Let Go or Be Dragged
by Emily Gallagher
Dec 26, 2018 | 1137 views | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This past summer, my friend Joe invited me to attend the closing lecture of the “David Bowie is” exhibit.

It was an interview with Carlos Alomar and Robin Clark conducted by the music historian Christian John Wikane. Alomar was a member of the trio of musicians who worked with David Bowie after his Ziggy Stardust era.

He was the guitarist who wrote the memorable licks on albums like “Young Americans,” “Station to Station,” “Low,” “Heroes” and “Lodger.”

Robin Clark is a soul singer responsible for many of the iconic backup vocals on the soul-inspired albums.

I was going mostly to distract myself from the stresses of my summer, but what I found was excellent life advice that I have been thinking about all year.

Alomar is a Buddhist and David Bowie was, too. Almoar shared with us the ethos that he and Bowie connected on, namely that the world and ourselves are always changing and we have to be flexible and move forward with what is happening.

This has always been a challenge for me. At one point in the interview, Alomar shared the mantra that he had when it came to music and adapting to new styles and new moments in his life: let go or be dragged.

Let go or be dragged. I now repeat this to myself often. It really set me up to address so much of what has been holding me back: nostalgia, attachment, and emotionality.

These qualities don't only impact our personal or emotional lives, it's also about planning our communities and adapting to what's happening on a global scale.

When we approach new situations that are strange, scary or bad, we have to consider them in a forward-thinking fashion. In the last 12 years, I have seen so many things change in our neighborhood, and while we miss them, we naturally adapt to the changes that don't destroy us.

It's always alarming to me when I am walking down a street and I pass a new building or store, and I realize that I cannot remember what was there before.

I have naturally forgotten it, because I cannot live in the past. It's actually impossible to, and I only have so much memory to utilize.

When we plan our community, we have to think about what's next, we can't cling to what's now. We have to consider what is coming and how we might adapt while preserving or adapting the things we love about our community.

There is a lot to plan for. New businessess, new buildings, new neighbors, and a changing environment. What's next for Greenpoint?

We spend a lot of time worrying, dreading, fearing. At least I know that I do. But in 2019, my resolution is to try to adapt my stance.

To think proactively and imaginatively about how to create the future we want. To let go of the outdated things that we cannot preserve, that no longer serve us or are out of step with the current situation, or risk being dragged and destroyed by our attachment to them.

This is a challenge, but a necessary one. I'm not promising I will delete my nostalgia, or that it will be easy for me to change. I am a worrier by nature.

But I want to be adaptive, like an artist. I want to work with the materials I have to always be creating a new future to enjoy.
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