Break Your Anchors and Sail Away: A Dedication To Letting Go

During a brief conversation I had with some new people over the weekend, one person said she loved to sail. She described being in her swimsuit while laying in the net and soaking in the sun and sea water so passionately, it made me want to do it immediately. I've been on many boats throughout my life, but never on a sailboat.

Then I went walking in Cave Hill Cemetery (Louisville, KY, USA) and started noticing anchors on the graves. Being a very ornate cemetery, there were anchors of all kinds standing out to me left and right. I assume the conversation about sailing must have triggered an association with me seeing the anchors. I looked up anchors when I returned home and started reading about some of the symbolism behind them.

According to one article I read on, anchors have very early origins. This made complete sense to me because most of the gravestones that had anchors on them were from the 1800's. Anchors are closely related to a symbol of a cross and represent a safe place (heaven I would presume), so this could be why they were on many gravestones.

Then I read about broken anchors, something I've never thought of before. Any anchors I've ever pulled up from the water have been very heavy and unbreakable. Maybe their chains could break, but not the anchor. If an anchor itself breaks, it would be an amazing feat. Because of this, I read that a broken anchor symbol is a "pledge to move on and have a better, brighter, grounded future". I fell in love with this symbol and it's meaning the minute I read this.

Humans have many ties and bonds to things which serve as our anchors. These anchors are people, animals and "stuff" (houses, cars, clothes, furniture and more). Sometimes this is good because anchors can be grounding and make us feel safe and secure. In order to "sail away" into a better, brighter, grounded future, however, we sometimes have to break some of the anchors. This can be a truly hard feat.

Throughout the process of selling our home, I had to go through boxes and boxes of pictures, clothes and "stuff". It was really hard sometimes because some of the items I had saved brought up very difficult memories, like the death of my Nani (my grandmother), who was like a mother to me. When this happened, I felt the feelings as needed, and then started tossing things.

I got rid of so much stuff. I especially threw out huge stacks of pictures. I had so many random pictures! It was cleansing and healing in a way for me to be able to let go of so many items. I, of course, kept some things, but only those attached to good memories.

The house itself will be a difficult anchor to let go of. Houses just represent money to some people, but they are memories and stories to others. We had to wait to buy the house (it was a foreclosure), and when it became ours, we knew it was meant to be. We had no timeline for when we needed to get it finished, so we renovated a little here and there.

Other than the house being in the area we wanted and liking its style, we also knew it was a great investment that would be profitable. Over the years, however, our investment became a home. We had fun parties, dinners and definitely have created many stories and memories in the house. When the ten year mark started to approach though, my husband and I started to have numerous talks about our future. We felt ready to move onto something new, though the house wasn't finished. Then, I was vacuuming one day and heard a voice ask "What are you waiting for?". At that moment, I knew God was telling me it was time to put it up for sale and move on. We called our agent the next day.

Though this last anchor is taking a long time to break, we know it's for a reason. We've been granted time to let go and prepare for the next chapter of our lives. We created a bucket list over ten years ago and know it's time to start crossing more things off our list. Sailing wasn't on our list, but buying an RV was. And we will be doing just that. Maybe we will have to go out on a sailboat during our travels. It sounded like pure bliss and freedom. And that is something I definitely want to feel.

My questions to you:

  1. What are the anchors in your life?
  2. What anchors are holding you back from making changes in your life?
  3. Why are or aren't you willing to let go of your anchors?
  4. Are you holding onto anchors you no longer need because you don't want to deal with the feelings associated to letting them go?

Random thought: I listened to songs about sailing while creating the art for this piece. It's quite interesting that most of the songs gave me a feeling representative of "easiness and freedom." Could it be, perhaps that it was the time period the songs were created in (most were from the 1970's) that made them sound this way OR is it because sailing brings on a feeling like the sound you hear with the music? Maybe it's both.

My top three favorite songs that talk about sailing:

Orinoco Flow by Enya

Sailing by Christopher Cross

Come Sail Away by Styx

Art by Carolyn J. Braden

Art by Carolyn J. Braden