There's a book called, The Art of Letting Go, isn't there?
Okay, I just googled it. There are a ton of books by that name. Including one by Richard Rohr, which I've read and highly recommend. But that's neither here nor there.
I am convinced that letting go is very much like art itself. There are those who naturally excel at it. My boyfriend is one of these. Like any artist, he still needs to practice daily, but letting go simply comes much easier for him.
And then there are those who will tell you that they have no artistic ability. And since I believe that everyone is an artist, I will just tell them to go practice. Now, when it comes to letting go, I am one of these unfortunate ones without natural talent. I am much in need of practice.
I hold on like a hungry snapping turtle.
I know how to scrimp and save and never to throw anything away. I know how to sew patch after patch on my jeans, and I still wear clothes that I wore when I was in middle school.
I have trouble letting go of big things and little things, which is why the past week has seen me in tears more times than I can count.
The coming week will likely do the same, although thankfully my dreadful PMS should pass in a few days and I'll be more able to handle my life.
My life, right now, is about letting go.
I told you recently that I had decided not to finish school and was picking up and heading to Bellingham. Well, plans have changed again. My boyfriend and I have a final destination, but as it's not for another four months, we're doing some traveling in the interim.
Me. Queen of home and hearth, she who never leaves the house, stereotypical Cancer Crab, I need my own kitchen, me... is going to be bouncing from home to home over the next four months. I'll be in California, Massachusetts, New York, maybe even Arizona.
And this means letting go.
Letting go of half of everything I own. Then going through the "keep" pile and letting go of more.
Letting go of a stable home, stable job, and having my own kitchen.
Letting go of how things are supposed to be and just trying to accept them as they are.
Letting go of baking until my health improves. This has nothing to do with traveling and everything to do with the personal decision that the best thing for my health would be to take a complete break from baking. However, this also means letting go of my conception of myself as a gluten-free baker. It means letting go when I begin to fantasize about different flour combinations. Letting go of what I know readers want, letting go of the desire to bake for friends. Just...letting...go...
Letting go of my perceptions of who I am and the kind of life I am expected to live.
Letting go of trying to live for anyone other than myself.
Letting go of my time table. Um...remember when I thought I would be married and having kids at 24? Well, I do. I let go of that one a long time ago, but right now I also have to let go of that awful "I'm thirty and not married and don't have kids, what is wrong with me!?" fear.
My life, right now, is about letting go.
And I am no Van Gogh. No Degas or Monet. I am someone taking her first painting class, timidly dipping my brush first in the green, then the purple, then the blue, as I attempt to create something resembling a garden.
I am a beginner in this art they call Letting Go.
I look around my room, and see everything I am still holding onto. I fall asleep at night, my mind creeping back to everything I've tried to let go of.
I am practicing. Today, I decided to let go of the skirt I love with such passion, but haven't worn in years because it has a stain, and if you look closely enough, there's a tear in the lace. I decided to let go of the boots that are the perfect shade of blue... And as I'm typing this, I suddenly thought, "Why am I letting go of those boots? I'd better put them back in the keep pile." But I won't. Because it's all practice. The boots don't matter. Even if they are really cute.
It's simply the fear of letting go. I don't really know what happens next.
But every once in a while, I get a glimpse of the glory of letting go. I get a feeling, so tiny like the brush of butterfly kisses on your cheek, and I know that beyond the fear is something more. And so I continue to practice the art of letting go.
It begins with stuff. But that's not where it stops.