Of Holding on to Threads

Last monsoon, one of the hanging plants in my garden fell down after the twine that hung it let go of the final wisps that held together its strength. I tied it back with a rope fashioned out of an old cotton sari. It worked famously until yesterday, when, in the midst of torrential rains, the threads let go. When I found them in the morning, the hanger was hanging in thin air, and the well-fired terracotta pot was on the ground, unbroken. The plant was uprooted, but breathing.Β  My daughter in my arms, I picked up the plant, put it in a periwinkle bed close-by, kicked the pot up, pulled the hanger’s hook out of the nail, threw it in a corner, and moved on to feed the carp in the lily pool. Besides giving you information about just how I run my garden, I suppose I am telling you that this letting go business is holding me to ransom.

Some months back, I found it convenient to post a photograph of a bunch of frangipani looking towards a grey sun, and title it “Let go”. Back then, I thought what I knew what it meant. Today, I am not very sure. What do I let go of? How? Is it the pretty feathers of expectations or the shiny sands of time? If yes, what do I do but to hold on to expectations from a relationship in which there is love and care and understanding? Are these not in reciprocation? Or am I meant to be a peculiar sage with little knowledge, but lofty ideals? How do I not think of the passing time and wonder if tomorrow will bring tomorrow, or, even if it does, will it bring the same promise?

What do you think of when you hear or think of these two words — Let go? Do they mean anything, or do they join a boxful of random things one gets to hear these days and nods at, but doesn’t really understand?

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Note: The pretty pictures above are some of the imagery I found when I looked for “Let go” on the internet.
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16 thoughts on “Of Holding on to Threads”

  1. The first thing I think of is my basic rule for blogging – “Write, and let go”. I work on a piece until I’m satisfied that it’s the best I can do, I post it, and then I move on. I don’t linger, and I don’t look back.

    There’s good reason for this. If a piece is very good, as my current one is, I need to let go, or I’ll spend all my time congratulating myself. On those occasions when a piece is bad (however defined) I need to let go, or I’ll beat myself up over it ad nauseum.

    I learned this rule for writing from life, actually. It’s a basic dynamic for me, and of course intimately connected with decision-making and freedom. I once attended worship in a congregation whose pastor ended every service with this benediction: “The past is forgiven, the future is open”. In short – get out there and live. Let go of the successes and failures of the past, because there’s a future waiting for you, and you need to be ready for it.

    1. I like the idea of getting out of the past and preparing yourself today for the future. But what if you expect from the future? What if you hold on to it being a certain way? Aren’t you, then, not letting go?
      I have a feeling this letting go business is not easy. So, since you seem to have accomplished it to a large degree, I am going to Hail Linda! Wow.

  2. I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking here, but my sense is you are questioning a great deal. I’m trying to think of how I “let go”. For me, release truly is a process. It can be short or it can be protracted. There is no right way to do it, not for me really. The only thing I’ve found that provides lasting relief is the practice of observation and then acceptance of what is observed. I’ve given up on cornering myself into finding the right answer. There are so many right answers. And a story inside each one of those.

    1. To accept what you observe. Hmm. That’s an interesting way of letting go. Acceptance does play a major role in letting you be comfortable with the situation. It isn’t easy, though, is it?

      What I was asking was what you’ve answered — your definition of letting go. And whether you find it as difficult and confusing as I do.

  3. “Let go” is one of the most useful phrases in the world. Along with the Golden Rule, you could probably survive and be the happiest person in the world. It takes practice to learn the skill of “letting go.” But it’s worth a load of sanity when you do. Letting go of hurts allows you to move on to better things and more worthwhile experiences.

    1. “Letting go of hurts allows you to move on to better things and more worthwhile experiences.” Yes!
      Now that I think about it, I have let go of many past hurts, and managed to enjoy worthwhile experiences thereafter. But, if I am not able to enjoy because of things I am holding on to, this means that I could possible get worthwhile experiences there as well. If only I could let go… The question is, how does one forget how to let go in some situations and remember to do so in others?
      I am ranting, Jean. Ignore me.

      1. It’s okay, Priya. And it’s not a rant – you’re questioning and discovering. I think the ability to let go probably depends on how hurt you are by what happened or by the time you spend learning to let go. Some people don’t even attempt the process; they just hang on to the hurt.

  4. Well you know me Priya – I’m a great one for thinking…
    Whether holding a tiny hand, or a hot potato, let thought decide. You can’t go far wrong with thought…

  5. If only one could know exactly how to ‘let go’. Everyone might agree that it’s a great and wise way of handling one’s life, and it takes a lot of practice to get it perfected, but how do you start? Is there an instruction manual somewhere that guides you step by step through the process? I think most of us know that some situations ask for it to be done, but don’t know how or where to begin.

  6. I agree with Shoreacres and don’t think I could say it any better. Tomorrow may or may not come, but it will surely not bring the same promise. Each day that arrives is a new day to make mistakes and to make discoveries. For me, letting go means moving beyond the mistakes and failures of the past and trying to go with the flow that each day brings.

    1. Are you mostly able to let go? What about the situations in which letting go is crucial? I find myself faltering precisely in those situations. And in the others, letting go comes so naturally. πŸ™‚ Damn the mysteries of a simple life. πŸ˜€

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