Friday, April 1, 2011

Letting Go ...

I'm privileged to work with seasoned (Wall Street, big computer company) merger and acquisition specialists, as a principal in an office bringing together a $100+ million IT organization. Early on, I was struck by a lead consultant's briefing that we need to "let go" -- work to do what you believe is the right thing, but if a different decision is made, don't get stuck on it. So many things are going to happen, that you need to keep moving forward. This, plus being surrounded by talented and enlightened folks, has proven a great formula. It makes sense in many places.

Benjy, Quentin Compson and the lot in Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County struggled with the past, the old injuries, scent of desecration, and scars ... as did Wolfe's Eugene Gant and others. Promises owed to some future account, set in the past. My family is deep and diverse, a Senator/Supreme Court justice early on, heralded explorer, poverty in the Great Depression, Avedon and Wyeth models, media hero, combative inferiority, an imbecile. Understanding these influences and then letting go is helpful.

But Santayana says history should be our guide, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." So I'm challenged to balance these things. Always a balancing act, it seems.

Jane Karsten, the legendary American Civilization teacher at Langley, firmly taught that we needed to work to see dichotomy, differences in life, opinions, situations. Then, observing thesis-antithesis, use the mind to balance matters, determine, make a choice amidst the data. This is the power we are given, to learn and decide. Remarkable.

And thinking, learning and growing this way, in balanced and civil discourse, with a community, your spouse, at large, is an even greater, more durable gift.