Lessons in Letting Go

I have been given a rare opportunity: I have been working with my replacement at work for the last couple of weeks. This sort of thing of thing does happen of course, but I was pleasantly surprised when I learned this was to be the case for me. Yesterday I realized that I was being given precious gifts in this transition to a new job, new living situation and new state to explore. I was being given lessons in how to let go of things.

Historically I have had the mindset "Never forget what they did to you" (whoever they are). Eckhart Tolle says "All things are small things because all things are transient." Everything changes...this is the nature of the Universe. When we choose to hold on to things, we hold ourselves back.

Eckhart relates a story of two monks walking on a long journey. It had been raining and the road was very muddy. The walking by a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud would have ruined her beautiful silk kimono. One of the monks immediately picked up the young woman and carried her to the other side. Five hours later, the other monk couldn't stand it anymore. He said to the first monk, "Why did you pick her up and carry her across the road? You know we monks aren't supposed to do things like that!"

The first monk said, "I put the girl down hours ago. Are you still carrying her?"

When I first found out that the school district I am working for was ending my contract, I was told they hired someone within the district. The full implications did not sink in for me right away. After all, if there was someone in the district with credentials to do my job, why hire me through a staffing agency?

As I got to know my replacement, it quickly became clear that not only was she not already employed by the district, but she had been living in another state.

A few days ago, when I was talking to my recruiter at the staffing agency and I asked her if midyear transitions like this were unusual. She told me that every once in a while a district will hire somebody from within for a staffed position. I confirmed that the agency had been told this new hire was from within district and then corrected what my recruiter had been told. I said, "I don't know how the contract with the district works, under what circumstances they can break the contract, or what, if anything you want to do with this information, but the person taking over my position was definitely not already in the district."

My recruiter sounded thoughtful, and thanked me for the information...and then I let it go.

It is not my responsibility to police the circumstances under which my move is occurring, so I let it go.

Another opportunity for this lesson came last week. I had a parent call me, informing me she had not received information from an ophthalmologist's office regarding an appointment I had made for her daughter. She asked if I told the office to mail the information to the town I live in, to an address I was unfamiliar with. I informed this parent that I had given the office the address that was listed in the school records, an address in another town.

"Oh, we don't get mail there" she told me plainly.

Frustration arose in me quickly. I called the ophthalmologist's office and asked them to send the same information to the new address I had been given. The office is three hours away, so this was not a simple case of running to the office to pick up the paperwork.

A few days later, I got a call from a teacher who was meeting with the parent. The parent was concerned because she has still not received the information, and she did not know any of the details of the appointment. I informed the teacher that I sent the parent a letter detailing the appointment...I sent it to the address that does NOT receive mail.

I had gotten myself pretty worked up by this time. I worked very are to make arrangements for the appointment and ensured clear and concise information was communicated, and things were falling apart!

What good does it do me to hold onto this frustration? I have done my best to make this situation easy for this parent, and I need to rest assured I have given my best effort, and let go of the outcome.

Don't let myself be held fast by a situation I cannot control...let it go.

Yesterday I noticed I was very anxious most of the day. There is still a lot of things that I need to show my replacement how to do, and make sure she is as prepared as possible when I leave.

Most of the day, I was edgy and irritable, because things weren't happening fast enough, and as of today, I have two days left to impart the whole of my knowledge about this district and this caseload.

Then, like a lightning bolt, it hit me!

I didn't have anyone to guide me when I started in this position. One might think some basic training in the software used by the district would be in order, policies, etc... I had none of it. I had to figure it out on my own. I have been laying a solid foundation for my replacement to jump in and work with the kids. Why, when I am moving across the country, would I hold on to these feelings like I will never show her everything I want her to know before I go?

She will be just fine. She will do a good job with the kids, and she will figure things out.

I need to let go.

I am often surprised with the ways I am blessed with the lessons I learn. With all the opportunities to learn this lesson recently, it seems to be a pretty important one for me.

I worry that I may have missed other lessons recently that are just important because I wasn't paying attention, but I need to let go of that too.