Saturday, December 04, 2010

Letting Go of Outcomes by Maureen Eich VanWalleghan

This week marks the nearly final process of my filmmaking endeavor for my short, “A Blue Uncertain Buzz.” For the past few days, I have been a bit weepy. I knew it was related to finishing my film, but I was struggling to move beyond the emotion and get work done. Finally, I realized that sending my finished film off into the world was a lot like sending a kid off to college.

I have spent over a year of my life working on this project and now it will make its way into the world on its own merits. I worked with amazing people, I was persistent in getting the quality I wanted into the finished piece and now as I send it out to festivals, I just have to let go, specifically I have to let go of “outcome.” And that’s when I realized that someday I will have to let go of my baby girl and she will move fully out into the world without me to stand on her own merits.

Being a mom can provide a lot of insight into how to conduct oneself in so many situations. As a later mom, life experience regularly meets self reflection—I know I have said that before, but it really does happen. Being one’s best self makes for great parenting and all the things required for great parenting like humor, not taking oneself too seriously, prioritizing around family, balancing care for oneself and caring for a family all add up to skills that have direct application in life, beyond being a mom.

The process of getting up each morning and starting fresh with a child has helped me to be persistent in my filmmaking process. At the end of a hard day with my daughter, the letting go and starting fresh the next day is something that has made my filmmaking work go more smoothly. Amazingly, watching my daughter jump out of bed and greet her day without any attachment to yesterday is profound. Each morning she wakes up with a smile (unless she’s sick). Her happiness gives me permission to do the same and actually forces me to lighten up. It is an infectious attitude that bit by bit permeates other areas of my life, particularly work and marriage.

My daughter doesn’t have to “let go” of yesterday’s baggage because she is still so little that she lives in the moment and the moment is exciting and full of feeling. That is an example to learn from when considering my own daily process, especially when it comes to my work as a filmmaker. So this next week, as I send out my film, I will remind myself that each day is a fresh start and that I will be doing this process of “letting go of outcomes” again in my future when my daughter leaves home and heads into the world on her own. Hopefully, practicing now will make that future moment easier.

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