Learning to let go is one of those skills that no really thinks of “mastering” until it occurs to them that they need to.
Depending on the circumstances, people can let go of things very easily. When whatever we are dwelling on feels inconsequential or already impermanent, we probably don’t care that much when we lose it or let it slip.
Other stuff, though- the important stuff, the intangible things- can keep us hung up for years as we learn that they were just as impermanent as everything else. Maybe we know that “this too shall pass,” but were hoping to get lucky in a macabre way- thinking we’d never get to see their end and thus it can feel eternal.
All things end, though. It’s the price we pay for getting to experience them at all, and it gives them their worth and rarity. Learning to let go with compassionand grace is vital to emotional wellbeing– and that can include letting go of goals and dreams as well. Giving up on an old dream can set you free to find a new one.
Has it ever occurred to you that there is a opposite version of triggers?
By “triggers” I mean the actual psychological definition of the word, by the way. It’s not a synonym for “offended” or “thing that makes me angry.” Triggers in psychology are the things that cause negative reactions and flashbacks in people who have experienced trauma– not unlike why veterans with PTSD might get uneasy at the sound of gunshots or fireworks. If you insist on using the word with a sneer at people whose politics you don’t like or as a joke, you might want to consider the life-altering magic of growing up and having empathy.
Little things that pop up unexpectedly that cause feelings of safety, warmth, and joy on the other hand are apparently called “glimmers”- and I’ve been doing my best to recognize them in my life. The last few days have been full of them, and I wanna tell you about it.
Early in my culinary career, I wrote a lot about learning to stay in “the eye of the storm.”
While the frenetic choreography of a working kitchen spun around them, I admired the chefs I saw on TV who seemed to be standing at the center. Iron-spined, stoic, even serenely directing the motion about them to lead their teams through a successful service. I admired the ones who didn’t scream or berate their staff (even then, I knew it was impossible to manage others if you couldn’t manage yourself.)
At the time, I described it as a lot of things. I called it wei wu wei, dignity, patience, and simply confidence in themselves and their team. Years later, I learned with was all those things, and it was something one could learn and train themselves in– equanimity.
I like to think I’m not a slouch in the bakeshop. That is, after nearly a decade, I should certainly hope I’m not. Between confidence in my skills, good time management, preparation, and prioritization I’m considerably faster at various tasks than the people I train.
All those things come with experience, but the one thing that I’ve had to learn and am still learning is that I can go faster if I slow down first.
Want to really piss off a millennial? Ask them “What did you think your adult life would be like growing up?” Want to have a full-on existential crisis? Truly and sincerely listen to the answers– and wonder if you haven’t forgotten being that pissed off once too.
Sorry about that. Let me make it up to you by sharing a comforting truth- success is relative, and how it looks is up to you.