I decided to review my website, noting that many of its pages were put together in the late Nineties and here we are well into 2005. Many of its features dated back to long before that, so perhaps it is time to let go of some of them and revise others.
Having just read through my papers I find that I can still agree with everything I said then and none of the opinions expressed have changed, so I have decided to keep them and write this new one about Letting Go in relation to them, especially the first about Treasure. In that I summarised the criteria for worthwhile (heavenly) treasure as:
All the things I have ever included on my site certainly moved me in the past and when I put them on the web had value for that present, but valid for the future is now questionable. Last Christmas and New year were rotten for me in that a certain friend I have tried to care for drove me to distraction, not so much because of the money he drained from me, but because of the deceits that accompanied his demands. In the end I pulled the telephone plugs out. As a result he spent Christmas and New year in different hospitals having got into one with an overdose of paracetemol and the other by swallowing batteries. At least talking to a hospital sister I got a label to hang on him: personality disorder. He has not been much better since but I began a journey of my own and recognised the need to consider my own mental health. I am still waiting a counselling appointment, but I have realised that it is me who must take responsibility for moving forward. One reason for saying that is that the person from whom I sought counsel after Christmas died in April and I can think of no other person who would understand the situation sufficiently empathetically to be of use.
The first question to ask myself is what is it that I should let go of? The recent TV coverage of the 60th Anniversary of VE day provided a clue in that they provoked a yearning for the values and attitudes of the post war era. The music, the clothes even the adverts from then evoke a strange yearning within me. I am not alone of course, nostalgia still creates business. I had a request recently to order a book for a friend about buses and trams of the fifties. Also the recent election campaign had politicians promising things like a return to respect for elders and a crackdown on Yob culture. Everyone conveniently forgets the Teddy Boys of the Fifties, Mods and Rockers of the Sixties and even the Spivs of the Forties. What has really happened is that the demographics have changed and there are now many more older people than teenagers in the population. But this paper is not about history, it is about the future. While we must learn from the past we cannot return to it.
So my first answer to the question Of what shall I let go? is my yearning for the past. The past treasure remains valuable and it can inform the present, but yearning to return to it is like being anchored there and detracts from sailing from the present to the future.
The second answer is more difficult and involves letting go of guilt. I suppose that everyone has things in their past which they would rather not have happened, or things which they wish they had handled differently. But things did happen and we did handle them in the way that we did and we cannot change them. We all know that of course but perhaps our current mental attitude is still sensitive to them and guilty about them. So we either stay glum or hit out and score what we subconsciously regard as victories over real or imagined accusers. No, we must leave the accusers to their own problems and, soiled and grubby though we may be, let go of our guilt. The phrase Charity begins at home is often used cynically to avoid showing charity to others. But there is a better way to use it. If we would forgive and forget some act or omission done by others, then equally we can forgive ourselves for the same act or omission.
The third answer is to allow myself to change my mind. For some reason I have always regarded consistency as a high virtue and so it is. But when it becomes an obsession and prevents progress or causes irritation because those around us are anything but consistent then it has to be mastered. Of greater importance is the obvious fact that if some activity, or thought process is unhealthy, then it is quite wrong to remain consistent with it.
So I shall continue to revise my website by letting go of things that keep me anchored in the past, things that are a response to guilt and adopt a new willingness to change my mind.