Letting go is not about having strength. It’s about understanding. Often when we come to believe we need to let go of something, whatever that something is, has gotten inside of us. It may be rumbling around in our thoughts, emotions, how we relate to others, how we live our lives. That letting go process may be a difficult one. One option we might strongly consider is heading such a situation off at the pass. What I mean by that is when things come our way that cause anger, irritation, frustration, ill will, we can take action of letting it pass by or letting it be.
A few years ago I read a book by David J. Pollay entitled The Law of the Garbage Truck. Following is his experience that inspired his book and is about today’s topic.
“Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. And I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here’s what happened.
I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, the car skidded, the tires squealed, and at the very last moment our car stopped just one inch from the other car’s back-end.
I couldn’t believe it. But then I couldn’t believe what happened next. The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. How do I know? Ask any New Yorker, some words in New York come with a special face. And he even threw in a one finger salute! I couldn’t believe it!
But then here’s what really blew me away. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, “Why did you just do that!? This guy could have killed us!” And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck®.” He said:
“Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you. So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier”
Sometimes it is just plain hard to let things go. At least having the awareness of what is happening when “garbage” comes at us can make a difference. To paraphrase Jon Kabat-Zinn, It’s not always a matter of letting go. We would if we could. Instead of saying ‘let it go,’ we can say ‘let it be,’ and move on.
Comments are welcomed.