Posted by: M.C. | 18 September 2010

Letting Go

I have heard more than once and firmly believe in the phrase, “Discipline is art of remembering what you want.” It tells me that discipline isn’t primarily about denial but about the pursuit of what we love and desire. Unfortunately, from moment to moment I find it easy to forget what I most desire–or maybe I just get afraid of what I want. Odd word, “remember,” with the “re” suggesting that I’m doing something over again and the “member” suggesting…what? Then I think of “dismember” which involves separating things, what is attached no longer being attached, and I realize that to remember is to put back together what was once together, to recall the connection among parts of my life, my past, my identity. When I re-member what I want, then I recall who I am, what I’m about, what moves me most, what I value, and in recalling those things I make myself more likely to act on them. I let the things that I don’t really desire–the distractions–fall away. Conventionally we often think about it as “denial” of what we’d like to have. But when I get out of bed because my toddler is crying in the middle of the night, that isn’t so much denial of sleep as it is responding to one of the things that matters most to me: my love for him. I’m not “giving up” sleep; I’m letting go of it in order to “re-member” and act out of my identity as “father.” Just as I’m not “giving up” sleep now (at 3 a.m.) but remembering that other part of my identity: writer.

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