February 19th - Welcome to day 19 of the Myrrhmade Love Where You Are Challenge!
Come on in and join us!
Day 19: Let Something Go
We carry a lot of things with us, some physical, many emotional.
Sometimes it's necessary to put things down simply because they are heavy.
Backpackers that carry everything they need for their journey put their bags down and rest.
What are you carrying all the time that prevents you from recharging as much as you'd like?
There's a zen parable brilliantly told and illustrated by Jon J. Muth in his Caldecott Honor book Zen Shorts (link is to a local gallery's piece about the author).
The story goes something like this:
An older and a younger monk are travelling along when they come across a woman with no way to cross the river. Even though they've taken a vow to never touch a woman, the older monk picks up the woman and carries her across. The woman scolds him for something or other and doesn't thank the monk and just walks off.
The two monks continue on their way for a couple of hours during which the younger monk becomes increasingly agitated until he can't contain himself any longer. He bursts out in admonition of the older monk for carrying the woman and at the woman for being so rude.
The older monk replies, "I set that woman down hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?"
Daily Challenge: Let something go.
Whether it's an emotional burden, a grudge, an unrealistic expecation, blame, guilt, or any of these attached to a physical object, perhaps it's time to let it go.
What can you put down simply because you're tired of carrying it?
Because the present is the only time we can experience anything, we are continually experiencing new chances to change, improve, try again, to move forward, and to let go.
Daily Mindset Mantra: In order to get what I haven't had, I need to do what I haven't done.
Einstein is widely credited as having said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
(The citation is a bit more complicated but not necessary to delve into here.)
As creatures of habit and routine, we will find ourselves in patterns that we replay throughout our lives. In order to create happier and healthier patterns it takes concerted effort in the beginning to reroute our brains from the familiar neural pathways and forge new stronger connections.
With practice, new patterns become habit.
One of the many delicious tidbits in Ryan Holiday's book The Obstacle Is The Way is,
"I might not have wanted it to happen, but I decide how it will affect me."
Another way to think of this is the shift from fault to responsibility.
It's very easy to fall into the trap of fault: what happened and who is to blame.
At some point, if we want to reclaim power over our lives and our experiences we need to take responsibility. While what has happened to you may not be your fault, your experience (particularly as you re-experience it in the present) is and only is your responsibility.
Bonus task: Forgive yourself for something.
Similar to the idea of hitting your foot with a hammer to help you ignore a toothake, punishing yourself for mistakes will not make you better able to avoid those mistakes in the future.
The beatings will continue until morale improves.
OR... You can let something go.
This work, for me, is ongoing. While it's tempting to assume that at some point we will "arrive" and be done, I've found, like education, the opposite is true. The more we know, the more we know that we don't know.
Today, right on schedule, was an exercise in letting go.
My littlest one had just climbed in bed with me for an early morning snuggle when, shortly before 6am my biggest one shouted "Mama! Come quickly! Something's wrong!!"
The chickens were cacophanous and I was out the door with my coat thrown over my bathrobe within seconds. I then chased off a rather rotund raccoon. Luckily all the chooks, though quite upset, were unharmed.
I did not expect today's first plot twist to happen before 6am.
After a morning of classes (during one of which I started an emergy load of laundry so stains wouldn't set) I let go of my afternoon plans and used them to shore up the chicken coop.
I had an unexpected conversation with a police officer who had been assigned to check our property as he'd been notified it was unnocupied. (The misunderstanding has been cleared, we definitely occupy it.) I then had a lovely conversation with an neighbor checking in to make sure everything was alright. (We are RICH in neighbors, I tell you!)
I feel as though being a parent is high level training in letting go. Particularly parenting during a pandemic, during a deployment, while homeschooling, or... say... all three.
Breathing in AND out is key.
Just as we sometimes need to dig deeper to find that extra oomph to continue, letting go can provide relief in a way that allows us to continue with an easier load.
I also almost always find that, by letting go of my own expectations (that can only be based upon the past), I can be wonderfully surprised by how things work out.
How about you? What are you going to let go of today?
Make sure to check back here tomorrow for the next challenge, the next tips, and the next dose of the Myrrhmade Love Where You Are Challenge.