What it is about the number two? In the bible, Noah led the animals into the arc in twos, and somehow, everything in our lives is defined by the number two. I suppose it is the concept of establishing equilibrium in whatever it is we undertake in our lives – in order to achieve the perfect balance there have to be two poles. Similarly, there are two sides of the issue. Well, I discovered that letting go of things in twos is not a bad thing either.
Last week I was asked what I have let go of recently that I no longer wish to recover or return to – or can’t.
I was stumped.
Ever since I graduated from High School, a little booklet that my aunt made for me has been a loyal companion. It is a little book of questions that guide me to re-examine my values every ten years or so, a checklist of the things I have outgrown. Call it soul cleansing or soul sorting, but the process is akin to cleaning out my basement or closet. There is a limited capacity and at some point I have to take the bull by the horns and throw out all the superfluous things.
After careful consideration, I realised that I have unknowingly been discarding a lot of major burdens in twos already. Discarding is probably the wrong word, doing a disservice to the concepts in question, so I will settle instead for letting go. By letting go, one establishes a distance between the soul and the experience that caused the pain and grief, caused the imbalance – or perhaps even chaos – in life. There is the physical aspect of letting go, defined by legalities and formalities, but the real work lies in the emotional detachment, in accepting the end, and finding closure. This is no easy feat, and can take years. It took me two years, for example to openly accept that I am done grieving and mourning my parents. I will always miss them, in fact, I miss them every day, but my grieving is over and I have moved on.
When the courts declared the divorce final last year, I found my closure to the chapter in my life that had silently come to an end years ago. The formal decree made it irreversible, giving me that clear delineation to let go of so many things and emotions. Those were the two greatest items for 2018.
I started out 2019 by letting go of the urge and drive to always over-fill my plate with responsibilities and burdens, a flaw in my character that has had health consequences. So I let go to the imposed concept that one must work the full 40 hours a week to be gainfully employed, thus reducing my working hours in spite of the financial risk. In the same month, I also closed the chapter on another aspect of my professional life that has proven to be difficult, cumbersome, and unfulfilling. So when the Finanzamt (Internal Revenue Office) sent me my taxes due for 2019, I decided to change things once and for all, and it feels so much lighter.
Letting go of expectations and disappointments that caused me pain and cost me money last year are at the top of my list for the coming months. I have learned to stop clinging to certain ideals and unrealistic expectations that have prevented me from spreading my wings and have kept me chained to the ground long enough. I have a long list of things I want to let go of in the coming months, and have no clue how to go about it except for the fact that I am determined to do so two by two. One thing I do know, however, is that that I am no coward. I am a risk-taker, out to prove to myself that my impulsive leaps of faith in the past three years that have led me down a stoney path are now heading towards a field of success and moors of satisfaction that I so yearn for.