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Part of the Illustrated Sutra of Cause and Effect Handscroll (Emakimono) (E_NGA_KYO) (8th century)
" … LettingGo feels like giving up something."

LettingGo seems infinitely more difficult than acquiring, perhaps because the bulk of my training and experience has focused upon acquisition. I associate LettingGo with losing something rather than as an act of liberation. HeadingHomeward can seem, if I don't have my head screwed on straight enough, like dissension more than ascension, a falling into more than a rising up. I hail from The Never Can Say Goodbye Family, the one who, when stopping to visit, might linger longer than either party initially intended, stories lengthening into supper or bed time, seemingly unable to part, endlessly offering just one more story. Leaving subsequently seemed asymptotic more than specific, smearing along the leading edge, as if any leaving might somehow prove permanent, more terminal than temporary. My folks were kind of hoarders, holding on to keepsakes until they filled whole floors of their house. I was called to clean out the resulting mess after they'd spent their lifetimes failing to learn the gentle art of LettingGo. I learned everything and also nothing from them.

The New Agers insist that one must let go to let come, attempting to reframe the experience of losing into one of potential new acquisition, a making of space for different, perhaps even better.
The resulting space might initially disappoint as it often seems comparatively echo-y and distinctly hollow. Only later might the new move in and until then, too much shoulder room can make for lonely bedfellows. Newly empty shelves can elicit a deep sense of loss, even when I understand their contents just fill that adjacent pile of boxes, a minor shift of location rather than a terminal dislocation. I understand that those books will be back, albeit in a different context, freshly dusted to enhance a radically different existence. LettingGo elicits deep feelings of irrecoverable loss even when I understand rejuvenation awaits on the other end.

We're living in The Land Of LettingGo and both The Muse and I seem to be coping by holding on more tightly. We've both elevated long neglected small chores into top priorities. An annoying feature in The Muse's bathroom has become her new obsession. She dragged me through two home improvement stores seeking some sort of resolution, sorting through alternative improvements which, to my eye, seemed destined to only make things worse. I finally had to excuse myself when I realized that I might have been undermining her heartfelt intention. I ambled off to wait in the car, knowing that I might have just been delaying another inevitable. Her LettingGo, like mine sometimes, insists upon polishing the dearly departing before finally liberating it. We each hold our little obsessive rituals. Me, countersinking siding nails, she, polishing the stovetop into a pristine state, both gifts we rarely bestowed upon ourselves. The faceless future owners seem to deserve only the very best from us. We suddenly seem capable of leaving no less.

My clock's turned arrhythmic. It tells time without any longer keeping it. I woke up just after midnight ready and raring to go though I knew that I would be going nowhere at that hour. I crept downstairs before even the cats woke and sat in the front window just watching the entryway wall I'd painted two years ago, flickering candle on the side table for company. I recalled the tortured surfaces I'd smoothed and the painstaking painting process and the pride I'd felt at fixing time's corruption. It still looks pristine and I sensed that we were leaving this place much better for our transitory presence. We never fully embraced this place and now we're LettingGo. We never intended for it to become anything more than a sideshow stop, yet still, LettingGo feels like giving up something.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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