Tag Archives: learning to let go

Up in the Air

yountville up in the air

Hindsight is definitely 20/20.

Every so often I go through a tough phase. Times when I feel like my life doesn’t match me, where things seem unnecessarily challenging and odd fitting. Over the last six months I felt like my life was up in the air. In a way I was floating, not sure where to land, hoping I wouldn’t come crashing down or drift off to somewhere undesirable. Due to lack of gas and the passion to ignite a powerful spark, it just seemed like I was becoming more and more susceptible to life’s twists and turns. Things began to feel out of my reach, out of my control. Important things, like where to live. During that time I was looking for a rental in Northern California, and I just couldn’t find one. Nothing seemed like a match and nothing felt right. I was considering moving back to New York, and I even contacted an old friend to make possible arrangements. Until, the perfect opportunity crossed my path. On April 1st (which last last weekend — so sorry I didn’t write a blog post! for any of you that were wondering), I made my move. I moved to Yountville, California. I had no idea I would eventually move to the Napa Valley, or hear the sound of hot air balloons roaring for lift-off as my dog and I walk around the neighborhood. A whole array of new sounds, sights and smells. It’s beautiful here, and the experience is all very dream like.

From personal experience, I feel that we can never know what’s in store for us. Just as we think we have it all figured out, life is there to laugh. To present challenges. To help us grow and demand that we see differently. All we can do is be boldly ready. Every significant move in my life was a mystery. The right people, the right time, the right moment. Magic. I could have never mapped it out. The same goes for every regrettable decision I’ve ever made. I can look back and analyze everything, nitpicking what went right or wrong, and wonder how or why. But when I look back on it, when I look at it all in context, it seems so obvious. They were all important pieces to one grand puzzle. And no series of events was complete without the other. Everything was needed for my evolution and development.

As I get older I see that life is a practice of surrender. And the underpinning of that is gratitude. To be able to see everything as magic. As play. As growth. As humility. As a gift that we get to be part of. Every step is important. Everyone is important. To be boldly ready. To watch. To be moved. To be loved. It’s all very simple when we see it from a grander view. The key to that is letting go. To untether ourselves from our fears, or our need to be in control, or to have things unfold as we had planned, or to live up to an image we imagined for ourselves. Nothing is wrong with living up to our highest ideals or inherited paradigms, but at what cost?

I remember a hike I did in the Himalayas. This was years ago, in 2000. I began the journey with so many ideas, of myself and of the climb. When it was over I was nothing. Blank, empty, unsightly, and vulnerable. I was so humble and so grateful. Everything was good enough! Everything was beautiful! Everything was a gift! My feet were blistered, pus filled and swollen. I could not walk without taking every step into gentle consideration. It was also very clear to me that nor the hike or what was beyond the hike, was possible without the loving help and generosity of others.

Life is best well lived. For everyone that means something different. But I do think it takes faith in something beyond our humanness; beyond our brain, blood, flesh and bones. Death awaits each and every one of us. Death is actually quite near. And on that day, we will be humble. We will surrender, and know that we are nothing without the help of others. And that our lives are beyond our control. We can dream big and work hard and create copiously, but we still need the blessing of the Universe and everyone in it. Instead of waiting to realize this, it’s best to embrace it now. To live each day as an eye-opening piece to a magnificent puzzle. And to have fun playing the game. And to see what there is to see. To enjoy it all, even the challenging twists and turns. It’s easier said than done! Trust me, I know. I’m still ‘working’ on it. It’s all a practice. So we don’t need to worry about doing it perfectly. It’s all just an opportunity to let go. To rise up and fully live.

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Filed under letting go, sunday is for lovers, yountville

The Enormous Dance of Stuff

cosmic-dance-gregg-echols-ayahuasca-paintings

Sometimes it’s all too much. Don’t you feel that way? I feel like everyone I know is overloaded with stuff. Stuff can be anything, but it’s mostly desires. Desires past and desires present. I know people with great homes, great jobs, great partners, that were all a part of past desires. But now the enthusiasm for these past desires have been replaced by new desires. And those things, people, or places that were once so important, or so exciting, now seem in the way of achieving the new desires. Why do we need so much? Why do we have so much? Why does it take so much to achieve or destroy (get rid of, change, swap) our desires? Do you know anyone selling their property? What about looking to buy property? Or leaving a partnership/relationship? Or seeking a new one? What about changing careers? I do. And I can tell you right now, it’s a b*tch. So why do we keep doing it to ourselves?

I know Buddhists think that being desireless is the path to enlightenment. But I’ll leave that for another blog post. For now let’s just work with the fact that we have desires, and to be human and desireless feels pretty impossible for most of us. Some might ask, “Isn’t having desires part of being human? Doesn’t having desires make us human? Or is that emotions? Is having emotions what makes us human?” I can tell you right now that plenty of plants and puppies want and emote. So we are obviously not special in that department. [If you don’t believe that plants have feelings or wants, read The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins & Christopher Bird.] So what is it then? Why are we filled with insatiable desire? And why does it cause us to suffer?

I believe that who we are is infinite. And in the words of Buckminster Fuller; who we are is 99% invisible. [“Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.” – Buckminster Fuller] I believe that we are creators. So why is this need to constantly create viewed as painful desires instead of plain ol’ creativity? Do you have any idea how many times a sculptor scraps an idea? Or molds one face into another? What about an interior designer? We can only imagine how many times they might change a room. So why is it in a sense effortless for them to be who they are and almost painful for us to be who we are?

I think it’s not so much the desire that is causing the trouble, but the attachment to it, as well as the meaning we’ve plastered all over it. And if we add impatience on top of it, we have some real suffering (or work) laid out for us. Let’s go back to that first statement I made about homes, partnerships and careers. How many of those desires were rushed because the one that wanted them was feeling impatient at the time? They needed them now, or for various reasons felt that it was now or never.

I think we see who we are in this person, place, or thing we want so bad. We want to feel like we know who we are, (and can show who we are to others), as well as feel in control of who we are. And we don’t want to wait another minute for it! But what about the creator? The designer, the artist I talked about? If we are just like them, (and we are), we should know that we are only the instrument. We are the vessel for creative energy to flow through. If we think like Michelangelo, if we work to set what we are creating free, isn’t that so much more empowering? [“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo] Think about it. We are setting this house, this partner, this career we want (or don’t want) free! Creating & destroying (letting go) become equal partners; one helping the other. If we view things in this way, there is no attachment. And why bother with impatience. This thing that we are creating or letting go is its own thing. It happens on its own time. No rush. It’s not ours to give or take, we’re only part of the energy that moves it.

We can exhale. We can give ourselves a much needed break and take all of the pressure off. This mad rush of things in our life or this life of things is just a dance. Let’s step back and enjoy being moved as much as we love to move things. This enormous dance of stuff is part of an even bigger dance. The most magnificent & extraordinary dance you can imagine. So let’s let go of who is doing what, and let’s trust that we are doing it together. We are one, and we are all moving. As long as we are movin’ & groovin’ as we set things free (including ourselves), there is nothing to worry about. The more we feel in alignment, the less stuff we will need or feel burdened by. I write these things not because I do them effortlessly, but because I don’t. I had the craziest week this week. Full of push & pull, unnecessary thinking, and heels stuck firmly in the ground. I definitely wasn’t dancing. And if I felt moved, it was moved to tears. I had to step back and see what there was to see. This blog post is me taking another look and sharing the view. I feel so much better now. I can let go and enjoy the dance.

[Today’s blog post was written and posted back in May 2011.]

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Filed under finding balance, fine-tuning life, getting clear