Letting Go


"When I let go of what I am, I become what I may be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need"
- attributed to Lao Tzu


 

At the beginning of the year I set lofty goals. One thousand words a day. One blog post a week. One story submission per month. Quite poetic in its symmetry of a quantity of one task over each time span.
 

At the time I believed I could accomplish the goals. It would be hard and require strict discipline and focus and time management and the lack of any other factors that might possibly cause the slightest distraction. These were unrealistic goals.
 


"Know thyself."
- ancient Greek aphorism



 

The problem with committing to something unrealistic is it can be difficult to disengage, particularly if others are involved. If I commit to help a friend move a piano I will surely live up to that promise, no matter how much my back may regret it later.
 

When my commitments are internal, that is when I am the only one affected by the doing or not doing, it is still hard for me to renege. The completion of that task is linked to my image of myself, my self esteem, my character. If I don't complete the task I am a failure.
 

The end result of this cycle is obvious. Frustration. Low self-esteem. Sadness. Depression. Procrastination. Repeat.
 

When the commitment involves others, a promised favor, a work assignment, a relationship, letting go can be very difficult and painful. If the promise is only to myself, no matter how public I have made it, the only person who will be affected is me.
 


"My mind is unaffected, and I shall utter no evil words."
- attributed to the Buddha


There is a method of meditation (which I am definitely summarizing/digesting/fucking up) of compassion. It progresses from oneself to a dear person to a difficult person to neutral person to the universe. It allows one to forgive mistakes and failures, to see them as part of human existence, not bad but part of the whole. We cannot progress without taking risks. We cannot take risks without the potential for mistakes, loss, and pain. And we cannot learn and grow unless we are able to let go.
 

I am letting go of my goals set at the beginning of the year, without guilt or self-condemnation. I will set new goals that are realistic and clear about the time and schedule with which they can be completed. I am accepting as a writer, and as a person, I must learn from the loss and continue to take risks and make commitments with a more realistic mindset and a better capacity to make mistakes, fail, let go, and move on again in the future.

Comments

It's easy to miss one

It's easy to miss one deadline and start feeling bad. Then missing two. And at three it becomes embarrassing to continue to try and that can lead to a trend of avoiding it.

It's good that you can look at it as you tried a writing style/program/advice and it didn't work for you. So since it's something that doesn't work, don't keep beating yourself up because it didn't work, try something else.

Thanks Steve. Good advice as

Thanks Steve. Good advice as always.