ometimes when things don't go the way I want, rather than sitting back and letting things go their own way, I start pushing and shoving and trying to make things happen the way I want... Can you relate to this one? Whether it's something at work, or at home, or wherever, we start getting forceful and insisting on things going a certain way (our way)... even when it is obvious (at least to others) that things are not going that way at all.
For example, you may be working on a project and everything, and I mean everything, seems to be going wrong... So what is our 'normal' tendency? We start getting tenacious and bull-headed and push and shove to try to make it go the way we want. We keep pushing, and trying to make it happen, to make it go 'right'... which is usually a futile experiment. Somewhat like trying to make the river flow upstream.
What is it in our make-up that induces us to behave that way? We want to have our own way... we want to be right... we want to feel like we are in charge and that things are going exactly the way we want them to... Yet, what is the reality behind this attitude? Is our motivation due to insecurity? Is it a feeling that if we don't hang on tightly to control, that everything will fall apart? Is it a fear that things may not work out in our favor if we don't try to control the outcome?
Trusting In Something or Someone Other Than Ourselves
Basically, the cause of this attitude seems to stem from a lack of trust in the Universe (or God, the Force, or Life, or whatever you choose to call that Higher Power). We don't trust that someone (or something) else may know what is best for us... We don't trust that there is an innate intelligence in everything and everyone, and that if we simply let go, things will work out exactly in Divine order.
Now, I am not advocating sitting back and doing nothing at all because 'the Universe will handle it'. What I am talking about is active let-go... Seems like an oxymoron? Maybe, maybe not. Here's an example:
Years ago, I participated in a Ropes course. The goal of this weekend workshop was to break through fears and to learn to trust ourselves and others. The first exercise was to close your eyes and let yourself fall backwards, trusting that the people lined up on each side of you would catch you. These people were "strangers" who were also participating in the workshop. It wasn't always easy to close your eyes and trust that someone would be there to catch you as you fell... That is active let-go... You close your eyes, you trust, and you let yourself go.
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Another part of the workshop involved a high-wire act... you know, like in the circus where you walk across a wire and then jump off to the trapeze bar hanging in the distance. I remember standing, it seemed for hours, up on that wire looking at that trapeze bar and arguing with the voices in my head... You know the ones: "I can't do it" "Yes, I can" "I'm scared" "It's safe" "What if I fail and don't make it" "Come on, do it!"... It seemed that my feet were cemented to the wire on which I stood (way up in the air) making it impossible for me to let go and jump towards the trapeze bar.
Now the crazy thing about this whole process is that I was securely harnessed to a "safety rope"... So even if I missed the trapeze bar, I would not fall to the ground. Yet my mind was petrified at the thought of letting go, not willing to trust myself to make the jump on target, and not willing to trust the safety rope tied to my waist. The active let-go came when I finally clenched my teeth and jumped...
The Ever-Present Safety Rope
In "real life" we may not see our safety-rope, yet it is always there. The Universe is always ready to catch us if we fall. Sometimes we think we're falling (failing), yet we're actually just changing action or location. Perhaps we are in an unhappy marriage, and the decision to divorce is actually the passport into a happier, healthier existence. Perhaps we are unhappy at our job, we don't get the promotion we wanted, or we get fired, and the safety-rope is that there is a much better job waiting for us around the corner.
When we find ourselves going against the current, or when we find that everything is going wrong in our life, we need to stop and ask ourselves what is really going on. Are we standing on the high wire, unwilling to trust and let go? Is the fear of the future so captivating that we are unwilling to trust that something better is always waiting around the corner, if we will only take the first step? We may be headed in the wrong direction and the Universe is trying to "straighten us out" by sending all kinds of challenges...
What's the Message Here?
We need to pay attention to the signals in our life. They are constantly there... When something is a struggle, there is a message there... Perhaps we need to handle the situation differently, perhaps we're at the wrong place at the wrong time, or the right place at the wrong time... Perhaps we need to change direction... A struggle or any challenge always comes with a gift -- a message, a lesson, a blessing.
Letting go means trusting that the process of life is always in balance and that whatever the outcome, it will be for the best. Active let-go, means following one's inner wisdom (or intuition) and doing what feels right, while trusting that whatever action one takes will bring us to a solution... whatever that may be.
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About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
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