Survival Principle # 10: Learn to Let Go and Move On

Posted on | July 3, 2009 | 2 Comments

Here’s the New Deal: Rapid, continuous, and even tumultuous change is the new context for life and work. This current economic tsunami is simply the next in what is certain to be a stream of surprising and world-changing events and movements. In the face of a significant alteration to our current state, many-maybe most-human beings have an automatic response: Hold on to the way it was for dear life.

Remember Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and her findings re: death and dying. When we or a loved one are diagnosed with a terminal illness, we go through very predictable stages of grieving. This is the adaptation I use with my clients:

  • Shock and Denial-‘I can’t believe this is happening!’
  • Anger and Resistance-‘I’m not going to take this lying down!’
  • Grudging Acceptance-‘OK. . . I don’t like it, but here it is. . .’
  • Complete Acceptance-‘I now embrace what is and what is to come. Bring it on. I’m ready. ‘

Somewhere between Anger and Resistance there is a letting go. Or not. People who are able to let go and allow life to have its way with them find purpose, power and peace in the very experience they are having.

I have always believed that change of any kind invites a grieving process because every change IN life reminds us unconsciously of the one, great loss OF life. If this is accurate, then we need to learn to allow ourselves to grieve over what is passing away in order to have room in ourselves for what might be coming toward us.

There are two Latin words that are translated ‘future’. One is futurus, and is the future tense of the verb to be. That word implies that the future is an extension of the past. You want to know what the future will be? Look back at the recent past and do some Trend Analysis. Futurus says, ‘The future is going to look like the past, only different.’

But there is another Latin word for ‘future’: adventus. Makes me think of our word ‘adventure’. Ad-venture comes from the Latin verb root venir, ‘to come’, and the prefix ad, which means ‘toward’. With an adventus view, the future is not predictable, or an extension of the past, it is unknown and is being formed out of what we are doing now. The adventus future is to be discovered, not predicted.

I like those two distinctions concerning the future. Each gives us an important piece of the truth about reality-and the futurus attitude helps me understand how and why religious pictures of what happens to us when we finally move on are full of pictures of good things we have here and now. Personally, I think what happens next will be more like adventus. . .

But for now, while we are facing the constant flow of change in and around us, we need to practice letting go and moving on, reaching out with our hearts and minds to embrace the new reality that is coming toward us in its disconcerting strangeness and life-changing power. 

I hope you have found these principles thought-provoking. It has been a joy to bring them to you, watching as they passed through my fingers on the keyboard and went on their way to you. . .


2 Responses to “Survival Principle # 10: Learn to Let Go and Move On”

  1. Rod Koon
    July 21st, 2009 @ 2:10 pm

    I took your class a few years ago, and found it very helpful.

    I still work at the Port of Tacoma, where we are going through major reductions in staff, along with challenging global economic times.

    I just came across your e-mail, and will be re-reading your principles today…very timely, valuable stuff.

    I’m still playing guitar and writing music…here’s a clip I thought you might enjoy…it’s a song I wrote and performed with a great group at a United Way event recently in front of 400+ people at the Tacoma Convention Center.

    I am very proud of it–especially of the fact that my older daugher Jessie (15) plays lead guitar in the band.

    Hope you enjoy it:

    Take Care…

    and Let it Be.

    Rod Koon

  2. john
    August 2nd, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

    Way to go, Rod! Of course I remember you.

    Nice arrangement on your song, BTW. (I have a Yamaha 12-string, but it doesn’t sound as good as yours…)

    Please give my best to the crew at the Port and tell them I said to ‘Go for TOV and let the chips fall where they will’.

    All the best,



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