Letting Go

The wind is pure wizardry tonight.  Leaves rustling crisp and wild in the darkness … this wind makes me want to go out and wander on our nighttime hill.  As much as I love it, though, I know that this October wind means that most of the beautiful colors will be gone from our trees by morning.  The yellows, oranges, and reds will still litter and brighten the ground for a while before they turn brown, but tonight basically spells the end of another year’s beautiful foliage season.

So it’s thoughts of letting go that the wizard wind conjures for me tonight.  Perhaps it’s also thoughts about the futility of holding on.  Holding on!  Those oak leaves manage to do it … often well into the winter … but just look at them!  There’s no life in them.  When the February wind blows, the oak leaves just rattle in the cold … lifeless but still holding on.

Okay, but when to let go?  That has always puzzled me.  My somewhat unfortunate tendency has been to either hold on too long, or to let go impulsively.  It will be nice to develop ways to let go in a reasonable, grown up, human way.  “Human” is one of the key words here.  To be a living human is to be imperfect, unfinished, a work in perpetual progress.  In my mind I have often thought of letting go as synonymous with being finished.  But being finished is not really part of the human experience, is it?  Not so long as we’re alive. 

So, looking at things in an everyday-way, I know that my e-mail needn’t be perfect before I hit the SEND button.  My dinner needn’t be perfect before I eat it, or serve it.  Certainly I try my best, and strive toward perfection (“toward” being the operative word), but I am a work in progress and I am never going to be finished.  Never finished, but I DO need to let go!  (My Blog may not be perfect, but at some point I need to stop editing!)

I’m guessing that there’s some paradigm-shifting that I can be working on here.  I need to see letting go as part of an ongoing, unfolding process rather than as an ending.  But I need to not deny that letting go also really IS an ending (and work with the losses that all endings, no matter what their magnitude, can entail).  As I navigate through loss and letting go, I need to see that they both can nourish and nurture beginnings – beginnings that I may not even be able to see or even imagine, as I open my hands to let go!

The leaves are a good example.  What blows off our trees tonight will settle first onto, then into, the ground … ultimately providing nourishment for what will come in the spring.  What a gift – tender, courageous, hopeful and absolutely mundane!  (Those oak leaves, on the other hand, holding on into frigid February and beyond, aren’t going to be nourishing anything.)

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