By Roger Moore, Ph.D.
One day my Coach, Molly Gordon, advised me to “make the plan, show up, walk the path, and let go of the result.” While on one level that rang so very true, I really wondered just what “letting go of the result” means. After all, results are what we have to measure ourselves in the physical plane. In my years of social services administration I lived and breathed results-based outcome measurements. So, just how do I “let go of the results?” What does this really mean?
Later that same day as I was in one of my meditations on the stair mill, I was reflecting on 1997. This year began with being snowed in and then flooded out of our house. The next week, my office at the Strawberry Cannery burnt to the water. In this fire, I lost over 600 books, all my graduate school notes for two masters’ programs, paintings, new furniture, 25 years of research and the manuscript for my book. This was the beginning of my learning about “letting go.” Not only did I lose these material things, this park-like setting on the water was my dream for an office, it was my ideal scene and I had just moved in. I had just fulfilled one of my goals.
In the days and weeks following the fire, I began an attempt to replace and recreate everything that was gone. Literally, it had all been taken from me. But, I had not let go. I wanted it back. I was hanging on. I had a belief as to how things should be. After all, I had my vision, I had put this vision into my time line and developed my goals and of course, I knew the form that it all should take. And then it was all gone in a few fiery moments. What did not go up in smoke, fell into the harbor.
As I continued my journey on these revolving stairs, I recalled another morning soon after the fire on this same stair mill. A quote had been torn from a magazine and left on the control panel. This gift from God read: “What is to give light must endure burning” (Victor Frankl). What a description of letting go of the form! I can’t keep the match and light the fire. Could it be that I was so focused on my beliefs of how things should be? Was I so tied to the form that I had no room to receive?
I am reminded of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea does not let go of its water. There is no outlet. Water flows in and stagnates. There is no life. A healthy system receives and gives. If we are focused only on our beliefs of how things should be and hold on to everything, we stagnate and die. I remember times in my life where I was not open to receiving and I was totally focused on what I thought I was giving. (These are the times I have lived in unworthiness). By only having outflows, I quickly became like Death Valley, drying up with nothing more to give. Healthy systems have inflow and outflow. They receive and they give. They breathe in and they breathe out. To give, we must let go. To receive, we must have room for and be open to the receiving.
While I don’t pretend to have “figured out” what it means to let go of the results, my understanding is deepening. In the months since the fire, I have been richly blessed. Things will never be the same as they were prior to the fire. They are better! By letting go of the form and contents of my office, I have been open to receive the generosity of the people of Bainbridge Island. My counseling practice is not exactly as I had envisioned, it’s more! It’s becoming something greater than I could have imagined. In the Bible we are taught that “through the power at work within us, we can do far more than we dare to ask or even imagine.” Ah, yes! Letting go of the results means being open to receiving more. So, when I make the plan, my opportunity is to ask for “these things and more, for the highest good of all concerned.” Creating abundance is letting go!
Read about Roger Moore.