How many of us know the origin of many of the sayings that are in our everyday lexicon? If you're over 40, many of the sayings that our parents shared and we find ourselves still using are no longer in use and have lost their relevance.
Take for example, the phrase,"letting yourself off the hook". The origins of this date back to the 1800s in the fishing industry. Generally, when a fish has been caught it's considered to be done for; the only hope is if it's either taken off the hook or escapes from it.
In our use of the phrase today, someone who's “off the hook” has been released from obligations or commitments, whether by someone else or by ourselves.
Just yesterday, I realized I had been totally caught up in my head about a new adventure I've been embarking on. I had entertained a lot of insecurity and doubt about whether it was worth my time and energy, and I was struggling like a fish caught by a fishing hook.
Because I couldn't stop thinking about the pros and cons, I couldn't get clear about whether it felt right. Then I remembered: I actually had the ability to take myself off the hook of my overthinking and "swim away" into quieter and safer waters.
Suddenly, I was off the hook and could clearly see and feel how I wanted to proceed, what was useful and what my next step would be.
We all know how easy it is to "get caught up" in our own thinking, thrashing and fighting to figure things out and find a solution. It's painful and we panic and feel hopeless the more we struggle.
Instead of fighting desperately against the hook of our overthinking, we have the capacity to stop pulling against it and become "passive". That's when we recognize how we can slip off the hook.
I suspect that the bait on the end of the hook that we're so frequently enticed by is the need we've been taught to know what exactly is going on, how to prepare or respond and what all the possible outcomes are that we should be aware of.
In my experience, that need often makes life so much more complicated because trying to fulfill it prevents us from tuning in to our own gut knowing, that intuitive deeper understanding we all have within us.
Every one of us has had moments when we "knew" something and we acted upon it, without analyzing or interpreting or predicting. It just felt right.
That "knowing" is far more effective as a way of being in the world. Of course, we often can benefit from the use of our rational and analytical capabilities, but when they are in service to that knowing, there's clarity and peace of mind.
Our lives become infinitely easier, kinder and more fulfilling.
Because when you think about it, all that's ever going on in any given moment is that something's happening.
We're the ones who make up the stories about what it means and what we imagine will happen.
Without overlaying life with judgments and assumptions and expectations (more hooks!), we have freedom to listen to our inner knowing that is free from any sense of "have to" and instead, comes from "try this".
And bingo! We've let ourselves off the hook.