So, Step 3 is all about letting go: Letting go of expectations (those you’ve harbored for yourself and those of the future being what we expected or projected).
What’s a realistic expectation for a single human being in this time and place? What did you imagine the future to be like?
Victoria opened the floor by inviting the bell – a tradition taught by Thich Nhat Hanh. And shared the parable about releasing our cowsHow much and what can we let go of? Which cows are you holding onto? A thought? A habit? A fear?
We chatted about the importance of letting go the idea that we cannot control the behavior of others. Does your family fail to understand the implications of climate change? Of what Trump’s doing? Can we accept them where they are at?
How do we let go that our education failed us? That the way were raised may not have been great?
Can we let go of the need to stay positive?
Mechanisms of Letting Go:
  • Art – and the ability of art to lead to solutions. Making art heals.
  • Start Small with letting go
  • Understand that people have differing perspectives. Can you see where they are coming from? Why do they believe what they believe? What am I not seeing? Why do I believe what I believe? Is there overlap?
  • Use the mantra of “What is my part in this?”   How am I creating these problems? What am I responsible for?
  • Self Care – Our personal needs are not going away. We’ve got to take care of ourselves.
  • Get out in nature.
  • Unplug. Turn off electronics.
  • Take a break from your everyday routine.
  • Meditate and be still.
Can we let go of our own perspective? Is this what’s needed for humanity in this time and place? Can we remove our own filters and the way we see the world?
OH – AND – Letting go doesn’t have to mean giving up. It just means changing perspective and owning our limited power as a single human being.
We chatted about Joanna Macy‘s great and wonderful work – and her book Active Hope: How to Face this Mess We’re in Without Going CrazyActive Hope is different than passive hope because we envision what the future looks like – we accept what may happen but work toward a better, more ideal future. Macy has a variety of suggestions how to get there. She’s brilliant. Highly recommend her! Andddddd… Aimee recently purchased an extra copy of Active Hope. If you’d like it, I’ll give the book to the first person who asks.
We heard a wonderful story about a vacation on an island far, far away. A phone, a lifeline to this busy life, was washed away in the ocean. And at first, she mourned the loss of everything on that phone and the connection (and the pollution now sitting in the ocean). But then she was able to be in the moment – where she was. She was off grid – in nature – meditating – being instead of doing.
We questioned Trump’s decisions – and realized he’s mentally ill and suffers from narcissism. He’s creating a scary world that we’re going to have to live in – but what happens when structure falls away? When the known world is challenged and changed?
Many if us asked for change – and we’ll get it. It may not be ideal but change will happen. And change drops us into mystery, which at first seems scary but can be an opportunity for growth. We must accept impermanence. And let go of trying to control things and keep this world stagnant. Mystery is humbling – it forces us into the present moment. If we dig deep enough into the mystery – we find compassion and love.
  Can we find a way to be excited about a new future? A lot about the past sucked – will some of those structures be changed?
This flowed into a conversation about living in right relationship with the natural world. We talked about the minimalist movement – and the 20/80 rule.
In sum, we must let go of our ideas of what’s “good’ and “bad.” It’s too simple.
What do we need?
Can we let stuff go? Can we let expectations go?
Andddddd – finally, I leave you with this article: “We were made for these times.”