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"Each of us must come to care about everyone else's children. We must recognize that the well being of our own children is intimately linked to the well being of all other people's children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else's child will perform it. When one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else's child will commit it. The good life for our own children can be secured only if it is also secured for all other people's children. But to work for the well being of all children is not just a practical matter-- it is also right!" - Lilian G. Katz, Phd.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Letting Go

Being Truly Free
There is tremendous freedom in letting go. It is liberation to free ourselves of things that clutter our lives; too many possessions, useless emotions, unhealthy habits, old beliefs, even people that drain our energy. All of these things and more can weigh us down. Every once in awhile it's good to "clean out our closets" literally and figuratively.

Like pruning dead branches or like a snake shedding an old skin, we need to let go of the what no longer serves or what no longer fits, so that there is room for something new, alive, and what is needed at this time in our lives. Yet, we are a possessive society. We often hold on to things, feelings, and relationships out of habit or, many times, out of fear of being without. For so much of learning to let go is about learning to trust. We have to be able to trust that, indeed, new branches will grow, that there is a new skin under the old one. And yet, to the degree that we are willing to let go, we are able to receive. When we stop holding on and clinging to anything, we realize we have everything.

For in reality, we really own nothing. Certainly, we don't own people. Our spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, children are not really "ours." Even if we own the title to our house or car, such possessions can be gone in a moment, taken by a natural disaster, an accident, or financial circumstances. Native Americans could not grasp the European concept of "owning" land, anymore than one can own the sky. For everything belongs to the universe, as even we do. When we allow ourselves to rethink our sense of "ownership," it is easier to let go. We no longer need to feel burdened by the responsibility of having to hold on to something. Rethink the value of a prized book collection, a coveted job, and feelings for an old flame. Perhaps it isn't necessary to physically get rid of something, but letting go of the power that a person, ideology, or material object possesses is truly freeing.