Monday, April 27

Pointless vs. Necessary

"Letting go" is something human kind has dreamt, written, whispered, and ventured for centuries. Yet it is still the undefined, seemingly just out of reach.

The University of Minnesota Department of Psychology has ingrained into its undergraduate students the idea of operationalism--of systematic empiricism--as if another moment cannot be permitted for us to linger in archaic, Freudian essentialism. As I write my last undergraduate paper for a psych course, I find myself grasping in the dark to operationalize "letting go."

Perhaps it is best defined per individual--experiences, identity, self-concept, path, genes, up bringing, cohort, etc. After all, there is no doubt that "letting go" in my mind is quite differently understood than that in yours. But perhaps you, too, have been trying to let go of something--a tendency, an aspect of your personality, a set of rules you've judiciously abided by since you can remember.

Since January 20, 2009, so much seems possible. Change we can believe in became change, itself, did it not? In the spirit of change, this seems to be the year to "let go."

I'm one of those people who can go breakfast to dinner holding a crumpled napkin in one hand without being aware of it for hours. I guess the ambiguity in this post is a result of not really knowing what that crumpled napkin, beyond the metaphor, is right now. The possibilities are so many, mostly because I've grown comfortable with shades of gray over recent years, and I now am not too eager to "resolve" the shades into anything at all. But someone has pointed out to me that this is not a good way to live--that "letting go" can lead to a colorfulness I not only ought to seek but deserve.

A friend had told me once: "We were never promised that things would get easier, so long as we´re shooting for something wholly satisfying, not merely satisfactory." I'm turning 24 in a few months, and being content is turning out to be another form of utter laziness. Being fiscally responsible, academically responsible, emotionally responsible, nutritionally responsible?, while avoiding rays of daylight is no longer even "merely satisfactory." In the past year, my small rebellions have consisted of getting a bike to ride around the Hills, going to the theater in the middle of the workweek, buying earings I may even wear oneday, and learning to swim. The last of these has proved to be the perfect exercise--not as much physically as it has spiritually. It's amazing to physically experience the gravitous nature of thoughts; I realized that every thought in my mind, every worry in my heart, weighed me down deeper below the surface. If I wanted to breathe, I had no choice but to stop worrying, stop planning, stop analyzing, and to let go of everything and force myself to look upward. And there I would suddenly resurface, free to exhale the depths and take in the new.

(Palette knife painting by Leonid Afremov)

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