I’ve been getting a little bound up about things lately. Nothing is particularly problematic, and my life is far from stressful, and yet, I find myself in a state of mild anxiety about certain things; little things, big things, anyTHING really. I’m not really talking about any particular fear that requires overcoming, but rather my default state of being which is to cling and grab life, to clutch and hold on for fear of what will happen if I just… let… go.
And here is the paradox for me: loving life and all it’s many opportunities and adventures SO MUCH that I fear I may not have enough of them or choose the wrong one or miss the REALLY good one, is just, well, kind of taking the fun out of it all. So obviously, operating on this level of control, that I must act, scheme and manage my way through this wonderful life of mine, is just, well, insane.
AND YET, another paradox is that without taking action, planning and having goals to achieve, does that mean I sit around twiddling my thumbs and staring at my belly button, doing nothing? Obviously that would be slightly insane too…
So I guess when I refer to ‘letting go’, I’m talking about having faith that things will turn out as they are meant to, not necessarily as I imagine them to be, but as the universe, or God, or the divine source that powers me, you, the birds, tides and trees sees fit.
I’m not sure why I seem to believe that I could do a better job of my life than the very source of my existence, who knows me better than I know me, who understands my true nature better than I ever will and who does a perfectly excellent job of circling the earth around the sun. I am not sure what part of my resume of blunders, mistakes, failures and successes deems me fit to manage things instead?
“Oh thank you, universal power, yes, yes, you did a great job with the whole stars, planets, mountains, oceans thing, really, I’m a fan of your work, I am, but when it comes to my life, I got this one. Thanks anyway!”
I mean, on one hand it’s kind of egotistical to think I know what’s best for me, and on the other, I believe we are all an expression of that universal power; we are all one and the same really, so if that’s the case then maybe I do actually have a clue how to run my life.
Hmm… confused? Well, me too…
Because I know there is this sweet spot of existence, where things feel in alignment and everything just… flows. I know this because I have experienced it. I have experienced freedom from worry and fear, not because of external circumstances, but because of an internal state of being that comes from trusting that a power greater than myself (the ‘me’ my human pea brain identifies with) has got everything handled.
Call it trust, faith, love, or acceptance, but I know there is a place of letting go I can get to when I finally get sick of trying to run the show.
And I’d like a bit more of it, thank you very much. I just gotta remember how I got there last time.
On a practical level, it means asking to be led each day. Rather than having the world’s (and my) problems sorted out by the time I get to the coffee machine each morning, it means asking for guidance instead, to accept whatever comes my way, and to make decisions in a spirit of truth, love and service (that includes service to myself, yippee!).
Kind of a ‘thy will, not mine, be done,’ which may seem a bit strange to some, but for me, I know from experience my day goes so much better when I start it in that spirit. I haven’t been doing that much lately, which is probably why I’m feeling a little burnt out by my own controlling desires. I know I’m not really in control, I just like to ignore that fact sometimes, but it always leads me back to being fed up and ready to let go again.
I came across this talk by Alan Watts last week, aptly titled ‘Let Go of Controlling Everything’ and just listening to it filled me with a huge sense of relief. He talked about the fact that we don’t need to tell our hair to grow or organs to function, and that we are perfectly capable of delegating those tasks, so why not everything else? It made perfect sense to me, even though I know it’s easier said than done.
For example, I started writing a book, and I think it’s something I really want, but the problem is, actually writing the damn thing (!). This afternoon I sat down for the first time in well over a month, re-read what I’ve written so far, deemed it absolute junk, wrote a clunky paragraph which was like drawing blood from a stone and proceeded to become very depressed that I can’t seem to be able to do this ONE THING I REALLY WANT TO DO.
But you see, I was then compelled to write this, which has been on my mind for a while, so maybe this was really the thing I was meant to write today, and if that’s the case then maybe the rest of my life will follow suit. After all, that’s been the way it’s gone so far. The things that were meant to happen have only happened when I’ve truly been ready for them, not when I thought they should.
There are so many quotes and sayings in the spirit of letting go, and an equal number espousing the importance of taking action. I guess that’s the paradox; letting go is a state of mind and heart, it doesn’t mean doing nothing but rather trusting that, in the end, things will work out as they are meant to. Acting with confidence that whatever the outcome, it will be right.
Perhaps it is also being grateful for the little things we experience on the journey towards achieving our goals, and not being blinded by the brightness of our glittering dreams and future plans. To walk our path with confidence, knowing that wherever it leads us will be the right way; perhaps that’s the true art of letting go.
I have a feeling it’s going to take me a lifetime to master it, if I ever do. But I’m going to start practicing right now.
Let’s see what happens.
(Yes, that’s me jumping out of a plane, and yes, I will be using these photos repeatedly because… I jumped out of a plane yo!!!)
Artwork is by Tyrhone @ Eye Pudding.
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