by Mary O’Malley: Life can turn on a dime…
Who would’ve thought, just a couple of months ago, cities all over the world would be shut down with businesses closed, streets empty and parks eerily quiet? When life gets this challenging, we have a tendency to look for something or someone to blame. But at some level, we know that life’s really challenging curve-balls are out of our control. And, because you are reading this blog, there is a part of you that also knows that the great challenges of our lives always come bearing gifts. The title of my latest book points to this truth – What’s in the Way IS the Way!
When life is as difficult as it is for most of us right now – financially, health wise, worry for our love ones – it can be challenging in the light of day to access the truth that life is an intelligent process and is giving us the exact set of experiences we need in order to become smarter than the world of struggle. But in the middle of the night, when there is nothing to distract our busy minds, they can go on overload, creating all sorts of dark scenarios of what is to come. We get overwhelmed by shadowy emotions that lie deep inside, just waiting for the right time to arise and take over our life.
During challenging times, fear can ensnare us in its web and so too can shame. These feelings are generated from the idea that if we control life, doing it ‘right’, then everything will be okay. This promise of control says, “If only I work very, very hard, be the right kind of person, maybe think more positive thoughts and even meditate more, then finally life will be okay and I will be okay.”
If you doubt you are sometimes caught in these kinds of stories, think of when you were in school and how hard you tried to wear the right clothes, to be a part of the most sought after team, to be accepted by the cool kids. This doesn’t just go away when we become an adult. In fact, this belief that we are in control, and that we have to do life and do it right (and we’re not doing it right enough), truly influences us from underneath our everyday awareness.
This obsession with doing life became firmly implanted inside of each one of us as we grew up and off to the races we went, believing that if we just control ourselves and life then everything will finally be okay. No detail was small enough to be managed. No problem was too insignificant to obsess over. But, as that famous Yiddish proverb says, “We plan, God laughs.”
Just for a moment, let go of reading these words, and simply open to your life as it is right now. Hear it, sense it, feel it. If you did pause to connect, you were opening into the power of simply being. Because we have lived in doing life for most of our lives, we have lost sight of the phenomenal power of simply being. We haven’t yet learned that when we relax into life, we become a part of the dance of life, which has been going on long before we arrived and will go on long after we have gone. And when we relax into the dance, we access the wellspring of wisdom inside of us, which guides us unfailingly in every single moment of our lives.
So, I invite you to cultivate moments where you let go of the doing mode and move into simply being. This could happen while drinking your morning cup of tea and instead of thinking about other things, you actually taste it, feel its warmth slide down your throat and smell its fragrance. This could also happen with your morning shower, recognizing the preciousness of running water in your house. (And remembering all the millions of people on this planet that don’t). It could happen every morning before you get out of bed and rather than rushing into your day, you breathe yourself into fully relaxing and allowing the bed to hold you. And then you find and acknowledge three distinctly different sensations in your body. When you gift yourself with these kinds of moments, you are pulling your attention out of your thoughts, which can easily take over the day, and grounding yourself right here in the only moment that matters – now.
Yes, the momentum of doing and becoming is very strong. But moments of being truly matter and they accumulate. And one day the creative and nourishing power of being will become your primary way of engaging with life. It finally makes sense to you that all your accomplishing has never brought you the deep peace and satisfaction, which comes from connecting with yourself, with nature, with other people, with life itself in the only moment that matters – now.