It struck me today that the house I have lived now for well over a decade has no personal photos on display anywhere. In fact, the house is almost entirely focussed on being functional, so much so that it lacks any personal touch and it feels emotionally sterile. When I moved into that place it was meant to be a temporary stop, a quick interlude before I’d leave both the home and the city, though I had no clue exactly where I would head to.
Sometimes, when you close your eyes for a second, on a road you’ve been on thousands of times before and take a different look at it, everything looks so different. There are little details that your either missed or ignored perviously — some of those things painfully obvious, yet hidden away from your mind’s eye. And what you could not deal with or you did not like, was dealt with a blind eye. Our coping mechanisms are fascinating things. We often don’t realize how powerful they can be.
In my younger years, as an incredibly angry and frustrated person, I wanted to slot everything into neat boxes. Everything was black or white. Everything had to be judged. When I grew up a bit more I figured I could not slot everything so neatly and it frustrated even more that I could not see things in black and white anymore. I took it really personally. In the past year I have started to like the fact that I can’t slot everything or understand everything that goes on and it has made me a considerably happier person.
It is not a case of ignorance is bliss. It is not a case of trying to relinquish control or abdicate responsibility. It about accepting the idea that you can control a lot of things is a myth. Aided by the mind, it is easy to imagine that you control a lot of what goes on around you, while you don’t and you can’t. You can control your own actions and thoughts to a great extent, but you can’t control the entire spectrum of outcomes of that thought or that action. You can control your driving to be the safest driver ever to have lived, but you cannot control the driver in the car next to you to be as safe a driver as you can be.
Life happens in spite of the best of our understanding or the lack of it. In fact, I think life doesn’t care what we think or believe in. Life, I feel, is a maze of randomness that can yield a pattern, or any pattern, if we look hard enough at it. When outcomes and meanings are no longer joined at the hip, life yields a certain lightness that was otherwise missing from it.
Letting go, done right, feels so liberating.