As the new year rang in, and messages like, “Make it happen!” and “Grab the bull by the horns!” bombarded me everywhere I turned, all I felt like doing was taking a nap and quietly reflecting and resting.
My first thought was that something was wrong with me for not wanting to achieve a new goal, or make anything happen. I simply wanted to do nothing, and a part of me was judging myself for it. I took to my meditation pillow for some guidance, asking my higher self for some insight.
The response I received was:
“Do nothing. You need to rest. Take a moment to reflect and honor yourself for everything you achieved even just last year alone. No wonder you are exhausted.”
As a Type-A, over-achieving go-getter, the notion of doing nothing feels like death to the ego. Much of my life (like many other people) has been defined by what I accomplish in the material world, and proving my worth to myself and others. I know I am not alone in feeling guilt and judgment for wanting to slow down and just be.
In the spirit of a fresh year, I decided to try something new: surrender to my inner wisdom and truth.
I took my slow work schedule as a sign and signal to ask myself who I am without all my achievements and accomplishments in the outside world. Who am I without my career, looks, money, fancy clothes, car and condo? What does it really mean to live a “good life?”
Even just a year ago, if I had a month off of work, I would have freaked out and gone into panic mode about how my bills would get paid and why I wasn’t booking more jobs. I decided I was tired of that way of thinking. It’s exhausting and doesn’t attract anything positive into my life. Instead of pushing, forcing or trying to “make things happen,” I’m consciously choosing to do less and let go of trying to control the situation.
As a suicide prevention awareness advocate, one of my messages is, “Never give up.” But when it comes to trying to control and manipulate outcomes in our lives, I’m discovering that “giving up” is necessary. Giving up isn’t throwing in the towel, it’s an act of faith. It’s a powerful devotion to a higher power.
Giving up or surrendering as an act of faith is a whole new way of problem-solving. It is a more grounding and peaceful approach to getting what we want more easily. It is the opposite of rushing around or forcing, it is about letting ourselves and our lives unfold more naturally, piece by piece, layer by layer.
It reminds me of nature. Nature does not struggle to express its beauty and glory. Flowers weren’t created to struggle, and neither were we as human beings. That’s just a lie we’ve been told in a “Be productive and make it happen!” society. But we don’t have to subscribe to the struggle.
Let 2017 be the year we unsubscribe from the struggle!
It is easier to give up the struggle when we realize our lives are so much more than what we achieve materially. What if we could begin to see ourselves and our lives with fresh new eyes, and focus more on our emotional journey home to our true selves?
My goals are no longer wrapped up in a dream job or relationship—both of which are fantastic, but nothing outside of ourselves can give us lasting happiness. My new goal is radical self-acceptance, inner peace and deep, fulfilling joy. Some days, that looks like hard work in the outside world, and other days, it means staying home in my pajamas taking care of my inner child, feeling my feelings, giving myself empathy and conserving energy.
Society tells us how acceptable it is to work ourselves to exhaustion in the name of making “it” happen—a career, relationship, family, business—but not nearly enough time and attention is paid to our emotional journey home to ourselves.
I really fought myself for not feeling like doing anything for days. As it turns out, “not doing anything” was achieving something extraordinary—a beautiful, healthy, kind, loving relationship with myself. When we learn to stop pushing and accept the perfection of what is, we can enjoy the perfect place we are in.
Sometimes “giving up” as an act of faith is all we need. Try it out for yourself!
Author: Kate Eckman
Editor: Catherine Monkman