Let go

I clung compulsively to things I thought I wanted / needed / couldn’t live without.

What were those things?

  • self-imposed standards (“if I do this at all, it needs to be great”)
  • expectations of others (especially when they were likely to be upset or disappointed if their expectations weren’t met)
  • my expectations (“why am I not over this already?”)
  • dysfunctional relationships that I felt I had to save or redeem (“it simply cannot end like this”)
  • freshly-baked bread (wait, maybe this shouldn’t be here)

I learned to let go the easy way and the hard way.

The easy way was through spontaneous play and exploration. Things I’ve written when I had no precise plan or expectation, going with the flow of the moment, were often better than what I produced under schedule. Photos I’ve taken playfully, between the planned shots, were often the most interesting. It’s good to make plans. It’s even better to know when you have to break through them – changing or abandoning them.

The hard way was through crisis and breakdown. When I reached a limit, beyond it was uncharted territory. When I broke down, my plans, expectations, and habitual ways of doing things broke down with me. This opens possibilities. There is pain, but there is also a door that is cracked open.

After all, that’s how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in
(L. Cohen - Anthem)

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