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Withholding, What It Takes to Melt, and Why You Might Want to Try It

Withholding, What It Takes to Melt, and Why You Might Want to Try It

Every time I drive down a palm tree-lined street I feel like I’m in a movie. Baring my shoulders outside in the middle of the winter will likely never grow old.

I recently shared that our family relocated to Miami until June.The precipitating event for our move to Miami is that Mike is sick again, and warmth, humidity, and the negative ions of the ocean were recommended to aid in his healing.

(Just over 2 years ago he went down hard with a severe skin disorder, lost 40 pounds in a month, and could barely stand for more than a few minutes at a time. He’s healed significantly since, but never fully. Luckily, for the first time he’s working with folks who understand what he has and feel quite confident that the protocol will heal him, and we’re so grateful!)

What I noticed in myself as I’m navigating this season of holding more than usual when it comes to our family and our finances is that I’ve also started to withhold.

With each passing week of Mike’s illness I started to notice my grip tightening.

I was feeling lonely and like I just had to tense up and soldier on. I’m descended from a woman whose life motto is:

Don’t ask for a lighter pack. Ask for a stronger back.

Strength has never been the problem.

It was suggested to me that I might feel less lonely if I found ways to feel connected to Mike even during this time when he doesn’t have bandwidth for much else than healing, and I don’t have bandwidth for much else than taking care of our kids and my business.

An internal fortress went up as this suggestion was made.

Something occurred to me in that moment:

I’ve been feeling like I’ve been holding so much (emotionally, logistically, financially, energetically) that I was afraid that any amount of softening would make me drop it all.

Luckily, this wise suggester further suggested that I lean into the part that was afraid that if I softened I would completely fall apart.

So I did. It was hard at first, and feeling scared to let the fortress fall down came in waves.

But over a matter of 15 min. or so, holding hands with the man I love, looking him in the eye with us both giving ourselves and each other space to be exactly where we are and honestly sit together in the suck of it, the fortress liquified.

I had more access to connection with him (and myself) than I’d had in weeks.

Turns out, too much holding can lead to withholding.

And we cannot withhold selectively.

If I’m gripping so tightly that I can’t find the softness in my every day, I’m also withholding from my children. I’ve been for sure withholding from my husband and myself.

And, as I took the first truly deep breaths I had in more days than I can count, I noticed that there’s been a part of me withholding from the ideas, inspiration, and connection available to me in my work life, too.

As our company stands on the precipice of some really big and exciting metamorphosing, I can’t be withholding from what the soul of this business needs from me. (Turns out what she needs from me is what I need from me, too.)

As much as we talk about our work lives, our love lives, our spiritual lives, our family lives, and our private lives as separate, I find that acting as though I have separate parts of my life doesn’t really serve me.

It turns out I’m me showing up every day, no matter who I’m with and no matter in what capacity.

I’m happy to report that Miami is indeed melting me in ways I did not realize I needed melting.

If there’s a place you’ve not yet let your love go, as my friend Meggan Watterson says, whether it’s a relationship, a part of yourself, a part of your history, a part of your work life, could you lean into it ever so slightly today?

We cannot withhold selectively.

If you’re living behind a fortress in one place, there’s a part of you missing in every area of your life.

I’ll be over here letting my sweet heart thaw, drip by drip.

Melt with me if you’d like. The world works better when we’re in flow, after all.

Is there any area you’re gripping so tightly that you might be withholding unintentionally? Where can you let your love go that you haven’t let it go before? What parts of you might be available for melting? 

  • Jen says:

    Wow. We do not give ourselves permission to do this. Especially when we are holding everyone in our lives. I need to stop holding.

  • Ella says:

    This is so beautiful Kate, I’m so happy to learn this is happening in your life.

    We all have this part of us that learned to shut down our feelings so that we and our life doesn’t fall apart. When the truth is, our life and being is “in parts” if we are shut down. Ironic, isn’t it.

    We were taught all the opposite things of what is good and right and healthy for relationships, with ourselves and others.

    This text intuitively reminds me of your previous writings about how you would be afraid you would not get what you want out of Mike in the relationship so you would initiate and do stuff and then be disappointed that he isn’t initiating and doing and frustrated/drained because of all the doing. And he was like: I can’t do it if you are already doing it and not trusting me to lead.

    I know this personally so well! I’m working on letting go of control and fear of not getting what I want to. Being in our “feminine” more. This feels like it really connects to the theme of this post. Hope it’s resonating for you.

    OK big hug to you beautiful,
    Ella
    The healing mentor

  • Nherie says:

    Yes. This makes sense. I hold a little too tight my struggles as a single parent and what I rumble with every day. Wanting to soldier on in this area when I feel grief, especially in times where the load could be lighter if I shared it with a partner. I reason, well I’m not the only one doing this so there’s nothing new here….but I’m mistaken carrying this too tightly. Because it’s keeping me from accepting the reality that it’s just hard…and things are just different when you are doing it alone. I HAVE to adjust how I work, how I take care of myself and the children. How I spend my energy….I cannot do it like others. I’m unique and I have to create my own way through. This is my 2nd season in life as a single parent…so, I will give myself credit…I’ve done this before and I can do it again…this time, I’ll remember me. #myneedsmatter

  • Dana says:

    Forgiveness

  • Jessica says:

    I cannot withhold selectively. It is showing up everywhere – I haven’t held my husbands hand in months. I’ve given up cooking for my kids during the day- in my defense, it is tricky to cook when you are zooming all day (so tired of the word, “zoom”). Your post spoke to me on so many levels – I actually just got back from a 3 day “healing” trip to Miami. I need to figure out how to implement in New Hampshire for the months to come. Thank you for your guidance.

  • Lisa says:

    Oh my GAWD!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Your writing put my current state into a beautiful and perfect perspective. I have been afraid and withholding an area of my life for fear of disappointment. I’m learning to let go of expectation which often leads to resentment and just let life flow as it comes. I don’t have to know the “next step” but instead trust the Universe to bring it all about in perfect timing as it should be. Love you, Kate! Thank you and Mike for all your hard work!

  • Amanda says:

    Love this and totally agree! Had a lot of recent breakthroughs recently about my parents and how I see myself and it’s helping me understand my own children. Accepting them where they are at and not trying to “fix” things
    That holding on really resonated

    Recently I found by including 10 to 15 minutes of dance with a candle in addition to just my 7 minute work out and meditation is doing more physical healing for my leg than any physio or acupuncture or massage i’ve tried to heal it with the last 3 years .

    I know you’re a dancer Kate and I’m blown away by what dance does for the soul. I can’t believe I’ve deprived myself of it for all these years and just focused on excercise and meditation
    It’s not for the point of performing – I’m a singer and actress – it’s just for me in the dark at 6 am before anyone else is up. As a recovering productivity addict it’s been life changing :)
    Take care ! Thanks for always inspiring me
    Amanda

  • Amy says:

    Oh Kate… I needed this!!! Thanks for sharing. Sending love to you guys as you continue to melt in Miami ❤️

  • Kellie says:

    Perfectly and wonderfully timed. Thank you for leading (and healing) by example and for sharing your experience. What really resonated for me: when we’re holding so much it can feel like we might drop it all if we soften. And how our withholding in one area impacts all other areas. I’ll be exploring this more today in my journal. 💛

  • Sarah Harmon says:

    Love this Kate. Love you. Cheers to melting. :)

  • “sit together in the suck of it” made me cry. I have some health issues to navigate in the next several months. The old me would have the attitude of just shoulder through. Even though softening is harder and makes me feel vulnerable, in the end I hope it will deepen my relationships with my husband and children. Thank you for sharing and I hope Mike heals quickly and you continue to melt into your being.

    • Kate Northrup says:

      Yes – softening feels infinitely harder for me, too, ironically, but in the end it’s the medicine we need I think.

  • Susan Fry says:

    Thank you for remembering who you were born to be! Helps me to recognize the divine within me. It is a good reminder of my own nothingness. As I submit to God and become open to the unimaginable!
    You are an inspiration!

  • Jane says:

    Such lovely and important words. Thank you. 🥰

  • Lesa Sevin says:

    Yes about the gripping, that is what I have experienced in my body for soooo long. Just to hold the strands together. It is what it is, face it with the truth of what is time.
    I am learning to soften from within to all the parts. Starts with me finding the eternal light within my heart, the origin of the cell division(neural plasticity), expand that loving presence to each cell to resonate.
    I must do this at all times to bring me to present, to override the gripping that the nervous system expresses as inflammation into the lymph.
    I go to the river and make up juicy love poetry about thawing icy hearts, melting into flowing rivers of love.
    Blessed Be

  • Ellen says:

    I love this post. I often feel like I’m holding back in areas if I fear which path to take forward.

  • Louise says:

    Wow! Such a beautiful, powerful share Kate thank you. A beautiful reminder to let go, flow, trust, and let the walls down so the love can flow in. Thank you!

  • This is absolutely beautiful Kate. I love you and Mike so much and wish you all the strength, melting, healing and love ever! xoxo Jenny

  • Ah. Thank you, Kate. I just simply need to say– though I could substitute different details — “Me too!” I SO needed this — throughout this past month, but today’s great, too! ;)

  • Melissa Lind says:

    Beautifully said. I have been gripping on tightly as well, for no good reason and I didn’t realize I was doing it until I read your post.

    Best of luck to you and Mike.

    Melissa

  • Alison says:

    Beautifully written Kate. Thanks so much for sharing; this really resonated with me. Wishing Mike a speedy recovery and glad you are happy in Florida too!

  • Natalia Londono-Arroyo says:

    Beautifully written! Thank you so much for sharing! This really resonates with me, I’ll be leaning in today..

  • Wow! What a beautiful sharing! I think, if we truly look at it, we are all withholding in some way or another, and fear is usually the reason. I have been doing some similar work lately, and it is amazing what opens up when you let those walls down! Thank you for always sharing authentically, so that others can benefit from your learning and growth. Your generosity helps us all find ways to reach for that next level.

  • Katrina Neal says:

    This hits home. I have a huge to-do list. I can now see where I was holding on tighter and tighter. It is showing up even physically. I realized I needed to let the soul in and lead the human instead of the other way around. I talk about soul first, human second constantly. Time to live it. Thank you for the well timed messaged. Much love and healing to all in your family.

  • Marissa says:

    Yes. I’m in a similar boat where I’m holding on to so many things that it feels like if I lighten my grip it will all fall apart. A mentor asked me when was the last time I actually let myself feel, not start to feel and then push it down or try to change my mood, but actually feel. It had been a very long time. She suggested finding a time and space for me to let go and feel. So I set the family up to allow me to be gone for the day and went to a nearby wetlands sanctuary. I sat in my car and cried. I screamed. I sighed. Then I put on some soft music in my earbuds and walked around the park slowly, for hours, just thinking about what I was feeling and why I had been suppressing it. Finally, I wrote all those thoughts down. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted of my chest and I could finally breathe again. Life is still hard, nothing has really changed, but by letting the feelings go I am more able to carry the load required of me.

  • Thank you for this. Between reading this and listening to a Brene Brown podcast this morning, I know that releasing the hold, sitting in the vulnerable, and being soft and honest with myself is a very, very difficult task for me. I too feel the struggle of “holding everything up”, later to find my chest is tight and my fists are clenched. Missing out on some of the most beautiful moments of my life. I appreciate these words, and your work. Sending healing love to your family and your hubby, and I hope the sun continues to help melt away your hold.

    • Kate Northrup says:

      You’re so right about missing out because of the holding…and we can just soften little by little every day.

  • JC says:

    Thank you for this message! And the Universe is hilarious in driving messages home. Playing in the background while I read this is Andrea & Matteo Bocelli’s song, Fall On Me.

    Message received – thank YOU Kate!!!
    With love and gratitude,
    JC

  • grace says:

    What an inspiring post this was- really great food for thought!! I wish you and your family all of life’s best stuff, Kate!

  • parisa ali says:

    mmmm. deep feels. thank you for opening my heart, beautiful one.

  • Kerry says:

    I work with women when their holding has created chronic fatigue. Why? Because that’s my experience too! And in the last month I’ve been in a similar position of feeling I have to hold the fort as my husband is unable to bring in an income and is stuck and depressed. I could see I was holding because I’m now so conscious of my patterns but I couldn’t step out of it as easily as I have in the past. Then the last few days I took time out to consciously fall apart and met the even deeper layers of me that still battle to be soft and vulnerable. So now I’m focusing on letting my masculine and feminine meet within as he holds her while she melts and surrenders. While I’ve been doing this solo I’ve noticed my relationship with my husband has softened and today both of my children completely fell apart as if my own softening has opened the flood gates. Wishing you all the best Kate and Mike. Wishing you grace, courage and supported surrender.

  • Kim Parker says:

    Dearest Kate,
    You are amazing … thank you so much for sharing this. I feel your further elevation in consciousness and its awesome. I too have helped my husband heal from a skin condition, over decades.
    When I first heard of Mike’s illness years ago, I had a feeling that his healing was not yet done based on my experience with my husband’s journey.
    Please know that as he heals there will be more expansion and good stuff that will continue to unfold and I am excited for you both.
    Quick question, have you considered any Medical Medium protocols (Anthony William)?
    Sending you lots of love. Kim x

    • Kate Northrup says:

      Thank you for your affirmative message, Kim, and yes…we’re quite familiar with the Medical Medium. Thanks!

  • Sheila says:

    Wow Kate, As you move through this challenging time, I hope you both feel more and more held, healed – and free.

    I was thinking the other day that my personal losses of the past few years had taken a greater toll on me than I thought. I’ve definitely been waiting for the other shoe to drop unintentionally. And you expressed the emotions behind this so well, about softening making you feel like everything will crumble. But then again, softening is where the healing is. I intend to allow my love to go towards more grace and trust in what’s to come and remembering that it’s all a cycle. Thank you for that. Sending you so much love.

  • Tamar F. Gersh says:

    This is so awesome. I can feel your writing with each word and find myself relaxing and melting in to it as I go through your piece. I was just processing this is exact idea with the notion of willpower. Willpower in choosing healthy food to put into your body every day specifically. Willpower seems like an innocent enough superpower. But at times ( and most times) willpower can be used for the opposite. Sometimes your willpower can be too powerful that you are missing the emotions of the journey and focusing on saying no to this and no do that and missing those emotions of desire, urges etc. Anyway, I found this piece to resonate with me and go together with what I am processing. Thanks Kate!! #melton

  • Lisabeth says:

    Oh my goodness this is just want I needed to hear today. Welcome wisdom. Thank you!

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