When Cole Porter wrote “Anything Goes” it was 1934 and the sentiment of the song complemented the mood of the times. People were tired of selling apples on corners, of moving instead of paying the rent, of making sacrifices with no end in sight. They wanted security, opportunity, and a different set of rules (or no rules at all) to play by. Today, “Anything Goes” isn’t good enough. Now Everything Goes! For everyone, everywhere, all the time.
From scooting across busy avenues and down city streets by the age of three, to sexting by the time you’re twelve. Everything Goes!
From Bloomberg’s billionaire credo that bigger is better as he cemented over the smallest plot of city green to make room for more parking spaces to serve the high rises filled with thousands who gladly supported his short sighted, greedy and toxic expansion. Everything Goes!
From Ted Cruz’s crusade to lead a party divided as they followed him in vengeful celebration on the path to oblivion while shutting down the government for 16 days and seeking to deprive millions, including themselves and their staffers, of affordable healthcare in order to destroy this president who has frustrated their will to power by being smarter, classier, and far more resolute than they have the capacity to imagine or acknowledge. Everything Goes!
From technology replacing table talk (just note all those phones being scanned and scrolled in restaurants, coffee shops, homes and banquet halls) as the march toward dehumanized communication moves irrevocably onward. Everything Goes!
From being too busy to speak to, or truly look at our children, then wondering why they refuse to speak to, or look at us. Everything Goes!
From seeking salvation in relationships via the “object” of our affection instead of through our connection with spirit and with ourselves. And when those relationships are no longer what we want or need, complaining that they didn’t “work out,” when, indeed, they did, just not in the way we preferred. Everything Goes!
The New York Society Library, a bastion of civility on the upper East Side of Manhattan, remains my saving grace. Peace and quiet reign. An elegant reading room with light pouring through French casement windows gives solace in the midst of a hectic city. The librarians know my name. (It’s about time that I knew theirs’). One day it too may go, along with everything else, but for now it remains, and all is not lost.
Despite a desire to hold on to a way of life, an ideal, a gentility, civility, or to the comforts and people we know and love, it all goes and goes and goes. But we may as well hang in there and see what happens. As Rebbe Nachman so wisely advised: “Never despair. Never ! It’s forbidden to give up hope.”
For now I’ll stick with the Rebbe. It’s a lot better than the alternatives.
The following exercise provides a way to practice letting go of everything and anything, especially your fear and resentment of what lies ahead or gets left behind.
Go With The Flow
Close your eyes and breathe out one time. See yourself standing before a body of water and diving into a strong current. Know that by doing this you are letting go of all constraints and fears. Sense and live how by going with the flow, instead of struggling against it, you are carried to new places unheard of in your ordinary life.
Notice how you look and feel. Then breathe out and open your eyes.