Letting Be, Letting Go

by Christopher Lovejoy on March 4, 2012

In my experience, these are the best of intentions, which contribute the most to a sense of meaning, purpose, and direction: (1) cultivating responsible relations; (2) creating and providing lasting value.

A focus on responsible relations might begin with a responsible relationship with myself, with all the benefits that this relationship implies for others, or it might start with a responsible relationship with anyone or anything other than myself, which would imply that I trust myself enough to have one.

My focus on creating and providing lasting value requires a standard of value. Lasting value includes product value and service value, delivered to one or more persons other than myself. Providing such value includes an expectation of return in value, in the form of goods, services, good will, or money.

Every so often, I can tune into soul and spirit, asking …

Is my soul presently satisfied with its relations and is my spirit fulfilled through its relating? Is my soul presently satisfied with the value it creates and is my spirit fulfilled through the value it provides?

If ever I feel compelled to bring my longings to light, I can ask myself, as often as it takes to get answers that resonate at the heart of my soul … who, where, and with whom do I long to be?

And if ever I feel impelled to bring light to my yearnings, I can ask myself, as often as it takes to get answers that vibrate in harmony with my spirit … what do I yearn to have, to do, to have?

For someone intent on living la dolce vita – a sweet, responsible life of happiness, freedom, and fulfillment – these questions are among the most important that I can ask myself.

Interestingly, there’s a not-so-little problem with this all-too-brief, all-too-simple, all-too-easy detour into longings and yearnings, and I can sum it up in one word: conditioning.

As I let it be, releasing resistance to what is here and now, or as I let it go, nodding wisely at yet another passing parting Now, I can more easily accept that I do not know or that I can not act.

Dignity is saved, integrity spared.

As long as I continue to breathe, however, I feel compelled to know, impelled to act.

Just as plants extend their reach, sending roots in search of fertile soil, I too can extend my reach into the world in search of fertile ground, moving through the known into the unknown.

Could I release, just for a moment, all notions of who and what I think I am, all notions of where I think I’m going and what I’ll find, and imagine myself as a plant in search of life-giving soil?

Could I imagine, just for now, how my life would look, sound, or feel if I let be and let go, replacing the habits that condition the course of my life with patterns that welcome what life presents to me?

And if I should bump against embedded rock without warning, could I allow myself to pause for just a moment to consider its meaning before moving graciously or gracefully in a new direction?

I understand all too well that letting be or letting go are not synonymous with giving up or giving in.

Knowing this, which situations in my life require a moment of letting be or letting go?

I could easily assert my will to power and success, but I could just as easily sidestep a programmed, conditioned agenda so as to entertain offerings of “what is” and “what could be”.

The Everpresent Bane of Conditioning

As I grew from infancy into childhood into adolescence into adulthood, I was trained, conditioned, programmed, and pushed to participate, to play nice, to get involved, to go along to get along, to contribute, to be a part of something “bigger and better” than myself.

All the while ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing who I was – and what I really had to offer.

Even leaders are conditioned by the group to accept the norms, and even if they’re strong enough to challenge a few of them, they’re nevertheless programmed to accept them and work with them.

All of which comes with a price, that price being a diminished sense of personal sovereignty.

Suppressing and repressing needs and desires day in and day out is hard on the soul and spirit. These sometimes necessary acts of betrayal take energy – lots of energy – especially over the long haul, until the day arrives when you realize you’re at risk of becoming a dessicated remnant of your former self.

Here’s a dark little secret: longings and yearnings are tender yet vital confessions of an unwillingness or inability to say yes to the satisfaction of need or to the fulfillment of desire, respectively.

But here’s the consolation: we’re all excusably deficient or defective in some way, given just the right circumstances, which compels acceptance of and impels belonging to causes beyond ourselves.

As I said before, longings and yearnings are vital precursors to conscious needs and desires. In oppressive, repressive situations, it’s best to treat them as vital signs of life – and hope.

Whenever and wherever longings and yearnings come calling, I think it wise to clear some space or make some time for them, to reflect on them, to entertain them, to give them voice …

I long to be _____; I yearn to have _____.

Who, where, and with whom do I long to be?

And what do I yearn to have, to do, to have?


This post is the sixth in a series that began here.

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