The piped-in music at one of my jobs has for the past two weeks delivered a consistent stream of Christmas music, mostly secular. Along with the large fake Christmas tree under which boxes have been wrapped as gifts, the setting is designed to stimulate activity in general, buying in particular. It works – if it did not, it would not be repeated each year. Going home is not necessarily a respite, though. There, I am faced with a Santa-length list of things to do. It is a common situation, particularly for women, at this time of year. Recently, though, another, non-holiday song has been edging itself into my mind – Let it Be, by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The message seems to urge, “Let it go, let it be.” That is certainly not what I have been doing.
What does letting things go or letting them be look like? That may seem a silly question to those who instinctively understand the concept, but we type As do not necessarily understand. Letting go or letting be seems a bit ominous, a harbinger of everything unraveling.
Letting go or letting be does not necessarily mean “dropping out” and ceasing all activity. It does, however, mean what can be equally unsettling – the letting go of control, of adopting an attitude of nonattachment to the outcome of the project towards which one may be striving. I may be preparing for holidays, but I cannot be attached to the result of everything being accomplished and being accomplished well. I do not have to stop preparing; I do have to stop stressing about the outcome.
It follows that letting go and letting be also means relaxing. That is not necessarily relaxing by parking oneself under a tree or in front of the TV and doing nothing. It is being able to move at a pace, not buying into the stress of rushing. Getting enough sleep would also be a good idea. Taking a break while the list is still long is also a good idea. I think this is possible only when attachment to outcome is released.
Letting go and letting be also means not resisting. When things go as not desired, it is better to simply find another way than to oppose the hindrance. It means releasing unhappiness from the past, and fear of the future. Letting go and letting be is an activity of the present – it cannot be done yesterday or tomorrow.
It occurs to me that a fair amount of flexibility is needed to let go and let be. Faith in one’s own intrinsic value and trust in the sometimes-counterintuitive paths of the Universe, the One, seems also to be a prerequisite.
This is what comes when I muse on the subject. It is a skill that needs learning. I need to work on it, I confess.
I wish success to all those who are also working on letting go. In the meantime, the lyrics to Let it Be keep going through my mind.