The Release of Letting Go


Recent snowstorms in the Northwest had many of us hunkered down around heat sources, staying off the roads. My efforts to track down more about how this west coast winter storm connected to the climate change and the polar vortex did not get far. The roles of the jet stream and the warming of the artic rapidly got too complex for me.

Letting Go

As the freezing continued, I switched to Netflix, binging on the Magic of Tidying Up. The enthusiasm of people deciding what to keep and what to let go of got contagious. I faced my bookcases and, keeping just those that “sparked joy”, ended up with four banker boxes of books to pass on. I liked getting quicker and more confident in choosing what fits me now.

At first the letting go part was difficult, and I went through my own ideas about practicality, love of beautiful bindings, and fond memories. Slowly, I began to learn from the ones I was letting go. It became clearer how they clumped into ideas I had about myself and my interests that were as evanescent as filmy thought bubbles. Often built on wishes (“I really should learn more about that.”), they had not captured me and now were more distracting than inspiring. One particular batch on the psychology of music now seemed dry now that I have the fun of regular music-making in my life. Following author Marie Kondo’s style, I let them go with a feeling of gratitude for their being with me since college. And release.

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Choosing What Fits You

Back to climate change. In a previous post, I highlighted my idea of five different layers of climate change. Next week I’m offering a local workshop to help people choose just one layer for their entry level of doing more about climate change. Now I’m curious if focusing on just one aspect, for example, Stuff, will result in being able to temporarily let go the other levels of Food, Energy, Habitat, and Life Support. 

It can be a relief to let yourself off the hook, to admit you’re not up to solving climate change’s whole big ball of wax. Given the complexities of all the physical sciences involved., you will not understand them ALL. And as you let four out of the five go for now, you can recognize that you’re not alone in this global problem with gratitude. And release. 

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