middle fingers to just letting go
This monthly newsletter has been resting and germinating the past two months as I found myself temporarily stepping into a different timeline, in a different space.
After struggling to find the time to fit it in, I succumbed to the pause in newsletter production, placed it on the proverbial shelf, and willingly used the period of time as a fitting room for possible futures instead.
Interestingly enough, what showed up in my possible-future fitting room was a series of alignments with entities of the long-gone past; development of projects I considered far past the stage of relevance, the fulfillment of dreams and aspirations I assumed expired, and the reviving of relationships not touched in years.
No rekindling period necessary. These entities just moved right in to meet me where I’m currently operating, like the perceived passage of time between us existed somewhere else.
And here’s the retroactive rub: When that body of work didn’t go anywhere and I felt like a failure, or that dream didn’t materialize and I thought I was kidding myself, or that relationship slipped away and I carried resentment around like a boulder, I was inundated with the instruction to just move on, just get over it, just let it go.
How underserved I was!
When you find yourself completely swallowed in a challenge –pushing against it, pulling it into spaces it doesn’t quite fit, grasping it tightly– undoubtedly, there will be a wanting-to-be-helpful voice telling you to JUST LET IT GO. The word JUST thrown in to imply how simple and easy it can be.
If you’ll allow me to bring in some overused economic jargon, we can all fall stubbornly into Sunken Cost Fallacy –our tendency to push through on an endeavor that we’ve invested time, effort, or money into, whether or not the current costs outweigh the benefits.
Yeah, we know the pushing and pulling and struggling is by no means generative, but it can still feel like effort we’ve put in that deserves a conclusion. And so, putting something down can feel like quitting or losing something we hold dear, or worse, like we’ve wasted precious moments of our precious lives. Ugh!
I’d like to offer up a new way to look at this notion of letting go that is not only more aligned with the natural order and rhythms of time and space, but one that feels a whole hell of a lot better too: Instead of letting it go, letting it be.
There is a distinct difference between letting go and letting be that can bring a sweet kind of relief. Letting be is not cutting ties, extinguishing our passion, or losing the very special thing that we’ve spent so much time cultivating and nurturing, it is, however, allowing it to be there without our meddling. Not coaxing it, forcing it, twisting it, turning it, being dominant over it, but taking a step back and realizing, you’ve come to a point where you’ve done all you can (you might call it ‘hitting a wall’) and now space and time are needed.
Past projects, ideas, relationships, are never really over. As the planter of the seed, you are interconnected with them until your dying day, and even then, your connection lives on. The seed will rest and germinate, being shaped in countless ways, by countless conversations and minds, until it is born again as inspiration or opportunity. Perhaps, as a different flavor of an idea or relationship, or the same, but in a better time and place.
Spring will always follow Winter, as they say. Obstacles, then, are really just a signal that the time is not quite right, that it’s just not the right season. And that can be liberating.
It’s easier to be less precious about parting with something, when you know it’s not a finite ending, but merely a transition period where both you and the thing can take on a new dynamism and fluidity, before finding yourself and the thing more fully realized once you meet again.