reality/illusions…truths/facts/fiction and mysteries of life.

Let it go - Let it beDrawings, photos, artwork and imagery, words, politics, fake news, real news, family matters, eclipses – it’s all part of an ever changing bombastic world which feels pretty out of balance these days. This unevenness-this unbalance-has brought me back continually to the thoughts of a few articles I have recently read and enjoyed. The basic premise is-“Let it be” and/or “Just be”….

And so that’s the topic of this post.

“We need to learn how to let go because trying to hold onto anything is like trying to nail jello to a wall: Nothing sticks, nothing stays. When David Chadwick asked Suzuki Roshi** to express the heart of Buddhism in just a few words, Roshi replied “Everything changes.” … We can’t hold onto a world that’s constantly changing and transforming—we can’t make the world stop being the world….”

To hold on is to cling, to ask questions (which is just often just another mode of clinging- masked as searching) as we look for the answers is NOT an act of “let it be”… the goal is to be INDEPENDENT, not DEPENDENT in our worlds, our loves, and our lives. If we are independent, we can let ourselves, and the ones we love “just be” whom ever they are. A young child craves and clings to their parent, but as they grow they gain independence and they return with love and joy (hopefully.) “Affection, love, care, and concern are the very essence of enlightened life.”  Those words can be for pretty much anything we encounter in our modern world. We cling all too often to what we suppose it all to be, what we hope it all to be…maybe it’s our jobs, our goals, our families, our expectations, our friendships, our relationships, our possessions-you get the idea….If we “let it go” and step back a bit, accept it as comes our way, breath in and breath deep, we allow ourselves and others to “just be”-to accept it/them as it/they are. After all, in reality, much of the time we can’t really do much to change it. If we can learn to flow with it, even if it has pain and suffering, and try not to fight it, then maybe, if we are lucky, we can learn to “just be” with it. To let it unfold. To let life takes its natural course. By the way, this doesn’t mean we give up, or that we lose all control, or that we stop making our best efforts to improve ourselves and our circumstances-it just means we understand that sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Failure is only not to keep trying.

“To let something be requires much more strength than just letting go, because we’re learning to sit with the ambiguity that life often creates from those moments that we could never have conceived of…..

It’s a choice to let a situation remain unresolved, let the loose ends dangle, and allow the options to remain. Letting it be means giving up deadlines, timelines, and ultimatums—because life doesn’t figure itself out when we want it to, but rather when it’s meant to.

And until that moment happens, we can laugh, smile, grow, and experience life, all the while knowing that we didn’t let go of something that wasn’t meant to be let go of. We simply made the choice to sit with the situation as is, without trying to control the outcome.

Time may not heal all wounds, but it does have a way of clearing even the murkiest of waters—if we just let it be.”

Ideas and quotes draw from the articles of: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/07/letting-go-what-it-means-how-to-do-it/

and

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/07/fck-letting-it-go-instead-just-let-it-be/

** David Chadwick (born 1945) grew up in Texas and moved to California to study Zen as a student of Shunryu Suzuki in 1966. Chadwick was ordained as a Buddhist priest in 1971, shortly before Suzuki’s death. He assisted in the operation of the San Francisco Zen Center for a number of years. Chadwick has two children and has married and remarried. He has written several books and continues to “dabble in Buddhism and related matters”.


 

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Shredding…not the snow kind but the detox type.

Izabella Spring Cleaning
Izabella Spring Cleaning

The temps have warmed, the sun is shining, birds are outside my open window, and it feels like the N.E. is trying to burst forward. Spring always brings up the topic of renewal, change and spring cleaning. In our more modern times spring cleaning has also become synonymous with ‘detoxing’ (i.e cleaning/decluttering) not only our home but also our body and life. As we all know, not easy.

I am in the process of sorting papers-somehow I still have “papers” from 1998-it’s time! Two piles, one recycles which is easy to dump it into the very large bin. The second is the shredding pile. Clearing-shredding-decluttering pieces of the past. Memories are often attached to these strange pieces of paper. I know that shredding the paper does not shred the memory, sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes pieces of the past are indeed better off shredded. I mean really, no-one has a perfect past! At times, it’s a strangely satisfying process to add these papers to my shinny new big black plastic box called a shredder. Other times, it’s not. I think I will call my shredder Egor-a name with Norse origins meaning “archer-soldier.” Egor seems to eat up everything-more like a warrior, but isn’t a warrior just a super strong soldier? His archer instead of a bow is blades, and instead of a dead something at the arrows end, Egor produces a new ‘product’ at the end. The odd thing to me is that the new ‘product’ is a whole new beast, it’s tiny bits that are almost soft, and surely could fly and flutter if let loose. So, that’s how I am trying to look at shredding 18 years of papers…my warrior Egor and I are on a mission to march on and try to fly.

The first step in simplifying our lives is to rid ourselves of unnecessary complexity. In order to do that, we need to ask ourselves, “Is this activity or possession bringing me joy and peace? Is it reducing the complexity in my life?” If the answer is no, then we need to either find a way to minimize its effect or discard it.-http://powertochange.com/life/springclean/

Does clutter become The Fabric of My Life?

Clutter, “Stuff”-The fabric of my life? I hope NOT!  I refuse to believe that my stuff makes up WHO I am. It is true that, partly, it makes up what my home looks like, how crowded my mind, and possibly my life, may be at any given moment. All this “stuff” didn’t just appear one day in my house, my mind, or my life, it’s an insidious, slow moving, existential like growth. Maybe it is like fabric? I suppose it did start as a small swatch and has evolved into yards and yards over the years. If I continue with this analogy… fabrics can get messy and be washed, they can get cut up and reused or re-purposed, they can be loved as well as tossed out or given away. Sometimes they fade, and sometimes we have to give them up for they are no longer possible in the space. My “fabric” (like yours probably) has pretty much been through most/all of those scenarios.

This topic has come up for I am reorganizing my office/studio. It is the result of winter damage, which meant a wall and ceiling needed to be repaired, which meant EVERYTHING had to come out of a VERY crowded, over stuffed, “creative chaos” room. Not a bad thing in the long run, however in the short run it has been exhausting. Taxing my left side brain into hyper organization and lots of practice in the art of “letting go”-into the recycle, trash, or donate pile. This brings up another favorite topic, the one of Intention. I am practicing that skill as well. I read an article that stated- “Most traditional approaches do not consider the energetic impact of clearing, no matter how miniscule the task or effort. The fact is, clearing anything consciously and gently … creates an energetic opening—a spaciousness—that works on us slowly and surely to soften our grip of attachments.” (article)  I have been very intently/consciously clearing things out for approximately three years now. It started with the closets full of clothes, and slowly I have been working on the “stuff.”  The office/studio has accelerated the cause along. In theory (and mind) I don’t want the all this stuff, I want my space (in all ways) to be clearer. Much easily said than done for me. However, it is better than before and I am slowly learning the process and power of Intention in so many aspects of life. Intention of letting go. Intention of holding on when appropriate. Intention of a never ending process of moving on to whatever is next with an open mind and heart. Intention of clearing (in mind as well as physical space.)  An intention of realizing it is not about throwing away something but is often about letting go of a far bigger commodity than the goods in my hand. I am far from done. I will probably always be working on this “intention and clearing process.” It will probably never be easy, or fun. I do know it does feel good to let some of these things go. There is some truth to the saying of- Clear the clutter, Clear the mind. 

For all those that are spring cleaning, or life clearing- May the journey be partly to embrace the change, and enjoy the clean air in that new cleared space. (At least, that’s what I am trying to do.)

It always comes back to KINDNESS. This time it’s kindness to yourself, give yourself a break, a pat on the back, and awareness that the journey is what often matters and that simple is often an easier way to go. As Robert Browning so famously said, and the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe beautifully adapted-Less is More.

Birdelini takes on the motto of Less is More in her Simple Spring Hat 2015 collection.
Birdelini takes on the motto of Less is More in her Simple Spring Hat 2015 collection.

Leaving the heavy load behind. Be Here Now.

Each season the earth, the plants, the sky and all its parts have to LET GO of some parts, and make room for change and whatever is next. We are part of the “parts!” The season of spring is full of expression, full of things popping and regaining a foothold in the earth. It can be hard for us to slow down, change gears, and realize that maybe that flower appears to “popping” out of the ground but to remember that same flower has spent the winter regaining its nutrients and replenishing as needed. Remember when we “chatted” about doing your work in the winter? We often feel as though we have a million things to do today, so much to do to “be ready” for whatever is next. Slow down. Breath. Maybe even re-evaluate. Next will happen no matter how fast you may be running to catch up with it, or away from it!  The days will spin by whether you are watching or participating. Summer will be here before you know it-and that season always seems to zoom by (especially up here in NE.)  How about we all try to Be Here Now, be here TODAY, and enjoy what we have right now. Not what we may have tomorrow. Not what we lost yesterday. Sounds as though it should be a cake walk…we all know it’s more easily said then done. Let go of what is dragging you down, lighten up the load, and be strong and present for the day you are in now.  I just looked up the famous words of “Be Here Now”(Wikipedia) (Be Here Now (or Remember, Be Here Now) is a seminal 1971 book on spirituality, yoga, and meditation by the Western-born yogi and spiritual teacher Ram Dass.)  …I didn’t remember, maybe never even knew (?)  the book was divided into four sections. The first one is the journey (we all know it’s all about the journey) – the second one is the “Core Book” – the third one as called “Cookbook for a Sacred Life: A manual for Conscious Being” -and the fourth one is “Painted Cakes Do Not Satisfy Hunger.”  I think I will be ordering, and reading- a little refresher course would be a good thing for me. How about you?

This is Boubolicious (Boubo for short) cutting the strings of some of the things that are holding him down.  His role in the magical land of Botaniumas is a wise soul and knowing creature.  He is Ambassador of Wisdom. (Just because he is wise doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to work at it at times — that is WHY he is the Ambassador of Wisdom!) 

Cut the strings
Cut the strings that hold you down. Leaving the old parts you don’t need anymore behind.