Letting Go

This is pretty much all personal, no political, but so it goes.

For someone who thinks as much as I do about language, I’m amazed sometimes at how I can miss blatantly obvious elements in the meanings of common expressions.

I’ve been working a lot on “letting go” – by “working”, I’m referring mostly to meditation and stuff like that, but also to the kind of overthinking that characterizes the exact polar opposite of “letting things go”, a counterproductivity of which I am not unaware. When I think about it, I focus on what it is I’m trying to control, events or relationships onto which I’m projecting expectations, outcomes, attachments and wants mistaken for needs. I concentrate on acceptance, finding peace within situations that are less than calm, making peace with a past that has been less than calm.

What surprises me is that I’ve never connected this kind of letting go, the kind that people mean when they say “let it go” as they try to comfort you and get you past that anger and rage (whether productively or not), to the kind of “letting go” that involves letting yourself display emotion with another person, or even letting yourself have emotion and admit it to yourself. The kind that people mean when they talk about letting down walls or just giving yourself permission to feel/be less than perfect.

I’ve known, obviously, that I need to do both, but it somehow past me by, in all the times I said the words referring to one or the other of these concepts, that they’re the same thing. I make the mistake of thinking that peace and acceptance are the antithesis of pain, sorrow, hurt or grief, and because I feel pain, sorrow, hurt and grief over things – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot – I assume it must be because I haven’t “let go”, so I re-erect walls and barriers, I go back to expressing nothing but anger, I go back to trying desperately to force myself into a nice, controllable little box. And because I can’t control it all, because the pain, sorrow, hurt and grief still exists, the impossibility of that control, my refusal to let go and just accept its existence, proves yet again that whatever it is that I refuse to admit to, whatever it is that I just can’t bring into consciousness, whatever it is that I must be better than is the one thing that is going to come to control me.

Nearly two years after my separation, my divorce becomes final on Saturday. After nearly two years of separation, and nearly two years of knowing with absolute certainty and progressively less hostility or resentment that it was the only possible way toward progress, I figured this should/would feel like just a formality. I accepted the outcome here a long time ago. But I still need to let it go.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. Jay says:

    “I make the mistake of thinking that peace and acceptance are the antithesis of pain, sorrow, hurt or grief, and because I feel pain, sorrow, hurt and grief over things – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot – I assume it must be because I haven’t “let go”, so I re-erect walls and barriers, I go back to expressing nothing but anger, I go back to trying desperately to force myself into a nice, controllable little box.”

    +1

  2. purtek says:

    Thanks Jay.

    (Alternate response: only 1?)

  3. Amber says:

    Great observations… I had never connected those two uses of the phrase either!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s