I have a huge dead tree at the bottom of my garden. If it rains or the wind blows, it will drop large chunks of dead wood on my garden. My children are restricted to playing in only a small portion of the garden because this dead tree makes it unsafe. I have requested the council remove it since it is a hazard not only to my children but to my neighbour’s children.

The council tree loppers came before Christmas to remove it. They had to leave without doing anything because their work order was for an 8 metre tree and apparently mine is a 12 metre tree and they didn’t bring the right equipment.

Yesterday they returned with the correct equipment, ready to chop that dead wood right out of my life. Twenty minutes later they were leaving. The climber was allergic to one of the trees in my garden. So two attempts later and I still have a large tree of dead wood at the bottom of my garden.

Why we keep dead wood around in our lives

This got me to thinking about the times in my life where I struggled to cut out the dead wood in my life. Even after I was ready and had acknowledged that it was time to let go.

Letting go is not easy, even when we think we are ready.

I have held on to friendships for months and in one case years after I realised they were toxic. I have stayed in jobs when I knew they didn’t fulfil me. More damaging than that, I held on to ideas and beliefs about myself and life long after I realised they were getting in the way of living a life I could enjoy and be proud of.

I now realise why I kept creating issues and reasons not to cut out this deadwood, as much as it wasn’t working for me and I wasn’t happy.

The dead wood was safe and familiar.

Safe and familiar are an intoxicating combination. I fell for their allure for a long time. Too long because life is short and this is time I can’t go and ask for a refund on the time, so I can change it.

What is not working and why?

Sometimes I can change how I am doing things and it will work for me. Sometimes I have to accept it is dead wood and simply let it go.

This happened recently. I decided although I had a successful Personal Training business for five years, I wanted to increase my online presence, share the knowledge I had gained from the life I have lived and empower corporates to make real changes with regards to domestic abuse.

Trouble was it wasn’t safe to go public. A big part of staying safe for was flying under the radar. So I had to make the decision that although I had worked hard for five years to build my business name and brand, if I wanted to move forward I would have to now consider it deadwood and let it go. I not only had to let my business name go, but I also had to change my name.

I am used to having to take these precautions, but I’ll be honest here this one hurt. I knew though if I want to head in this new direction I would have to just cut this deadwood out.

Once it was done I felt freer, I could finally speak my truth and keep my children safe. I know there is still a risk, a calculated risk. I know my life will always be a balance between shooting for the stars and keeping us safe.

Hiding behind the deadwood in my life is not an answer, it feels safe and comfy, but like all dead things it is rotting and my dreams and aspirations were rotting with it.