The 6th anniversary: letting go of a few more things

The first time you read this, it will probably not make complete sense to you. At least that is what I hope. After all, I am using my brain to write a paper about my brain. That is confusing by itself.

I am now in the season of the 6th anniversary of Keith’s death, and I had some ideas come together today as I was driving on I 95 during a day filled with tornado warnings. Maybe the winds blew some fresh air into my brain.

My new goal is to learn how to more effectively let go of things, not the least of which is the anniversary of Keith’s death. Keith’s actions to end his life represent perhaps 1 ½ days out of a life that was almost 11,000 days long. It is a real disservice to my son to focus on the anniversary of his death at the expense of celebrating his life.

Today was also the day that I tried on my new sport coat that I purchased to wear for my youngest daughter’s wedding. One sleeve had to be lengthened and the buttons moved because my right shoulder is a bit low due to a hockey injury. I learned to let go of playing hockey!! Perhaps the consequences of more injuries were the great motive.

Today I also gave away my windsurfing harness. I am not stopping all sporting activity; I still love to hike, kayak, and sail. I was unable to let go of some outdated windsurfing skills and therefore unable to replace them with skills suitable to the new high-performance short boards. Again, I stopped because I risked having more injuries.

“Letting go” is a process we all need to master. As we better understand the brain and how it evolves, we are learning that new skills and new thinking patterns are developed along with new brain pathways. The brain is not a static organ that slowly decays over time. It grows and changes to adapt to what we are doing and
thinking.

If we cannot let go of all the unnecessary baggage that we drag through life, we will be slowed down or perhaps even buried under it. Perhaps chronic depression is a downward spiral caused by tunnel-like thinking over increasingly narrower and painful subjects. Maybe the brain reacts to this by building even stronger circuits to reinforce this thinking. Perhaps that is also why interventions through medications and psychological therapy are needed to help a depressed person change patterns of thinking.

This past week I finally received the DVD of the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” This movie is an extraordinary collection of thinking about the brain,behavior, science, and spirituality. It also examines how our thinking patterns not only modify our own perceptions and capabilities but how we then affect others around us as well as our environment. The movie requires an open mind and some deep thinking. If you are interested in science, philosophy, and human behavior, please watch it. The movie has some animated sequences that attempt to show how the brain can “rewire” itself.

In order to “let go” of the final 1 ½ days of Keith’s life I need to retrain myself to gradually replace the negative and depressing thinking about his suicide with the delightful and joyous memories of Keith, as my son, for 29 years. The goal of that alone may be the motivation I need. I know I have the motivation; the question is whether or not I have the skills for that. I’m not sure. I may need some help. What the “bleep” do I know, anyway??!!

Keith's Dad