Letting Go, So as to Create Benefit

April 21st, 2020 by Kelly Kienzle

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The Letting Go

I have been rushing down a twisting river and the scenery has been changing daily and sometimes hourly.  As the pandemic gained strength, I tried to understand how it would affect me.  I tried to mentally grasp its size.  I tried to see what benefits it brought, while being constantly faced with the destruction and fear it carried.

I thought many times about how to write this piece, but the river twisted too many times.  I couldn’t see beyond the next bend, nor understand how others were responding to and grappling with these currents.  So I waited.  I waited until I had clarity on what this pandemic meant. I waited until I knew what I could understand of it and from it.

That understanding has not yet arrived, but I have adopted a strategy for navigating the river – – letting go.  I am letting go of trying to understanding its effects and grasp its size. I am letting go of trying to see its benefits while also seeing its destruction.  I have let go of anticipating what it can do and I have let go of planning how I will respond.

Instead, I am riding the current.  I am letting go of the oars.  I am accepting that this force is more than I can grasp and control.  And to wrestle against its currents will only exhaust me.

Creating Benefit

Though I am letting go, I am not passive.  I am taking action in my mind.  

Shirzad Chamine said recently that to overcome a great trial, we must create a benefit from it that eclipses the pain of that trial.  In other words, if we are suffering at an intensity of 6, we must discover a tangential benefit of the trial that is at least a 7.  The deficit must be overwritten by a surplus.  Our job is to create that surplus.

As I let go of trying to understand and anticipate this new world, I am freed to create what my benefit will be.  As I let go of trying to intellectually understand the world broadly, I now have capacity to design my personal world.  I have the strength to notice what I want to keep in my life and what I want to let go. 

For example, what I have lost so far will be worthwhile if, post-COVID, I keep these elements in my life:

  1. Sleep in the morning until I am rested
  2. Get outside daily
  3. Set a daily intention and then determine how many hours I have available for work. (Previously I was assuming I must work 9-10 hours every day, and then trying to cram in my intentions later.)

If I keep these elements in my life and a few others, they will give me a happiness that washes away any bitterness this pandemic may have brought into my life.

Your Challenge

And so I challenge you: Given how much stress, pain or loneliness you are now feeling, what compelling benefit will you create for yourself?  Noticing how much you have lost, what do you want to gain that will make it all worthwhile?

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