From my book ‘When Everyone Shines But You’
It is easy to get lost in the daily irritations of comparing yourself with others. This constant battle can be incredibly tiresome. In the beginning most of what you understand is all in the intellect, but experiencing something is an entirely different matter. Knowing that life changes, that life moves and changes exactly when it needs to, often doesn’t bring you any comfort when trapped in a cycle of ‘wanting and desiring’ instead of accepting and allowing ‘what is’.
You get caught in a web of your own making. Your desire to be free of suffering, your desire to feel less restricted internally or externally, can make change seem extremely slow going.
You get trapped between two worlds. In the one world you see that life naturally evolves; life naturally expands, and that you naturally change and grow. You understand that nothing comes to you until it’s time. And you know this is an incredibly freeing thought, a freeing feeling. But you live in another world, where you understand the freedom you desire, but a part of you doesn’t believe or trust the natural way of the world and you still hang on, trying to make things different.
You try to be limitless; you try to be free; you try to let go of control; you try to trust. And all of these attempts are fruitless, because all of them are doing – not being. All of them are effort – not effortless. You are not yet ready to let go of your attachment to outcome; you are not yet ready to let go of the steering wheel of life and trust in the bigger picture, the natural flow of the river of your own life. And so you struggle against the current; you ride that raft down the rapids and use your paddle to try to steer away from boulders and away from what seems like the impending doom of the waterfall you are about to go over. Yet if you surrender to ‘what is’ the journey of your life becomes more a graceful flow than a struggle to control.
And how do you surrender?
How do you surrender when every cell of your being is screaming that your life is not working and that you need to do something to make it work? How do you surrender in that moment when jealousies, envy, doubt, rage, resentment all rise up inside you? You accept that you are resisting letting go; you accept that perhaps you are not yet ready to take your hands off the steering wheel; you accept this with kindness to who you are in the moment, being gentle and tender instead of beating yourself over the head with the ‘Must hurry up, time is of the essence, everyone is passing me by’ train of thought.
You take a step back, a moment of pause, to breathe and look around. You look to see if you are getting caught up in the tidal wave of humanity also rushing to fix, to control their outer world. You slow right down and pause. You ask yourself what are you doing and why? Are you trying to win over others? Trying to outwit your competitors? Beat those who seem to be doing well? Prove others wrong?
What if stopping in the moment gave you exactly what you were searching for all along? Freedom.
Freedom doesn’t mean you have a lot of money in the bank; freedom doesn’t mean you have lots of time on your hands; freedom doesn’t mean you have the perfect relationship, job or home. When you pause, give yourself that breathing space, allow yourself to be in that moment, you naturally feel this expansion inside that feels infinitely free, open and calm.
You do not give yourself enough moments. It is time this all changed. You may feel that if you slow down, if you take your eyes off the prize, the goal, the outcome, that it will pass you by. But what if the prize, the goal, the outcome was not what you wanted anyway? What if what you really wanted was a sense of value, a sense of worth and deserving? Yet, these things you were attached to could never bring this anyway, and are the biggest illusion created by your desire to belong, your desire for ease.
Some of you may feel that if you don’t do something soon to change your life, you will be left by the roadside, alone, homeless and in despair. But is the despair not there as you reach and grapple to create or manifest your desires through your own effort and will? What happens if or when those things appear in your life? Joy? Peace? Or a temporary sense of relief?
You Want A Relief From ‘Wanting’
What if it is relief from the wanting you have been craving for so long, not the outcome, but the relief from the constant wanting. This feeling that if you just fulfil x, y, z, you will feel better. Perhaps you will feel better, but only for a moment, and the wanting begins again.
Perhaps this moment is not only all that you have, but is the only place where relief can be found – consistent, freeing relief. Are you willing to take the risk and stop and slow down? Can you give yourself a break from racing to the finish line in life?
Don’t worry about your age, you may be 20, 30, 40, 60, 70 or beyond. Life knows no limits. Life has no age. The tree goes through many seasons. It grows, flourishes, drops its leaves and retreats into itself in the winter to conserve energy. In each moment, being born and dying to the present moment. The tree doesn’t worry that it will never make another flower or leaf if it doesn’t hurry up, because it has been on this planet for a long time. It knows no time. Only humans define their experiences in relationship to time, and humans are here to transform this way of being back to ‘no time’.
God, the universe, life, whatever name you give to the bigger picture, is experiencing itself through you as a human being. A journey from effortlessness, playfulness, freedom, to human doing, suffering and beyond. You can all return to the effortlessness, playfulness, freedom and being, by allowing your moment-by-moment experience, allowing your feelings of pain, suffering, rage, anger and envy to be felt, observed and tenderly allowed. No more self-beating, no more rushing against the tide, no more trying to steer that canoe, for life knows the way, always has and always will.
You can try to control or create your life experiences, but it’s far better to surrender to the flow and allow life to give you the perfect moments for your soul to expand and grow. Often life brings you opportunities and experiences you may never have considered before, and provides you with new knowledge, wisdom and inspiration that you may have resisted by trying to control.
Being in the flow, you see that all your emotions are gifts, those you perceive to be ‘bad’ often being the greatest gifts, once you listen to what they have to say. You do this not through words, but through witnessing, through warmly holding a space for your humanity to be held and lovingly embraced.
Know that what you need to do, know and be will come to you at the exact time it needs to take place. No need to remember how, or find out why, as life takes care of itself once you allow it to. This is by far the hardest thing for you to take in.
You are taught that surrendering and letting go is like giving up and not participating in life. You are told that you must be ‘doing‘ all of the time. Yet this constant doing is not what brings peace. It is in ‘being human’ that will bring peace. And this begins with all of you through grace and flow.
If what you are doing right now is not bringing you peace, stop what you are doing. If you are in a job that you hate and you feel unable to leave it, you can still stop in the moment anytime, be with the flow of your feelings that are bubbling up inside you. If the activities you choose are filling your time; are distracting you from being with these feelings, ask yourself why? And then make new choices.
What do you want and why do you want it? What is the real reason you want that job, that house, that relationship? What is the real reason that you are addicted to that chocolate, that drug; that drink? Can you face you, and let you be held with compassion even in the midst of pain and suffering? Allowing the jealousy, the ‘life’s unfair’, the resentment and the rage to have your full presence and give it your full attention?
Are you willing to take the chance to choose a new way of living? If your way has not worked so far in bringing you a sense of freedom and peace, what have you got to lose to surrender and drop into life’s flow, and allow?
Now is the only time you have.
Change is happening.
Give up your desire to control the world.