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“Until then I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor.”
The House on Mango Street 

The notion of letting go keeps popping up in the darndest places. I read about it and even hear it in songs. I heard about letting go at the ADE 2011 Summer Institute and again in November at an IB symposium in Denver. The contexts in both places involved the idea of educators letting go of practices that are not effective.

Several years ago I met with a woman who practices alternative medicine. She had a knack for finding the most tender pressure points in my neck, but would also talk about big-picture things like universal shifts. She told me that for the current shift, people would have to learn new ways of thinking and to let go of the old to prepare for the new. I keep thinking back to that conversation and all of the things that I still need to let go of.

I’m the eldest in my family (including both sets of cousins) and a Capricorn with a natural tendency towards stubbornness. Letting go is an unnatural and unnerving feeling for me. The words “control freak” may spring to mind. Letting go is scary and requires risk taking, something else that makes me a little queasy. I have a senior in high school. The idea of letting him go into the world usually brings tears to my eyes. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and will land on his feet no matter what he decides to do. I know that deep down. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

When I reflect on letting go, I realize that, while tough, it can also be liberating. Letting go involves a lot of trust. Trust that things will work out for the better. Trust that surrendering is often the best option.

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