Pulling Out the Stops

photo credit: Take Heart Studios


I was unwinding for the night, standing in my bathroom, brushing my teeth. I looked in the mirror and this question was just there, floating into my heart.

What would your life look like if you pulled out all of the stops?

That thought, that voice, came out of nowhere.

I just kind of stopped what I was doing. What does that even mean? Pulling out all the stops? What does that look like?

I love that the most meaningful of revelations come in the most mundane of moments. 

I had this vision of a free life. One where windows are opened, where light shines in and fears are thrown out. It felt like driving down an open highway with the top down, hands in the air, hair blowing wildly, sun kissing everything.

And the thoughts cascaded onto me like falling stars.

What would my life look like if you pulled out all of the stops? I think I’d love a lot bigger and better. I’d go to California. I’d write more and share more. I’d finally get my tattoo. I'd do the thing I love, even if it meant disappointing a few people. I'd take spontaneous trips and give money to causes I love. I'd do the things that make me feel alive, even if it doesn't make much sense.

Inspired, I grabbed my planner, which I hadn’t used for the past few months, to write down a to-do list. And the quote on the top of the page?

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” - Maya Angelou

It all became very clear. God gave me this image… Me, holding back an ocean. My back is against this wall, and I’m trying to hold it up, because it’s threatening to break from the weight of a raging ocean, the waves crashing and breaking and spraying over the edge. And it hurts. Because it’s heavy. And I start to not think of much else but keeping this at bay, keeping it all in.

 And then that voice dropped in again.

You’d have so much more time to do the things that actually matter if you stopped being scared of them all the time.

Thanks, God, for that one-two punch.

I’m scared to let it out. I’m scared of all that’s in me, that it won’t be accepted. That it won’t be understood. I’m scared of what’s out there, of what’s waiting in the stepping out and the letting go and the releasing.

But I secretly love it. It fuels me. Like I share a pulse with that glorious unknown. It's exhilarating.

I think pulling out the stops means facing the uncertain, letting go of the reins even if you don't know where life will take you. It means opening some windows and kicking down doors. I think it means dancing when you want to and looking people in the eye instead of starting at the ground.

I think it’s saying no to censoring yourself. I think it’s not worrying if being the real you will be okay with someone else.

It's not holding back the ocean inside of you. It's getting rid of the stuff that keeps you from living your fullest life. It's picking a new fight.

Pulling out all the stops means spilling your guts, the beautiful, lovely, weird stuff that you’re made of, all over the world. It means giving that untold story inside of you wings.

That’s why I’ve been calling this year the Year of Yes.

Yes to traveling and yes to people. Yes to new opportunities and yes to cleaning out my life. Yes to more and yes to less. Yes to introspection and yes to adventure.

Just yes. And not Yes in an overwhelming, over-booked kind of way, but a yes to life, a willingness to be moved into something greater.

Because I think there's an untold story in me. Some of it I have memorized by heart. But some of it is waiting to be written. And I think it's in the releasing, in the letting go, in those little leaps of faith, that it continues to be written.

You have untold stories in you, too.

And the only way it's going to continue being written is if you live out what's already in you.

It’s not going to be easy. You’ll have to get rid of some distractions. You’ll have to say no in order to say yes. You’ll have to change some things to make space for making things happen, for some poetry to be made out of you. You're going to have to pull out whatever it that is holding all of you in.

But that’s okay because this is  your calling.

And you should move mountains, maybe even release oceans, for things like your calling.


What does pulling out the stops look like for you? Drop me a line, I'd love to hear your untold stories.