AmericaConceptThe Fine art of letting go by Shira Gold

How do we make the choice to let go? What provokes our physical or psychological decisions to detach? Many of us were raised believing that mementos hold meaning or proof of experience.

How do we make the choice to let go? What provokes our physical or psychological decisions to detach? Many of us were raised believing that mementos hold meaning or proof of experience.

But when the passage of time causes our memories to lose clarity, we are faced with the question of whether the time is right to move on. The images in my series The Fine Art of Letting Go bring together the paradoxical impulses to hold tight to the weight of history and the desire to unburden in the hopes of stepping into new terrain.

In a world over-stimulated by information and sensory distractions, we only have so much space for our stuff before it swallows us whole. In response to the accumulations of the material world, there has been a deluge of messages to “de-clutter,” to “work through,” or to “make space.” These mantra-like instructions are useful but challenging to put into practice. The past is not so easily cut off. The fears that limited us, our false notions of self, our disappointments and heartbreaks—these are reminders of where we came from, what has shaped us, and who we wish to become. Memories we cherish, like jewels from our youth, are held tightly even when time causes them to lose their vitality.

The suspended botanicals in these images convey the delicate push and pull that accompany the process of letting go. Delicate by nature, the blossoms metamorphose with the passage of time and the influence of the elements. Clear waters can appear dark or opaque; vivid memories can slip below the surface only to re-emerge transformed by new meaning. Reminiscent of a ritual bath, these pieces seek to purify, holding for a moment in time the beauty of the past as the self-flows forward.

Letting go of the past involves venturing into the unknown. The practice of doing so is much like practicing an art form. We sift through past pains and triumphs, taking what we need. We draw meaning, re-work the narratives of our personal struggles and, when we can, we release.

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