“To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the clingings and disappointments of the past that bind our spirit.”
— Jack Kornfield
Here’s your gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive. You can always talk to me more about these ideas by replying to this email.
The Cycle of Letting Go
In life, whether we like it or not, we have to let go of things often. It could be ideas about who we are, relationships, dreams, jobs and whatnot. I let go of a couple of things earlier this year. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t doubt my decision. Yet, there’s something essential in that very natural feeling and experience. It’s the following question: it may be the wrong decision, we’ll have to wait for it to play out, but what drove me to let it go in the first place?
The thing with letting go and memory overall is that we cannot trust them. It’s been proven that we don’t remember anything. Each time we retrieve a memory, we recreate it. Every time we do that, we change some things, sometimes subconsciously, sometimes in error and sometimes, intentionally.
The catch here is a very intriguing one. We feel all sorts of negative emotions regarding something, so we decide to let it go. Of course, it’s hampering our current context, and there is no feasible way to have both. So, we break up or quit that job or change that city or delete that number, whatever we do, comes from a feeling of “I deserve better.”
Then, time passes and more often than not, we head into a more positive context, a better mindset and life. Of course, the deterrent, the blocker, the problem is gone now, so we take that tailwind and surge forward. However, now we try to remember older experiences, and our current state of mind influences our retrieval of those memories. So, we look at it as if it wasn’t as bad. “Perhaps, I overreacted,” we tell ourselves.
All that may be true. Yet, there’s something else at work here. If we cannot retrieve memories honestly, and if our present state influences how we look at the past, then the whole reason something feels “not as bad” is because we’re in a much better place after we let it go. It’s safe to say we miss the good parts because we are doing much better without the bad ones that came with them.
To doubt whether you should’ve let something go or if there was another way to fix things in hindsight is probably validation that it worked.
What’s On My Mind?
Something someone I met while backpacking around the country said to me during a drunk, bunk bed conversation in the middle of the night. “If you’re travelling to run away, you’ll never arrive anywhere. There are so many other reasons to travel. Go home.” That was three years ago. Of course, I didn’t listen to it then and took my time going back. It makes much more sense to me now.
I hope this added some value to your week. Stay safe, stay inspired, and I’ll talk to you next week.
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