Letting Go

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

The key to using luck, Rory Miller (Meditations on Violence) says, is letting go:

Luck can be defined as the things you didn’t expect. Expectation is the what you believe — your experience, your training. When you can accept it when training or experience fail, when you are cool with being surprised, you can exploit luck. Like anything, some people have a talent at it, but it can also been learned, trained, and practiced.

If you have ever been in the high desert of Eastern Oregon you have seen the steep hills. One of our fun childhood games was to run down those hills full-speed. The trick was to not rely on contact with the ground. Once you were at extraordinary speed you were effectively falling and, when appropriate, when necessary, when effective you would make a small contact with the ground to steer just a bit. It was control in the loosest possible sense. I never saw an adult play this game and it is just as well. The slightest stiffness, the slightest need to show more control than you had would lead to a hellacious tumble and broken bones.

It was good training. Life is like that — something like freefall. Control, beyond a basic ability to control yourself, is an illusion. Even that control is limited (think how your skills will change with injury and advanced age and different blood sugars). But well-timed instances of control can let you ride out a storm or survive a situation that would crush the stolid and certain.

Leave a Reply