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What if it’s Already All Inside You? Perfect Imperfection and the Art of Letting Go

It’s winter here in Australia, but the fern in my garden doesn’t care. It’s putting out another new frond, unfurling, unfolding, even though it’s cold and the sun’s not out.

And the thing with these larger ferns is that, if you look closely, it’s as if you can see the whole frond already in there, just wrapped tight and waiting. Waiting for the plant to let go. To uncurl. All the fern has to do is just let itself be itself.

So how does this relate to you?

Well, what if, like the fern, the things you yearn for in your life were already inside you? Just waiting.

Are there parts of you that you hold really tight, too anxious to let them uncurl?

Maybe there’s some fear of judgment.
Or fear of failure.
Or feelings of self-consciousness.
Or worries about success.

Are there times you might sort of ‘get in the way of yourself’ – trip yourself up – stop yourself just being as you are? Perhaps times when the inner critic gets to decide whether you’re “good enough” to show yourself to the world (or not).

What might it be like to stop gripping so tight for a moment, and let go just enough to let a small part be released?

Which part comes to mind for you? Which part might be aching for that right now? Which part might want to come out of hiding if it knew the coast was clear?

And what would it be like to let it?

Just as it is.

Perfectly imperfect. Still growing. Still green.

Neuropsychologist Dr Robert Rosenbaum (whose family name, incidentally, translates as “rose tree” in German) makes this observation:

“If an apple tree were self-conscious… it might worry, before it bore fruit, that it did not know what apples looked like and feared it could not make good apples. If the tree tried to make an apple purely through thinking and extrapolating from its isolated individual existence and past experience, the tree might wind up creating an apple that looked something like a branch, a leaf, or a root, because these would be the only things of which the apple tree was aware so far.

It takes faith for the apple tree to allow itself to blossom.”*

Do you think you could find a just a little of that kind of “faith”? (Or whatever else you’d like to call it).

And maybe learn to let go enough to trust the ever-evolving process of you.

I wonder which parts you might next allow to unfurl…


*Reference: Rosenbaum, R (1999) Zen and the Heart of Psychotherapy, p.94Photo: Fern by toomuchgreentea
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She was the former editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
What if it’s Already All Inside You? Perfect Imperfection and the Art of Letting Go

Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar

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APA Reference
Gawne-Kelnar, G. (2019). What if it’s Already All Inside You? Perfect Imperfection and the Art of Letting Go. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Mar 2019
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