- or 10-year) plans, I’m leaving myself room to explore the opportunities that come my way.

    Great post!

    i.d.s last blog post: Eat, Drink and Be Merry

  • Reply Stephanie Ryan August 21, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    I am in that space now and recently started to let go. I can honestly say that in the last couple of weeks since doing so, the energy has started to move forward. I am a believer. I know in my heart that things will work out. I’m not sure how, that is the part I am letting go of. I am just doing my best, working and not procrastinating. I believe that it is this attitude that has opened things up and is allowing the energy to flow in. Gratitude also plays a huge part in all of this. It is amazing how uplifting it is to spend a minute or two a day thinking about all of the good things in your life that you are grateful for. I think it is one of the keys to manifesting. Great post as usual Marisa!

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente August 21, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Such a beautiful and uplifting post Marisa! Thank you so much for that!
    No wonder your work is always so uplifting….coming from such a positive spirit!

    Melissa de la Fuentes last blog post: hope II

  • Reply Lisa Markarian August 22, 2008 at 12:28 am

    This was beautiful. If a person is in a place where they allow themselves to truly understand the core of what you are saying, they are in a place where the life can take a turn for the better if they follow this insight. I suggest that everyone print this out and read it from time to time. If you aren’t in a place where it really resonates with you right now, it’s possible that these words can mean much more to you in the future.

    If I row my boat with a sail small enough for me to control I will inevitably lead it toward murky paths guided by my own trespasses, insecurities, and vulnerabilities. If I raise my sail, open my arms and allow the wind to guide me I will live my greatest purpose with a life I could never have imagined. A life that will be absolutely true to myself. But you have to get in touch with yourself and LISTEN to find that truth.

    This, of course, I realized after I walked through these paths and let go. I was beating my head against the pavement for years in every aspect of my life – I thought I knew what I wanted and if I just worked hard enough, looked perfect enough, loved well enough it would all fall into place. But, one day I just let go of it all and let it all the pieces fall where they would. Many, many pieces washed away never to return….

    I just stopped trying and worked very hard to open my eyes and ears. For as long as it took. And it took a while. But, since then I found a life so full and so true to myself that I shudder at the thought of having held on to all those other things – things I worked so hard for, cared about dearly – but which weren’t serving me.

    We all are put in a position to decide who we are going to be from an early age. Before we experience the world, before we have done enough to be able to reflect on. And we get so wrapped up in those images that it becomes hard to let go. We all have that sense of “if I just do this” it will work out, or “i can’t because of XYZ” and we get stuck in place – in our jobs, in our relationships, and in any interaction we have. But, often, there is little base to these thoughts that can’t be overcome. It requires two main things in my opinion, first, courage to think outside the box and be able to embrace what will come and two, to rely only on yourself. Do NOT wait for someone else’s encouragement, appreciation, reaction, money, validation or okay. Take power over your own life and the only seal of approval you will need will be from yourself.

    Sure, there is separation anxiety and a sense of loss and even failure. You’re letting go of lots of stuff the first time around that you have held onto for a long, long time and put a lot of your stock into (thoughts, energy, plans, feelings). But, letting go of something that doesn’t serve you and finding the things that excite you so much you want to jump out of your skin every day should be a good alternative:)

    I stopped, I let go, and I listened and after a while all the pieces started falling into place. That doesn’t mean it all came with a pretty bow wrapped on top – I wish. My greatest gift was a key – in that key came a sense of commitment to myself and a clear vision that guides me toward my north star.

    I’d like to add that to fully let go, you have to let go with forgiveness, with love, and with no regret or resentment. All that negative energy will fester. This is the hardest part for me. I still have not learned how to do this. It doesn’t have to be immediate, but it does have to happen (otherwise the ghosts can linger…hehe).

    Thanks again for a lovely post and allowing me to add my .02.


  • Reply Emma August 22, 2008 at 3:54 am

    Hi Marisa

    What a truly lovely post :-). I was nodding my head and smiling throughout! As you know I’ve recently left my job to pursue my dream of making a living from being creative and I have found that like you, when you “let go” things happen and answers appear (although it’s hard to believe it’s not just a co-incidence – for me it’s happened to many times now to just be another co-incidence). Letting go is something I am having to practice though! As I am a person that doesn’t like feeling out of control. But so far so good!
    So to all you dreamers- keep smiling, breath deeply, trust and let go and the life you want WILL start to unfold :-)

  • Reply kslj August 22, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Like many others, I want to thank Marisa for this powerful post. Clearly it has already touched people’s lives, and I believe it will continue to do so. I am very excited about the idea of embracing the “space between” with hopeful expectation and peaceful trust. When talking with friends, I sometimes urge them to “let the universe take care of you,” but I’ve realized that I often forget to apply that to my own life. Thank you for helping to recenter me today. I will read this post again and again.

  • Reply rowena August 22, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Letting Go is such a hard concept to learn, I think. I feel like I have been working on it for a long time. I let go of so many things and started over so many times, so I thought that I had let go “enough,” but now I see how I have been holding on.

    It can be as small as letting go of what I want a painting to look like… that fear of making it come out wrong that so often keeps me from putting brush to canvas. let go. Have faith that it will come out, and most often, it does, even if not the way we expected.

    rowenas last blog post: NO PICTURES

  • Reply Rita Vindedzis August 22, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Thank you so much Marisa for this very very inspiring post! Like so many who’ve commented, I too have learned to just “let go” at times when I’m feeling overwhelmed and am amazed at the opportunities and open doors that appear. I’m grateful every day to be living creatively and being creatively self employed.

    Rita Vindedziss last blog post: More Mixed Media and Giveaway news!

  • Reply Elizabeth Floyd August 22, 2008 at 11:38 am

    This is really a great post. I liked it so much that I printed it out and placed it in my visual idea journal to help me keep focus and to find inspiration to keep pursuing the career in fine arts I long for.

    A thought I like to keep in mind for helping achieve my goal, is to always strive to be prepared, while also being patient for the right opportunity. I think patience is another way of describing the feeling of letting go, as one has to accept that control and energy is not all it takes for success.

    Thank you Marisa for writing such a nice post!

    Elizabeth Floyds last blog post: Fresh Picked Peach Still Life Painting

  • Reply Crystal August 22, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Thank you for this great post, Marisa! This is a topic that I can personally appreciate. It’s so easy sometimes when you’re starting out in the business of “being creatively self-employed” (as I am doing at the moment), to feel frightened and frustrated at times (which I certainly have). Whenever I do as you suggested, whether it’s through giving up or simply putting my energy into knowing that what I want to happen will eventually come to fruition, things ALWAYS work out just fine. While I know this in my heart, it’s easy to get caught up in things and forget it, so your post is a great gentle reminder that it’s important to “let go” at times and trust in the process. I’ve bookmarked this post, and I’m sure I’ll be referring to it again! :)

    Crystals last blog post: "Off" Colors and Some New Works by Me

  • Reply Amy Wing August 23, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Well said – thanks for writing that. I can’t add anything except: “right on!”

    Amy Wings last blog post: Weekend recap

  • Reply Sarah Jayne August 23, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Thanks so much for this post. I’m someone who is afraid to let go to pursue their dreams – but you’ve given me courage to re-examine my plans. Thank you.

    Sarah Jaynes last blog post: PARTY !!!!!!

  • Reply Marisa and Creative Thursday August 23, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you so much to all of you for commenting ~ sharing how you “let go” ~ for your thanks. I’m incredibly touched that some of you have even printed this out to refer to later. Honestly I wrote this piece as much for me as I did for you. It is my own reminder to “let go”. And also, it’s an honor to be able to share ideas like this and to know that they truly speak to you. Sharing ideas in the creative world like this, to me, is as important as sharing my art. To hear back from you is a soft reminder of how universal certain experiences in life are and that none of us are traveling this exciting journey alone.

    Marisa and Creative Thursdays last blog post: letting go in the space between

  • Reply Cathy Nichols August 25, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    You are so brilliant, Marisa. I am very heartened and inspired by your post. I am going to have to remember the idea of letting go and believing that my dream will come true. What you’ve said even applies to the stresses of daily living as well as to creative pursuit — and especially when it comes to raising children. You are wonderful!

  • Reply bashayer September 24, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    I am totally in this space..and have been for 5 years..
    even my own family and friends make fun of me cz im All Talk, NO Action!! it gets so sad!
    im an architect who have always dreamed of owning my own business, kept talking and dreaming , got married , kept dreaming , had baby, kept talking , and till now nothing happened!
    this gets frustrating and with a boring 8-5 job , nothing will change unless I make some action..

    but we should make a group discussion to help each other..and see how we are doing and keeping up!!!

    anyone interested ? Email me

  • Leave a Reply

    Scroll Up