Maybe It’s Time (to Let The Old Ways Die)

“Maybe It’s Time” is a song written by Jason Isbell. It was featured in the movie, A Star is Born (I recently saw the 2018 version staring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga). I’m drawn to the lyrics of this song, because I suppose, I’m learning like so many of us, to not resist some things dying, but rather, to welcome it. That’s code for welcoming new life, I suppose. Or being with life itself — that’s even closer to the mark for me. In my guitar hobby world, I’m also learning to strum the chords to this song. I both love and need the medium that is artistic expression for things such as letting the old ways die. Garsh!

Let’s be clear, there is plenty for us to hold on to from the old ways, that we should remember in our contemporary living. I often feel that I / we are remembering old ways to honor roots and to interrupt a contemporary pattern of transact and dispose. Oh, that any of us should experience a wisdom to know what to let go of, and to know what to cultivate further.

Enjoy the lyrics.  And the simple strum if you know it. And the wondering into the inner world that can so gives access and clarity to an outer world of letting go and letting come, with life itself.


Maybe It’s Time

Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die.
Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die.
It takes a lot to change a man,
Hell, it takes a lot to try.
Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die.

Nobody knows what waits for the dead.
Nobody knows what waits for the dead.
Some folks just believe in the things
They’ve heard and things they read
Nobody knows what waits for the dead.

I’m glad I can’t go back to where I came from [Tenneson here, I think, though I’m often drawn to going back].
I’m glad those days are gone, gone for good. [Kind of…]
But if I could take spirits from my past
And bring them here you know I would
Know I would.

Nobody speaks to God these days.
Nobody speaks to God these days.
I’d like to think he’s lookin’ down
And laughing at our ways.
Nobody speaks to God these days.

When I was a child they tried to fool me.
Said the worldly man was lost and that a hell was real.
But I’ve seen hell in Reno
And the worlds one big old Catherine wheel.
Spinning steel.

Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die.
Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die.
It takes a lot to change your plans,
And a train to change your mind.
Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die.


This is a poem that appears in the book, A Simpler Way, by Margaret Wheatley and Myron Kellner Rogers. The poem is by American poet, A. R. Ammons. Both the book and the poem continue to mean much to me when I think of the need to both let go and welcome emergence.



I look for the way
things will turn
out spiraling from a center,
the shape
things will take to come forth in

so that the birch tree white
touched black at branches
will stand out
wind glittering
totally its apparent self:

I look for the forms
things want to come as

from the black wells of possibility,
how a thing will

not the shape on paper — though
that too — but the 
uninterfering means on paper:

Not so much looking for the shape
as being available
to any shape that may be
summoning itself 
through me
from the self not mine but ours.

Yes to emergence, letting go, and simplicity.




Dry Canyon

My Buddhist friends remind me of the importance of detachment. From a “precious certainty” (about how a project should work, or about the big stuff, how the world should work). From an idea (it’s just one way of thinking, but here is another). From a story (he is supposed to take care of himself — why isn’t he). Even from a person, or perhaps more accurately, from the complex web of emotion and energy that that person, and each of us, are.

Detachment is a practice. Detachment is an orientation. Detachment is an awareness. It doesn’t come without resistance, struggle, or even just some straight up pissed off moments.

My friend Quanita Roberson reminds me, that in the oddity of life, there is a difference between “letting go” and “being willing to let go.” This rings true with my experience, but it is something I’ve only learned after crossing a finish line. It wasn’t something that I knew, or could know, at the start of the race.

Letting go, and detachment, require a full willingness. Wether or not the actual letting go will be required, is a cognitive wondering that impedes the spiritual path of detachment. Am I willing to move. Am I willing to let go of, or take, the job. Am I willing to say no to the worry. Am I willing to let go of my precious story.

My learning is that words and thoughts are part of such inquiry and development. But even more so, periods and places of silence, whether internally invoked, or external and physical, like the one in the above photo, from a hillside near where I live. Not talking. Not lost in media. Not lost in the ball game. When I get detached enough, by the way, then the not talking, no media, and not watching the ball game take on a different flavor. Funny, right.

Going right to the edge, and then beyond, is the only place that one can recognize, that willingness is enough. It’s a bit mind and spirit boggling to me. But also, very attractive.

I join with my Buddhist friends in naming and believing that so many of the crises that we face individually, communally, and societally are issues of spirit now. There is much work to get done. Yup. And there is much spirit and consciousness to evolve. That too. The practice and orientation of detachment is what I continue to learn, matters essentially.