Let Go

There are things beyond my control. One is that of the four kids in my alternative school class, none were able to keep their heads off the desks and eyes open. All four passed out. This sort of thing can drive me crazy.

After all, I'm the teacher and supposed to get them learning, doing something. I tried, but they were just unwilling and one even began to get angry. None of us need that. I backed off. I let go.

It's the first day after break and none of them made it wholly back to school. So it goes. I had plans for today and was actually excited about them. That we didn't do them is disappointing and would have been infuriating if I hung onto the story I had in mind as to how class would proceed.

Instead, I let it go and I'm content.

For years I tried to let go of the frustration at this job. I did pretty well and got through years which could have been unbearable. For that relief I'm grateful and today, for one hour, it was better to let go than go into frustration.

What else can I let go so that I focus on what matters and where I can make a difference?

Accept & Explore

I ran a lot of hills last summer. At first I gutted them out just trying to get over. It wasn't fun and made hills more difficult than they needed to be. Luckily, I talk to myself while running and on as I started up one hill I said this:

Accept what the hill gives you. Give the hill what you've got.

I've been in therapy for more than a decade and am just starting to learn things. My therapist is wise and thoughtful, but I tend to reject most advice and counseling thinking, That's fine for other people... or Yeah, but... About four months after she suggests some ridiculous, wrong-headed idea I figure out that it is spot-on and of tremendous help.

Years ago, discussing a conflict in which I found myself, she suggested that I simply accept what was happening. "You mean surrender?" I asked. She waited for me to think about it. I said, "I can either fight or surrender and I'm not giving in." She waited, maddeningly patient, then suggested that acceptance isn't surrender. The situation did not require me to win or lose.

Of course I resisted. I'm a binary kind of guy. It was months before I realized that entering the battle meant I had already lost and there's a wide expanse between winning and losing.

Hills aren't battles. They're just hills and geology says they've been here a few million years and aren't going anywhere fast. Might as well accept them. And running uphill I have the opportunity to see what I have to give. That's a cool way to think of it. It's an even cooler way to feel.

Feeling open to the possibility that life isn't a battle to be won and there are more than two options available allows me to move up the hills and get over them. I accept and explore. And the view from atop some of those hills goes on and on as if there is no end to what I might see.