Letting Go vs. Giving up: This water lives in Mombasa

This exchange between a mother and her son brings thoughts about my relationship with Cabral, my son. Shirley

andromeda“You get it. It’s a higher place, less crowded with idiots, acceptance of yourself, acceptance of others realizing finally that you don’t have to understand just accept. ” Susan

Above is one of my favorite paintings by Polish artist Tamara Lempicka. The painting is titled Andromeda. As part of a Greek myth, Andromeda was chained near the ocean to be devoured by a sea creature, but then saved by her future husband Perseus. In Lempicka’s Art Deco style Andromeda, she is also chained but her background is that of a modern city. One can only imagine what was flowing through Lempicka’s mind at the time of its creation.

The other night I was having a conversation with a friend. I told him that I had held a certain expectation of myself for many years. As these thoughts grew, they somehow dominated the very essence of my daily life and encompassed a way of maneuvering myself in the world. Finally, I came to the realization that I needed to change my way of thinking because these false expectations were indeed blocking other opportunities to surface. And so, I said to him, “I am letting go of it all…” He replied, “So, you have decided to give up?” “No, just decided to let it go.”

When we lock ourselves into expectation, we begin to live in an illusion, chained to a lie about who we think we should be- the ego indeed has taken control and we are simply blind to it. “Letting go” of the expectation/illusion creates an emotional freedom…a peace within…an empty space so that we may listen to inspiration. Our focus becomes what inspires us, not the compulsive thoughts of how we think we should live…simple, no?

When we decide to look at a continuing challenging situation in our lives and impose the words, “I give up”, we automatically look at the experience with the drama of defeat, the illusion of failure. We potentially create another drama for ourselves, which can carry us down a stream of bitterness, shame, blame, etc. We have only traded one emotional chain for another.

I am reminded of a scene in Sidney Pollock’s film, Out of Africa, when the rains arrived and flooded the damming of a nearby river for Karen Blixen’s coffee farm. She recognized the fruitless effort to control the damming and told the workers, “Let it go, let it go, this water lives in Mombasa anyway.”

So when we house and dam up negative thoughts or emotions, compulsive desires, fruitless goals, outworn expectations/ memories, etc. that don’t serve us, let them go…they don’t live there anyway.

Jeff Haskins