Holding on and Letting go in These Times – Diary of a Baba
Diary of a Baba
Posted on June 26, 2018
How, especially in these often dark times, do we maintain? With the horrific state of families being separated, the muslim ban 3.0, in addition to the rise of explicit xenophobia and white and ethnic nationalism (and then some…), it makes me want to hold Collin tighter and reach even farther and wider to others who are not so fortunate as us. From #FreeOurFuture #AbolishICE, I’m down for ALL of it.
This is not new at all BUT it does call for us to give more of ourselves in these times.
I turned 42 last weekend and realized that we need to think about the long arch and fight on the day to day battles. I’ve grown a lot, especially the last few years alone, and learned to hold on and let go, at the same time.
In the movement, we often say we need to learn to “let go,” which is mostly true but it is also complicated. We need to “let go” of the things that distract us and hold on to the things that are core to our purpose. Maybe in a more liberatory period, these habits will come more naturally and seamlessly.
We need to “let go” of the things that distract us and hold on to the things that are core to our purpose.
I tend to hold onto a lot of important things like my vision, purpose, optimism, loved ones, friendships, and relationships. This is a good thing, even if I tend to be over committed or a little extra at times. I also tend to hold (or cling) onto old and fixed ideas; a certain style, approach and expected outcome. But that is not healthy at all.
This all plays out in all sorts of ways in my life.
In my gentle and firm, semi-tiger baba parenting style, we were potty training Collin the last couple months. This was the second attempt this year. I was determined. On the first morning, Mychi said, “Wow, I see it in your eyes. You really want this to happen.” I said, “Yes… I do.”
There was a bunch of resistance from Collin. He was holding his pee for an unsafe amounts of time until sometimes his face turned colors. This couldn’t be good, I thought. And yes there were plenty of accidents and incentives. Thanks to the experienced pool of parents and aunties, who answered our calls for help.
By day 6, we were not getting anywhere and that was the my moment of weakness. I actually did not have energy to hold on to my rigid approach and/or the outcome I desired.
Collin and I were both sitting in the bathroom doing the hourly routine. Nothing was happening (as usual) so I was frustrated. Then out of the blue, he said, “Baba, I’m afraid to pee all over the place.”
I was confused but played along. I said it was ok, as long as he peed. And he said, “…Even on the wall? I said, “Sure.” And then almost immediately, It happened it! Yes, it was all over the wall at first but eventually after a few rounds into the proper location — the toilet.
That was the breakthrough moment for him (and me.) It turned out that he just needed permission to pee and make a mistake.
This shows up In my day to day work too. Sometimes, I REALLY want things to happen and I hold onto my ideas and vision, especially things I know will take 10-15 years, this actually is not a bad tendency. But there are times when I’m on task and I’m VERY dug in. From an electoral or worker campaign to raising money, I find that when I’m not centered i tend to lose. I lose myself or lose the actually desired outcome.
So how do you know what to hold onto and let go?
Practice letting go and coming back to it. This has helped me when thinking about the long game and fighting on the day to day. Practice trusting your assessments. Practice winning, losing and mistakes.
Here are a couple thoughts:
Practice. Practice letting go and coming back to it. This has helped me when thinking about the long game and fighting on the day to day. Practice trusting your assessments. Practice winning, losing and mistakes.
Surrender to your instincts. Sometimes we know in our gut the reality but continue to grind when we know we need to change course. Learn to trust yourself and your instincts.
People. This one is key because we are so used to going it alone. Surround yourself with people who can (and will) help you become your best self.
As I’m turning into a yelder at 42, I’m learning all these things. Over time, I’ll learn to make this more natural and seamless but in the meantime, I’m going to remind myself to hold on my core purpose, vision and optimism and let go of all the f’ing things that get in the way of that.
Tagged: baba, fatherhood, holding on, instincts, letting go, people, practice, strategy
this is so great! thanks for thinking out loud. it is really encouraging to me as a leader, a neighbor and as a dad!
thank you for the note, Marcus. my best teacher has been Collin who has made me a better baba and leader. take good care.