Saturday, September 12, 2020

September 12--Artful Living

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. 
--Havelock Ellis

    We have an excellent example of this in our breath. We take it in, we let it go. We can hold our breath for just a little while, then discomfort forces its release. It's a natural rhythm, and a good example for us to note. 
    I remind myself of the wise words of one of my mentors: Everything has a lifespan. We tend to resist letting go of long-held, dear-to-our-hearts people, places and circumstances, because letting go puts us in the unknown territory of Changeland. One of the most challenging and ongoing "letting go" experiences for me has been letting go of my sons, who are both successful adults. Mothering is a tough thing to back away from after it has been 100% of life for so many years. 
    Letting go and holding on applies to beliefs, too. Humans are known to cling to beliefs that don't serve us. These may have come from parents, school, religion, authority figures, and so on. It's often easier to hold on than to think for ourselves and make changes. I held on to the belief for years that I could somehow magically on my own control my addiction. I say with the gratitude of hindsight that I finally let go of that conviction and found recovery. 
    There has been a lot of letting go during this pandemic time. I've learned to live without eating out, traveling, swimming (3-months without), hugs, seeing my students, sons and friends in-person, and TV sports. Yet life has gone on. Practicing the art of living, I've replaced those things with other satisfying activities and a lot of Zoom. It is all working for now. 
    It's a good habit to consider where holding on is not helping. Less baggage is a good thing. 
    Feeling lighter,

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