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Mindful Resilience: Letting Go...


Paul MacCormack

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If you live in the northeastern part of the US or in eastern Canada as I do, you are very likely smack dab in the midst of what can be termed the burn out season. You spent the spring preparing your facility for the onslaught of golfers and now with the excitement of opening day a distant memory, both you and your team are most likely suffering from the cumulative effects of the grind. 

The feeling of fatigue which supers and their employees experience at this stage of the season can be overwhelming. You wake up in the darkness and fall asleep in the light. Other people are enjoying summertime evenings and you cannot even recall what a summer night sky looks like or the way the air gets soft and cool as the evening leans into the darkness.

Depending upon where you live and work this may not be your mid-season... though you still likely identify with the tiredness that dogs golf workers at the midpoint. Dog tired in the dog days of summer is one way to say it; wilting like stressed out greens during an irrigation breakdown might be another. All of it is something that is best to be avoided, but how? By building some stress resistance or resilience right into the equation.

You wake up in the darkness and fall asleep in the light. Other people are enjoying summertime evenings and you cannot even recall...

Back in March, I introduced this little series I have been sharing with you since then about ways to improve your resilience in life.

Mindful Resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. The ability of an object to spring back into shape; elasticity.  (Oxford Dictionary)

Today’s topic is focused on letting go.

Letting Go – As we move through life and practice letting things be, we end up creating a lot of much needed space. This space is a vital element in crafting a container that can hold life’s troubles with both kindness and compassion. 

What might it be like if you leaned in to a little self-inquiry at this point? What if you considered that just as cutting the same lines day after day, year after year will cause deep ruts in the surfaces you tend, what might living the same tired patterns over and over cause to become rutted and worn in you? 

Cory Muscara, mindful leadership teacher and author of Stop Missing Your Life, looks at the concept of letting go as requiring consideration of two key elements:

  1. Figuring out why you are still holding onto something (someone, some pattern etc) and discerning what holding onto this still brings to you.
  2. Imagining and setting the stage for what good might come your way by letting go of that which you’ve been holding onto. (Muscara, p139)

Tara Brach, another wonderful mindfulness meditation teacher, also shares the vital importance of honoring the reasons that you have held onto something for so long before you can actually let go of it and forge a new way forward.

There is a saying that goes ‘we have two lives and the second begins when we realize we only have one.’ And sometimes there are jarring things that happen that let us realize that... and when we do, letting go becomes more of a natural response.” ~ Tara Brach

Think of the initial inquiry in terms of mowing again. One course I worked  at had an old timer who used to cut fairways. He mowed them in the same direction for 25 years! He even had a special piece of wood to jam into the pedal to make it more of a cruise control set up. To say the lines were burned in would be a bit of an understatement.

Now let’s consider why someone might mow the same direction day after day, year after year. Think of how deeply worn those ruts would be. Be curious about what ease which mowing like this may have brought to their life? Why did they do this? Be kind in your inquiry and gentle in your responses. Practice non-judging. It may have been that they didn’t have to think of doing things differently or perhaps doing it differently had never occurred to them or they thought it might be too difficult to make the change to a new direction.

A bit of a ridiculous comparison, I know, but I bet you wouldn’t have to dig too deep into any of your own tired patterns to see these very reasons to not change direction cropping up — you never thought to, maybe it seemed too difficult or that it would be too darn painful to let go of that which no longer serves you and find a new way forward. Hmmm…

As Tara Brach says... letting go is not getting rid of... it is releasing your reason for holding on into a larger sense of being. One that is big enough to handle your letting go. Think of dandelion seeds blowing into a great open sky... or tears flowing into an ocean current... or your hurt disappearing into stardust. There is room for it all when we take time to make space for it.

Breathing in, I’m curious about letting go... breathing out, I see it’s no big deal.

Perhaps the time is now to take a day off mid-week, go out and catch a glimpse of this season’s night sky constellations in your neck of the woods. Sleep in for two whole days in a row. Take turns swapping out an extra day off here or there for crew members so you all can remember you are humans trying to make a life worth living... not just trying to make a living for someone else and wearing yourself into the same old tired grooves in the process. Your boss may or may not thank you for it but the people who love you will and you will thank yourself.

 

 

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