April 9, 2014
H is for…
Wait, I thought you were talking about negative stuff and then speaking positive stuff into the negative space. How is holding negative?
Well, it’s not always negative.
There’s holding puppies and kittens. There’s holding babies and small children. There’s holding someone in your heart. There’s holding on for dear life. There’s holding someone’s hand. There’s holding a lover in your arms.
No, holding is not negative.
Except when it is.
Have you ever held something so tightly that you crushed it? A flower, perhaps, or an animal kingdom specimen you had intended to take home and show mommy?
Have you ever held something so firmly that you choked it? An expectation, perhaps, or a relationship, or an insistence on some skewed reality that you were certain was the utter truth?
Have you ever held onto a plan with such a death grip that you missed opportunity when it arrived looking like some ratty tatty homeless distraction?
Diana Glyer, writer and professor, has spoken about holding plans loosely. In speaking about writing plans, she suggests that we consider it the same way we think of our plans for a road trip. We have a pretty good idea about the destination, where we’d like to end up, where we’d like to overnight on our way. We have some thoughts about which roads and highways we think we’ll take.
But if we want a real road trip adventure, we hold those plans loosely, remaining open to roadside stops, detours, restaurant runs, and unlikely side trips suggested by obscure signs or garish billboards. Sometimes these prove to be disappointing…but even those letdowns provide the stories that the road trippers will tell for years to come. It’s often in the unexpected that we find the meaning, the story, the better plan.
But a clenched hand cannot receive the gifts.
I’m a holder. I’m not quite a hoarder—I do purge things a few times each year. But I am sentimental and emotional and sometimes excitable and occasionally even obsessive. I hold onto many things: books, papers, clothes that might fit again someday, old ideas and habits, people.
I want to hold lovingly, loosely, not crushingly.
I have a lot to learn.
I have to differ from you. You are not talking about “negative” things here. You are talking about the kinds of things we have been taught to call negatives. Bright sunny, cheery things can be negative if the effect they have on others is to shut them down when they need a place to talk, or when they make people like you feel like to not always be sunny and secure means you are being negative. When the things we do force others into masks of unreality, THAt is as negative as sharing darker emotions in a way that denies any chance of light.
I am reading a book right now where the author calls the kind of faith/lifestyle that has to always appear bright and together solar. She talks about her faith as more like the moon. Her “lunar faith” goes through cycles. Though is it always there, it doesn’t always appear to the earth as bright. Night or the darker part of life comes everyday and around the Earth people experience it at different times. I love her comment that God doesn’t surrender the world to a different god when the darkness comes.
Positive and negative has to do with whether a person’s affect on someone draws from the person’s reserves or gives something into those reserves.The honesty of your posts and the way you seek to find the meaning and “positives” in words we are taught to think of as “negative” is wonderful.
“Positive and negative has to do with whether a person’s affect on someone draws from the person’s reserves or gives something into those reserves.”
Well-stated and well-defined, Linda. I appreciate that so much!
I actually got that in part from reading through Anne Golia’s book.
Roslynn, have you read Linda A’s post on labels? I think it addresses some of the issues you raise here. Enjoyed this piece. Food for thought.
Loved this, Ros.
I can’t stop commenting on your posts. This one spoke to me in so many ways. Lovely writing. Thank you