When you are a parent, partner, and all-around Make It Happen person, it can feel like there is no room for “flow” or peace. When the buck stops with you, you never stop running, anticipating, planning, deciding, problem solving, observing, fixing, and repairing. That’s me. I’m the Make It Happen person in my life. In my home. In my domain.
Does anyone relate to this?
If there’s a problem, then you have to fix it.
If anything needs to be done, then you do it.
If anything needs solving, then you solve it.
This was generally clear to me when I was married. This is now crystal clear to me now that I am not. If I even see a potential problem, I can’t just let it be. I am compelled to fix it before it becomes a real problem. I define hypervigilance.
I never shut off. Burnout, anyone?
Consequently, I have little to no hobbies. I don’t read for pleasure. I’m studying, but I used to almost solely read nonfiction because I was, once again, attempting to solve some health or circumstantial riddle. Any free time I might have my children manage to sniff out and find creative ways to fill. I don’t know how they manage to do that.
So, when I came across Rev. Safire Rose’s poem, I had to read it more than once. Twice. Ten times.
She Let Go: A Poem
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.
– Reverend Safire Rose
Let go. Let go? Let it be? Let it all be? That just sounds anathema to me, and yet it also sounds appealing.
How do you feel when you read this?
What comes to mind for me is that hypervigilance is adaptive when you’re living in an intense environment. It works well. It helps you survive. Being a troubleshooting go-getter is a good quality. Knowing how to survive the most complex of circumstances is great. But, at some point, we either bring that adaptation down from DEFCON 2 to DEFCON 4 or even 5 so that it doesn’t become maladaptive, or we continue to live our lives as if we are consistently under threat–even when we are not. This destroys relationships, jobs, health, and hurts the people close to us.
So, what about that “letting go”? What would that look like? What about just stopping? Giving up the need to control everything? No consulting friends. No journaling. Just…doing it. Well, that sounds unappealing, but it feels freeing at the same time, doesn’t it?
At the moment, I’m not sure what it would look like, but I can tell you that I will be thinking on it. And if the idea of letting go feels too hard, then perhaps change the idea to something like this: “Loosen your grasp on things that you are trying to control.”
How does that sound?
Ahhh, how ‘comfy’ that sounds, to just Let Go… I too read only non-fiction; too guilty to read for pleasure only! (Although I DO find great pleasure in learning, so the pleasure’s there anyway.)
I feel that life’s too short not to learn as much about everything as I possibly can, in order that I can feel validated when I’m able to hold an intelligent conversation with ‘real’ adults!
Well anyway, at least I now feel as though life has actually begun. That happened around 3yrs ago – a good job, as I’m 61 + 3/4 now! Not long left for me maybe… Funny; I was 31 only three weeks ago! What happened there then? MJ, your blog has helped me so much along the way, as you know now… Here’s a public acknowledgement and a big ‘THANK YOU’!
And yes, it IS freeing, not needing to consult others etc., like swimming out into the middle of the pool when we’ve just learned to swim. Scary, but exhilarating… But knowing others have done it and survived? That gives confidence for a new beginning… 😍
Thank you for commenting, and thank you for your kind words. It’s very encouraging for me to read. And, I am very encouraged personally by your story.