Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Letting go -- again

That old lesson of letting something/one go seems to constantly be in front of me, but a blogging friend posted a poem the other day that really helped me understand the concept in a new way, easier to wrap my head around.

It said:

To "let go" does not mean to stop caring.
It means I can't do it for someone else.

To "let go" is not to cut myself off.
It's the realization that I can't control another.

To "let go" is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another.
It's to make the most of myself.

To "let go" is not to care for, but to care about.

To "let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To "let go" is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To "let go" is not to be in the middle, arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To "let go" is not to deny, but to accept.

To "let go" is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.

To "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

To "let go" is to fear less and to love more. 


It's not new, it' s just new to me. The quote is all over Google.

Perhaps it feels relevant because we are on the cusp of change again: our youngest princess has moved to the Seattle area with her family to start a new, hopefully better life, although it's been a rocky start since her husband's (felony child-abusing) ex immediately filed a declaration that resulted in her receiving the three older children temporarily, and creating great turmoil. A court session tomorrow should result in V and D getting the kids back, and visitation mediation happening via phone. Nonetheless it has been difficult all around, especially for the kids, who have lived full-time with V & D for more than four years now. We've been on board to listen and soothe and comfort, and help as we are able.

Perhaps it feels relevant because I have worked hard to 'let go' of Princess #1 and my tendency to want to micromanage her life and choices, and for the most part am succeeding. Doesn't mean I'm sleeping all that well at night, when the ice weasels come out to play, but I'm not in her face all the time anymore -- healthier at least for me; it has got to be less frustrating for her. Her choices and decisions are hers to make, not mine, and the consequences of those choices also are hers, and I am not going to make them mine. The poem above helps me feel less like I'm abandoning her or that I don't care, because I do, very much. But I am not the responsible party here.

That said, I spent a good bit of July and August on the car search and ended up reasonably happy (although my tendency to second-guess myself after the deed was done appeared at least briefly). That's done. I've let it go. (really)

And we're looking at some changes in our lives too, although until it is actually fact I am not saying exactly what it is in this forum. These are good things, though. 

Another thing I'm in the process of doing is letting go of all the people I used to be: a very busy career woman, an active church and choir and committee participant, an involved mom with a school-age child, a do-it-yourselfer who painted, papered, stripped wood floors, made most of my clothes as well as R's dresses and tops. I'm not there anymore; I'll never be there again, nor do I want to go back. 

I confess to having some ideas of making some simple clothing again, since I find it hard to find styles I enjoy in colors that are pleasing, and especially for a reasonable price. I will probably end up volunteering in some capacity eventually, although nothing is singing loudly to me right now. I want to nurture my creative side again: I've been so caught up in managing R's affairs and illness and the business details of that for so long, and there is always something around here to clean out or tidy up or cook or fold, and so I've procrastinated finding my creative self for a long, long time. I want to let the need-to-ought-to-do stuff slide more and spend more time reading a novel or even beginning to write one, finishing the charm necklace I started two years ago and do more repurposing of my old jewelry., I want to put my ideas for landscaping our yard into action and start getting the bones in place.
I do not want to spend more time worrying about other people's lives and how they could fix them if they just listened to me. I want to let that go. All of that.

And I'm also beginning to accept where I am on the great wheel of life. I have fewer years ahead of me than are behind me. My butt-time career is really over, and I won't be climbing any more corporate ladders, not that I ever really did, with so much of my working life spent in non-profit and public sector areas. While I'm pretty tech-savvy and I read a lot about pop culture, I'm not in the main target audience for anything except Medicare supplemental insurance and walk-in bathtubs. I don't offer opinions anymore to anyone who will listen, and sometimes I'm sorry I opened my mouth when I do, partly because I'm realizing that disagreeing with a long- and strongly-held opinion is pretty useless and usually merely frustrating.

Life is short, too short to spend one more moment doing things and saying things that don't much matter to who I am. I'm letting go of the desire to please people, sometimes just by not saying what is in my head and at the back of my throat, but most definitely by not putting myself in a vulnerable situation in the first place -- i.e., doing something somewhere with people that I don't really care much about. I'm letting go of other people's expectations of what I will do or how I should act, and am resolved to be just who I am.

Yes, it IS all about me from now on!
(Well, that'd be me and my honey. But he loves who I really am, warts and all, and encourages me to be more me. It doesn't get better than that.)

That's my new plan for the rest of 2011 and forward into 2012. Be who I am now, let go of my need to control and please, seize the day for the good that we find in each one, and let regret go.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

"We have met the enemy..." -- the Congressional debacle

Following the devastating and horrific events of September 11, 2001, our country came together to mourn, to regroup, to help pick up the pieces and clean up the unbelievable, and to begin to move forward as one country unified by a tragedy that we could never have imagined would happen on our own ground.

Ten years ago.

And look where our country is now. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

We have a Congress who cannot agree on anything and whose failure to keep the good of the country uppermost in its decisions has resulted in the first downgrade of American credit EVER, a 10 percent drop in yesterday's stock market (although a slight improvement today), and an unprecedented unhappiness with our elected Congress.

There are predictions that the already shaky economy will dip back into recession. At best it means further tightening of our collective belts -- and for many, there may not be many notches left, given what we've already been through. The S&P downgrade is significant. It is actually scary as hell, regardless of what generation you are in.

And everybody involved is blaming the other guy.

Forbes magazine columnist  Bill Singer has captured some of the outrage that most Americans feel about the latest Washington shenanigans in this post. Among other things, he says, "...Moreover, our economy remains on life support and Congress is on vacation. Seriously? On vacation? You folks don’t think that you have a ton of work to tackle? You think that you just accomplished something with the deficit reduction vote?...
What you didn’t do is forge a plan to put millions of unemployed back to work. You didn’t propose steps to unfreeze the frozen credit pipeline. You didn’t do jack to restore the confidence of antsy consumers and unsure entrepreneurs..."

Nobody gets off free in this, although in my opinion it's the Tea Partiers who resisted any compromise talk and refused to listen to leaders of even their own party who bear the bulk of the responsibility. Nonetheless, neither party gets points for this debacle.

So what can we, out here in the remote outposts, do? HuffPost's Arianna Huffington says, "...Washington has tuned out the country, and the sentiment is being reciprocated. The question becomes: what now? Well, one place to start is with ourselves. Our politicians have chosen to narrow their imaginations, but they can't narrow ours. Even if we can't control how Washington responds to our problems, we still have control over how we respond to them..."
In other words, Congressional elections are in 2012. If you don't like what we've got in Washington, work to change it. Write letters. Write blog posts. Make phone calls. Tell them how you feel, tell them your stories. Be visible. Be active. Show up. Stand up. DO. NOT. SETTLE. for what we have now. 
The whole mess reminds me quite a bit of the old Kingston Trio song, "The Merry Little Minuet," by songwriter Sheldon Harnick. Although it was written in the late 1950s, there is too much still true today, this minute. And that's just a sad commentary on where we are now, ten years after 9/11.

"They’re rioting in Africa, they’re starving in Spain,
There’s hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain
This whole world is festering with unhappy souls
The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch
And I don’t like anybody very much
But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud
For Man’s been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud
And we can be certain that some lovely day
Someone will set the spark off…and we will all be blown away
They’re rioting in Africa, There’s strife in Iran
What Nature doesn’t do to us will be done by our Fellow Man"