I took the first two weeks of 2016 to spend some time recharging, healing, and allowing for clarity around where I’ve been and where I’m to go from here.
I’ve had several options present themselves to me that all seem big and beautiful and overwhelming.
Some days I convince myself that I can do them all, other days I know that I’m most powerful having a singular focus. And the remaining days I simply want to pull the covers back over my head and pretend I don’t have these choices to make.
Interestingly, these evaluations of my past and imaginings of my future bring me back to the present.
Where am I now?
We hear a lot lately regarding the need to ‘get present’ in cultivating our happiness, and my understanding of this concept is this: It’s only in letting go of our future and past that allows us to access the present moment. It’s only in the present moment that clarity exists. And I believe much of our cultivating happiness comes from the peace we gain from seeing clearly, perhaps for the first time.
I’ve spent so much time spinning on the ‘what if’ gravitron (ya know, the carnival ride where you stick to the wall with so much force you can’t even lift your head) that I haven’t been present enough to see the answers right in front of me, nor the plethora of possibility surrounding me in this moment. It all just keeps spinning and spinning sending me into overwhelm, anxiety, and potentially a great enough experience of fear to keep me from opening my eyes at all.
Our ego loves to overwhelm. It helps to keep us confused and in a state of guilt/self-loathing around feeling like we simply can’t get it together. But when we choose to become still we begin to ask ourselves—get what together?
Isn’t this all perfectly in order?
Didn’t the monumental problem of yesterday lead to a perfect moment of synchronicity and blessing today?
We tend to notice these blessings in hindsight—again, if we are able to get still enough for hindsight. We are able to look back on our moments of suffering, anxiety, uncertainty, and see how it all needed to go exactly the way it did in order for us to access beauty and relief on the other side.
Interestingly, often even in our retrospective appreciation of the perfection of what is, we manage to sneak in a bit a of self-condemnation around the worry we carried regarding the initial problem that ultimately worked itself out.
But there’s a different option in our way of being that not only allows the problems of today to work themselves out, but also allows us to enjoy the process: Trust.
My ‘problem’ has been learning the process of letting go enough to stop spinning. And to then allow myself to learn to sit still without coming up with something else to spin about. I’ve had to drop trying to solve problems that were never mine to solve—regardless of what my ego says!
The past couple of weeks have been an excruciating lesson in ‘surrender’—my word of the year. I’ve had to take my hands out of the process (attempts to control) and simply sit back and watch. I’ve had to trust in the previous work I’ve done, the perfection in the timing of solutions revealing themselves to me, and in the ultimate truth I’ve experienced over and over again that it’s all going to be okay.
The answers are coming. Very slowly.
And they are a bit hazy and intangible (most likely to keep me from putting my hands in again).
Yet I know that all will work itself out. It always does.
And how precious the lesson of allowing the beauty to occur from a space of surrender and awe rather than in spite of my anxiety and attempts to control.
While life doesn’t get ‘easier’, it certainly can be crafted to be more enjoyable, more fluid, and without fear. Overwhelm comes from feeling like we can’t get it all ‘right’. We lose ourselves in our attempts to keep up with the non-existent Jones’ and the illusory expectations we believe others have of us. And then we pile our own unreasonable expectations on top—superhuman deadlines, perfection in our juggling acts, and doing it all without breaking a sweat.
When we choose instead to take a step back, let the juggling plates crash to the ground, and let the Jones’ have it all, we can take a breath. In taking that breath, we see that we can take another, and as many as we need to to recover, rejuvenate, and heal.
What we are healing from is our inability to simply be. In being still, answers we’ve relentlessly toiled for reveal themselves. In getting still we see that life goes on without our anxiety and the superpowers we believe our particular brand of control has.
Miraculously, it all still works itself out. And, if we’re willing to admit it, even better and more beautifully than we could have imagined or manufactured ourselves.
Author: Mikela Rae Bowers
Editor: Erin Lawson