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Survival depends on letting go

I’m reading “Innocent Blood” by P.D. James, a novel set in London about a young woman who was adopted at age 8 and is now determined to learn the true identify of her birth parents.

Early on I came across a passage that stopped me cold — the insightful James has a way of doing that. Her observations of human nature are so right on, so penetrating that they can often be lifted right out of the story and applied to everyday life.

So it was with the following paragraph: “How could you let go of something which you had never felt was yours to relinquish? To let go implied the utter confidence of undisputed ownership, the assurance that nothing of oneself could be violated by that transitory, terrifying loss of control.”

I had never before thought of letting go as an act of self-awarness, of self-confidence. We cannot let go of ourselves unless we know who we are. Only then can we relinquish control of those incesseant, internal dials by which we gage the state of our being at any given point in time.

Letting go takes courage — or else a curiosity so strong that we lose ourselves in what is happening around us.

I believe — I hope — that all of us have those experiences from time to time for that is what it means to totally be open to come what may, and paradoxically to allow ourselves to change.

I know of no better remedy for the trying times we are living in than letting go.

The forces of change unleashed by the current deep recession threaten to upset every aspect of our lives. The first inclination, of course, is to hold on tight to what we’ve got to try to keep what little remains.

But the currents of this upheaval are too strong. Several times over the past week I have heard experts predict that life will not return to the way it was before even if the market soon rights itself. The world is going through a painful transition. Old skills don’t qualify for jobs in a new marketplace that runs on nanosecond technology.

So, what’s the answer? Confidence. Courage. Trusting change. Letting go.

Donna Wright, health and social services reporter, can be reached at 745-7049.