“The top… finally.”
Yeah. Soak it in.
“… … mmmmh… in through the nose… out through the mouth. It’s beautiful up here.”
There is something about making it to the top… of whatever it is you are climbing.
Reaching the top, completing the race, sealing the deal all invoke the sense of accomplishment.
Do you feel accomplished when you follow or when you lead?
What causes that sense of stubborn adherence, that sense of something still being clung to, that sense that we are meant to let go of something if we are to reach the point of feeling accomplished?
“Let me guess… lesson time?”
Yeah, buddy! Have a seat.
I’m gonna ask you a question or two. But don’t answer me. Try to internalize the conversation for awhile to see what transpires inside of you.
“Wait. How long are we staying up here? You have that look in your eye.”
Your learnin’. What would make a better story for you to tell your kids. “I stopped on top of the mountain, watched the sunrise and then hurried down.” Or… “that s.o.b kept me up there all day long talking about life lessons, heirlooms and this and that, talking about follower-ship, leadership, samurais, and cherry blossoms.”
People have a penchant, a proclivity, a neurotic need to cling on to things… whether that’s a Linus like security blanket, a family heirloom… like moms favorite chair, or a piece of knowledge we think we know inside and out that has allowed us to feel accomplished in our current life position. Except that blanket, heirloom, or piece of knowledge is now holding us back… we have out grown it, we know it, we are just mentally unable to “let it go.”
We know the feeling we get when it is time to let something go. We just don’t have the confidence to let go of it. It is something we know. It is familiar to us and grounds us in a memory, a moment, a confidence in our current skill and ability… but it is scary to think of letting it go.
Our feelings obscure and hamper our ability to move forward. I once learned a new job. In that job I had to make detailed notes throughout the whole night that I would use later on when my trainer moved on into his new position. The notes needed to be detailed, the notes needed to be clear, the notes needed to be usable… by me… as I would only get one day of training and then I would be on my own.
The notes were taken, the notes performed admirably, the notes lasted for months… I still have them… the notes then began to slow me down.
I can vividly recall the near panic feeling when I arrived at the main control panel in the middle of the shift and my hands and muscle memory took over before I could grab my notes out of my back pocket and use them as I had been doing for the last few weeks.
I froze, and as soon as I stopped to think… the trained muscle memory in my hands disappeared like this mornings misty-mist. I struggled to get my notes out, I struggled to find the right page, I struggled to find the exact spot in my notes that would match up to the exact spot on the control panel.
I learned about having an anxiety attack twice in my life… that was one of them. I berated myself. I told myself, “It’s repetitive work… trust your hands.” I put my notes back into my pocket. I took a deep breath. I shut my eyes and then I let my fingers do the walking. They found their way back to the proper position and sequencing… once I let go of the distrustful thoughts in my mind and trusted my knowledge of how you learn a job and task through multiple reps and practice I was able to finish the night without the use of my notes.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. ~ Matthew 16:25
Letting go on purpose is a skill. We can learn to identify the the item that needs to be let loose and we can learn the proper timing in which to do it. We can even learn of a someone and a something to use as an example.
The ancient Japanese Samurai, their Code of Bushido, and one of the most beautiful and delicate of flowers… the cherry blossom.
The pinnacle of historical warriors is reached in the embodiment of a Samurai knight and his code.
The pinnacle of how to let go of something is seen in the life cycle of the cherry blossom. The Samurai, dealing with death as a way of life looked to the cherry blossom as the embodiment of their code for living life.
When it came time for their death they hoped to emulate the revered cherry blossom… both in it’s tenacity to live vibrantly, and in death… when the time came… to face it with life’s beauty, and to let go without any emotional tight fisted-ness.
When it is time… it is time. Go peacefully… even in the face of a violent confrontation.
The Samurai are long gone in effect but persist in essence and spirit among those looking to improve themselves… in follower-ship, leadership, personal development, life development.
It is precisely that spirit that has us identify those things that we need to let go of…
The top of the mountain is for gaining clarity, gaining understanding, learning to know what the feeling of accomplishment feels like, it is a glorious moment… but you can’t stay there… even the mountain has an allure, has the ability to become addicting… something to cling to in it’s beauty…
We have to leave the mountain top in the same way the cherry blossom lets go of it’s stem… effortlessly.
Honorably, graciously, descending back into the work, journey and repetitions, of creating and living your life… your short, wonderful, cherry-blossom-esque life.