What We Hold Close
“Saturn comes back around. Lifts you up like a child or
Drags you down like a stone to
Consume you till you choose to let this go.
Choose to let this go.”
The quote above is from a Tool song called ‘The Grudge’. It happens to be one of my favorite. When I listen to it, I hear the music moving from a place of tension (holding on tightly to a grudge) to a place where a choice is made to let go. I often feel a heaviness leaving me when I focus on letting my own grudges go as I listen. I let my body and mind connect, stop fighting and stop trying to analyze everything to death. For that moment, I really believe I have let go, that I am ready to move on to other things.
Sadly, things are never that clean.
Days later (weeks, months, sometimes years), those same old wounds make their way back. I go through the obvious reactions to those moments-What brought this back? Why now? Does this mean I really never let anything go? Which leads to all sorts of self doubt and frustration. I feel weak, cowardly, deceitful.
Another song pops into my head.
“There’s nothing too special about getting hurt,
but getting over it, that takes the work.” -Glen Phillips-
And there it is.
Too often I hear people argue that people just need to “let go” of whatever it is they are worrying about. Stories follow about the relief, the clarity that come from such a decision. And I don’t doubt them; I have felt the same thing, but there is something crucial being left out. Letting go of a grudge, an addiction, an emotion (whatever it is), is not a single moment of decision. That sort of thinking diminishes the massive effort needed in getting over anything. Yes, there is a moment when we choose to change, and that moment of choice is always preceded by many hours of contemplation, wallowing, anger, frustration. Somehow we come to a point where we feel this is a destructive and futile path. We clear our heads and say, “Enough.”
Then the real work begins.
That one moment of clarity can easily be forgotten and we may have to choose to let go again and again. Work. There it is. Everything worth having takes work. It reeks of cliche’ but it is also one of the few true things. That work is different for every situation, every person and we have to decide for ourselves what that process will be. We try, fail, then try again. Some things work better and longer than others.
When I remember this simple thing, my recurring failings, falling into the same emotions feels less damaging. I keep working.
Keep keeping on.