As I step into this awkward phase that is the post-Christmas period, I’ve realised how my biggest challenge yet is not to dive in or run at the gate of the new year but to allow life to be soft.
Year after year, I’ve played through some version of trying to make structure out of this most-amorphous time of the year. Even though it can present some of my biggest health challenges ever, I’ve worked at making sense of what’s going on with my body, to come up with plans or hypotheses of recovery to see me through. Even when my body feels crashed-out exhausted and in pain before I even start my day (and I notice I am not the only one to feel incredibly tired this week) I tend towards forcing myself to “do” things, berate myself for not “doing” enough or fail to notice all that I “do” achieve in a day, which is a surprising lot (yet this shouldn’t matter since the part of me that even measures this needs to be decommissioned to get on board with the kind of softness that I am talking about). What I’m being invited – repeatedly – to allow is that the way I do things might have to be softer, more fluid, than at other times of the year for me to survive it (perhaps in proportion to how hard it is…a true yin and yang formation…rather than greeting hardness with more of the same); and that’s perfectly alright. As other family members struggle to get started with their busy year, I’m inviting them to look at it a whole new way and allow a new softness to dictate what gets done while not pushing and forcing through what their mind thinks “has” to be done; to allow softer currents to assert and carry them with more ease. Its yet another example of the yin and the yang renegotiating a new arrangement with each other; not a case of either one or the other asserting but both together, in unspoken collaboration. We innately know how to do this…just as soon as we surrender to it and get out of our fears around letting go!
Very good things have come out of all the previous years’ “projects” to recover myself through the hard months – these have been the big learning times of reclaiming my health – yet that was then and eras move on. I sense we are entering a different phase, en masse, where we get to capitalise on all we have deduced but will go further now if we allow ourselves to ride a softer, more intuitive, current. In my own case (the micro of the macro), I have to concede, there’s nowhere else for that rationalised project of recovery to go now, really; I’m well-versed in what to do to make me feel as comfortable as I can in the circumstance of winter’s hardness, knowing my body as I do and how sensitive I am to everything. There’s a sting in winter’s tail and the sun is still extremely active, for all we are tipping into solar minimum…and I feel it all run through me, yo-yoing sugar levels before I’ve done a thing with my day. One of the most potent gifts to come out of relentless health challenges has been the recognition that this has all been one giant invitation to love myself and when things get especially challenging, to quote Matt Kahn, I see how this is yet another reminder that, at times of struggle, “I deserve more love, not less”. This, in itself…with no further requirement for definition or an action plan…is all the healing antidote I really need to see me through and is the ultimate soft wave “coming in”.
And we are all subject to continuous waves of energy “coming in” to our biological reality, whether we make this conscious or not. Incredibly strong energies are pulsing our planet from within and without yet I can’t profess to know what they’re about – not really; yet I can assume they are for my highest evolution, they’re changing me whether I resist or try to make sense of them or just lie down on the lilo of them and float along the stream. In fact, I suspect I would get much more out of them if I stopped the pretence at having a say in how they impact me or assuming they are in conflict with what I really want. The fact that they lay me flat every year at this time seems like a very large clue; just lie down and float and we’ll take you where you need to be going, they seem to keep saying, yet that know-it-all part of me has kept asserting it knows better as it tries to press the over-ride button or get a handle on the outcome. When something already feels unrelenting and then we make it harder still with our resistance to it, how can the conflict that this gives rise to seem like the right thing to do? All the clues are in our body…we feel the abrasion, the exhaustion, the sheer ache of resistance, like walking through treacle or forever climbing hills.
When life feels hard, like a struggle, brittle to its edges, its routines a grind, our insistence upon taking hold of it, upon taking its reins and steering it, can drive it harder still, like a runaway carriage on a bumpy road headed for a cliff-edge. When we strive so relentlessly to make sense of something, to define it, conquer it and insist upon knowing what it wants of us, we make it into all those things we think it might be, manifesting what our minds conjure up (which is always as limited as our previous experiences). Its the particle and the wave of quantum theory; when we see a circumstance in any particular way, that’s what we manifest yet when we just allow it to pass through us – though we might not get to see it or define it – it remains the wave and it carries us through to unexpected outcomes.
So, when our bodies cleave so completely that we just have to lie down, to slow down, to STOP then its “yield and be soft” that we are being invited to consider. All of these things feel better almost the moment we succumb to them; and out of them I detect a whole other layer of possibility taking shape. This is not a surrender into doing nothing but, rather, a surrender into doing something…quite new!
So, lying awake in January’s morning gloom stressing about what we have to do today and how to do it when we feel drained and unmotivated; what’s the point in that? Or in panicking that we feel exhausted before we’ve even started our year; worried that there might be something wrong with us, that there’s something urgent we need to repair or attend to, not a moment to loose on some deadline, our head full of “what if”s and worst-case scenario-ing ourselves to oblivion; all a complete waste of time and very likely to manifest the very situations we are dreading. When we succumb to the universe’s rhythms and allow that, at this time of the year (perhaps now more than ever), our bodies are asking to go somewhat more slowly we are not – actually – giving in to our worst fears, allowing hell to break loose or free-falling into chaos.
Rather, we are showing some compassion to that part of ourselves that longs for softness and flux, allowing our most creative aspect to show itself over the parapet. When we allow ourselves to wake up half an hour later, to put down our work in the evenings, to SLEEP a lot, to take time out or away from our desk, to put off to another day what isn’t absolutely necessary for us to do now, to avoid too much structure, whip-cracking or goal-setting and just focus on what is in this moment…one moment at a time; recognising that hardness or tension whenever it comes up and choosing to let it go soft and limpid through the focus of our attention to it, we birth a completely new feeling. This new impulse is absolutely tangible as it is received by our ever-welcoming cells, which LOVE this kind of softness and drink it up like an elixir of life. It flowers up in us like a bloom opening in the first warmth of springtime and its gentle wave absorbs all the overwhelm, the pessimism and the feeling of drowning, becoming a sea of potential..all new potential that takes us somewhere we haven’t ever been before. All things will get done…that are meant to get done…and those that aren’t will be reabsorbed into the fabric of a new life, one that feels kinder and more aligned. This is HOW we receive the new wave that is coming in and, in its own way, it will achieve so much more than our rational get-to-it brains could ever have strategised into being. Its a quantum wave in action – taking us with it on one very huge quantum leap.
The topic of this post is yet another expression of a vast new wave that I sense coming in; one that is less about any kind of hard definition than anything we have become accustomed to in our old lives; including our concepts of “right and wrong” or anything to do with our conventional measures of time or achievement. What I achieve these days is something I’m prepared to take the longer view on rather than perpetuating the clock-watching version and my defined sense of “this is an OK way to be” and “that, therefore, isn’t” is dissolving a little more each day. I’ve never been more prepared to accept that there is no “wrong” and that I don’t have to be “right” about anything; something which has allowed me to reinterpret everything in a softer way, even pain. I’m prepared to drop all the hard definitions about how my body feels whilst listening to it more (one of those interesting paradoxes that garner your attention); so if it feels really resistant to a situation, I’m prepared to say that those feelings come first over any external situation that is trying to assert itself. I’m finding that the phrase “no, I don’t want to” is a useful ally and “yes, but not right now” is a close second. I’m prepared to assess each day, first, with my intuition and cream from the top of its tasks those that feel most aligned with where I happen to be; knowing (and trusting) they will all get done in perfect timing. Im succumbing to a preparedness to be led by the softness that is coming in rather than keep asserting myself – and losing out – to the perpetual battle with its stronger currents. I suppose you could say I’m relenting to the sense that there is something all-knowing that knows somewhat more about what is going on than me; that it has it all in hand and my best-interests at heart so I can get out of my own way – at last – and just take the ride. There’s such relief in that…knowing it will always carry me forwards and that I don’t always have to use my own weary legs!
A brilliant article by Kelly Brogan MD that I chanced upon yesterday feels closely related to this topic, exploring this new trend of not having to know or be right; I strongly recommend it if you are open to softening your perspectives some more.
“Making Peace With Pain” – Matt Kahn, The Great Awakening Retreat; this audio is right on topic (and, no surprise, it started playing spontaneously on my iPod just as I was finishing this post). Part of over 11 hours of audio from this particularly potent retreat, the 30 minute topic about reinventing your experience of pain was so powerful the first time I heard it and perfectly timed today. To paraphrase Matt, we don’t like pain because pain really hurts, it REALLY hurts; but we don’t have to experience it on its terms, which is to shut the door on it and put everything we’ve got into holding that door shut…and remarkable thing start to happen when we modify that reception.
In the past few years I’ve really changed my approach to January. Now I start my year at Halloween there’s no longer that sense that I must make resolutions and preparations at the start of the new calendar year, and because that year at Halloween starts with ‘dreaming’ it’s a much softer way into the year. I always found January gloomy after the festivities of yuletide and the return to work after the holidays, but now I see it as an opportunity to go back to the soft routines of the everyday.
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Brilliant way to rejig things Andrea…that’s how I am with winter solstice now which means I’m already into the new year before Christmas 🙂
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