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lessons on letting go

We sat at the beach, chatting and watching a little boy play with his ball. The next time we looked over, he was crying. His ball had drifted out too far for anyone to reach it. I told my friend, “I can’t look. It just makes me sad.”

He responded by saying, “Just think, some little kid on the other side of the water is going to see a ball coming in and will be very happy.”

This made me feel so peaceful. I thought of all the love, money, possessions, flower seeds and other ephemera that have flowed into and out of my life. I thought of how life has forced me to let go of things and people that I thought were “mine” but how much more peaceful I have always with very little. Like fences and boxes, the concept of ownership mostly just confuses me.

I face the idea of ownership every day as I bike around a local lake. I notice people are often clueless about their surroundings. If I wasn’t paying attention, I would hit people standing idly in the “wheels” lane. I could get a horn and honk, I could stop and lecture, I could be angry or rude but instead I have been choosing to smile and just move around them. Sometimes it bothers me for a moment because it feels like an inconvenience. Sometimes my ego gets caught in thinking, “How dare they!” and then I realize how silly all of that is. Yes it’s nice when people are self-aware but, like many things, it’s something I can’t control. I can only control my own response and the truth is, it’s more fun to smile and go around them. I admit that sometimes I think, “Eat my dust!” as I go around them and speed off. It’s nicer to hold the world gently in my hand (and heart) and just be with the moment instead of trying to compare it to my version of an idealized reality.

Reality is so subjective. As I was typing this at my local coffee shop, a man came in and was talking about Ichiro, a baseball player that used to play for the Mariners. I asked if he was sad that he left. He said, “No! I’m a Yankees fan and Ichiro is thriving in New York!”

Energy flows. There is no need for clenching or clinging. At this time of fading light and entropy with the leaves twirling down gently from the trees and everything withering and turning to seed, I embrace letting go and flowing with life as it comes. I embrace the idea that all I own is my own experience of life so I try to make it as joyful and peaceful as I can. It’s a lot easier than pushing the river, that’s for sure.

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