A couple of weeks ago, a longtime student, fellow teacher and dear friend sent a note to see how I was doing. This is, of course, a bizarre and difficult question for any of us to answer these days. I fumbled through a reply, trying to be as transparent as possible, while acknowledging the wild roller coaster of emotions that I move through in an hour’s time makes a clear answer unwieldy at best. Her response to me was, “you’ll get through this with your usual grit and grace.” Yes, I thought. This is the answer to this most impossible quandary I’ve been faced with since March 16: How will I ever get through this? Grit and grace. The art of letting go.
It is not as though when I opened blue lotus in 2007 I planned to run the studio until I took my last breath. I didn’t have a clear plan of how it would evolve, who would be present, what form it would take, how it would look, or on what timeline. But I assure you this particular scenario never crossed my mind. Not even close.
While I had wondered what the next iteration of blue lotus might look like as I grew older and the community continued to change, this particular transition offered no time to plan or prepare. There was no net or strategy. No spreadsheets or meetings or projections. In case you don’t know this about me, free fall is not my long suit. As with every other unprecedented (oh, I am so tired of that word) circumstance we’ve been served this year, there is no road map. Nobody to consult. No elder to reach to asking “how did you do this?”
And so here we are, muddling through The Great Both/And. I want these hot July days to linger on and on and I want it to just be August already. I simultaneously long to be in the space every single day, soaking up what I can of the goodness in her walls and also want to avoid even driving down N. West Street. I want to keep every scrap of paper, every candle, memo, trinket, and I want to burn the whole thing to the ground. This is not easy. I realize nobody ever said it would be. But. So. Hard.
I’ve wracked my brain trying to recall the last class I taught at blue; an innocent moment like thousands before, having no idea that it would be the last class I’d ever teach in the studio. I can’t remember. But that’s life, right? We never know what is coming. We never know when it will end. We just know that it will. How to get through it? Grace is required. As is presence. As is faith.
I’m also certain this is the right and only decision, for so many reasons. I know there is another chapter— a whole new book— just waiting to be written. But I’m not quite there. Not yet. I need to feel my way through the heartbreak of writing the last few pages of this book I started about 15 years ago. One day and one breath at a time. One shelf, one drawer, one storage box, one decision at a time. How to get through this? Grit is required. As is patience. As is compassion.
I’ve lived, learned and taught about letting go many, many times over the years. I reside in the center of the truth that this community we built can no longer exist as it did before. Yet part of me is white knuckle gripping onto the shore of this thing I’ve loved and poured my life into for so long. Reflect, honor, celebrate, grieve, let go. How to get through this? Grit and grace.
Gautama Buddha is quoted as saying: “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” Those beloved walls. It’s time to let them go. We can no longer be contained, and our destiny is to grow into something greater than we’ve been before. I thank you all for making this community what it is, and for stepping with me into the unknown to shape it into what it will become.
Take one more deep breath in…hold at the top for just a moment to gather what remains…then exhale and let it all go.