Top 10 Things to Remember about Letting Go


For whatever reason, I don’t do well with change.  I don’t do well with uncertainty.  I don’t do well with loosening my white-knuckled grip, that over-my-dead-body,  I’ll-be-damned grip on absolute control of almost everything.  I like to know what’s coming and where I’m going because of it. 

Bottom line:  I’m kind of a control freak in this regard–not good–and something I’m far from proud of.

But when your partner works in disaster response, life is almost always about change, adjusting to change, to sudden shifts, loosening that grip.  That’s the thing about disasters.  They’re so, well, disastrous.  And you never know when they’re coming.  You never know where.  You never know when.

So in honor of my own issues with uncertainty and in anticipation of Mindy’s post tomorrow about accepting change, today I bring you the “Top 10 Things to Remember about Letting Go.”

  1. That letting go is about control and a willingness to give it up.
  2. That letting go is about strength.
  3. That letting go is about tomorrow.
  4. That tomorrow is coming soon.  (Remember Little  Orphan Annie’s anthem to tomorrow:  “Tomorrow, tomorrow.  I love you tomorrow.  You’re only a day away.”)
  5. That letting go means waiting willingly for what’s to come.
  6. That it sometimes means “good-bye.”
  7. That it often means “adjust.”
  8. That it forces us toward faith.
  9. That it requires us to trust.
  10. That it nudges us toward tomorrow, that it requires us to trust that God, or the universe, or the kind hand of a friend will take us where weeed to go.

The bottom line is this:  I can no longer be a tip-toed toddler teetering toward tomorrow.  Neither, at the other extreme, can I be a control freak, forecasting my own future,  frothing to make it less frontier and more toddler-friendly.

I need to remember what Joseph Campbell said: “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting.”

So, yes, letting go is often about waiting.

And it’s also always about accepting–

Letting go, letting love.

Miscellaneous Monday (and more Mindy to come)


It’s Monday.  And we’re launching another week’s worth of less-than-brilliant (but often, above-average) blogging here at Reinventing the Event Horizon. 

And, in honor of the week’s beginning, I bring you an “inspiring” (at least I’m trying) laundry list of updates:

1.  First, thanks to all of you for your kind and supportive comments in response to last week’s news that I wanted to begin moving my blog in the direction of memoir, not that I would discontinue writing about the event horizon that is Haiti, but that I would also address event horizons from my personal past:  namely my father’s organized crime connections and the black hole that is my battle with bipolar disorder.  (To read these posts click here and here.)

I believe the best writing is inevitably the most honest writing and my not addressing these issues was becoming a form of compositional dishonesty—a way of avoiding the shame associated with my father and the sigma connected to my illness.

One way to lessen stigma is to stop hiding, or, in my case, to boldly address my demons in the blogosphere’s bright light, to share my struggle, to tell my story, both the pain of the past and the hope that is recovery.

2.  Secondly, I’d like to announce an upcoming series of posts from my friend and fellow writer Mindy Shannon Phelps.  (I introduced Mindy last week.  To read her first post click here.)   As she finds time, Mindy will write pieces that address our sometimes serious, sometimes silly misadventures in being human. 

3.  Finally, an update on my dog Lucy’s adventures in Vietnam—her Maltese march, North to South, South to North. 

In last Monday’s post (click here to read) I forgot to include a few of the funniest photos—namely Lucy in Halong Bay . 

(Some of you may have heard of a recent accident in Halong Bay.  A tour boat sank.  12 were killed.  To read about this February 17th incident click here.)

In case you’re not up on the geography of Vietnam, Halong Bay is an UNESCO World Heritage site and hugely popular tourist attraction in northern Vietnam.  According to legend, the Vietnamese were being invaded by the Chinese when the gods sent a family of dragons to protect the bay.  The dragons were said to spit jewels into the water, to build a wall against the invaders, what is, in fact, a series of nearly 2,000 limestone islands that decorate the bay:

   http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ha_Long_Bay_with_boats.jpg

In fact, a highlight of Lucy’s adventure in Vietnam included a swim with me in Halong Bay:

And last but not least, a photo of Lucy dressing for her outing on the bay:

The bottom line is this, a lesson I learned from Lucy:

Sometimes the most over-whelming of crises can be ovecome with the most obvoius of answers.

Indeed, sometimes the biggest of problems can be conquered by the smallest of canines in the most amazing of hats.

Hats off to our struggles. 

Hats off to hope.

In the Shelter of One Another (Part 1)


“It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.”
— Irish proverb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If we don’t shelter one another, we are lost.  If we don’t shelter one another none of us has a home; none of us has heart, has peace, has rest.  If we don’t shelter one another, we are alone, alienated, adrift.

Believing this to be true, struggling to understand community and what it meant to care for one another, I wrote the prose poem below some years ago, wrote it in the voice of a woman who had the experience described:

 My apartment has a view of the city skyline

 A street lady keeps coming to visit me.  She’s looking for her son, leaves me notes.  I called the police.  They said to call if she comes again.  She hasn’t come again, but when she does come, she tries to get in.  

Of course, she can’t get in. 

She only rattles the door.

Would you have responded differently to the woman’s visitor?  What would you have said or done?

Tomorrow, in the spirit of these questions, I’ll bring you a guest post, written by my dear friend and fellow writer, Mindy Shannon Phelps.  Mindy’s post will further address this issue of “sheltering”–offering another voice of witness.

Hope you will come back tomorrow and listen to Mindy.  Let’s help her feel welcome!