Saturday, March 6, 2010

Going with the flow

When I was a kid I had absolutely no sense of having any limitations. I was supremely confident and I simply never doubted for a second that I would be able to excel at anything to which I had set my mind. And so it was! People used to remark that I was “charmed” because it really seemed as if I could do anything whatsoever that I chose to do. I used to have a feeling, which I can still remember vividly from so many years ago. It was a feeling of being “in the flow” of things. I wasn’t trying or fighting or struggling – I simply decided to do something that looked like a fun thing to do, and then I did it – excellently! I didn’t have any ego or arrogance about being excellent, nor did I believe that I was somehow special or different. I never really thought about those things. If anything, I suppose that I believed this was simply the natural way for things to be - for me to be. And actually I was rather detached from the outcome of the things I set out to do. The prizes and awards were really very unimportant (and sometimes rather embarrassing!) to me. I suspect it was more about the process of doing things that were fun and interesting rather than achieving any desired outcome or the resultant accolades.

But somewhere in my teens I started to attach my ego to the things I accomplished; it started to become important to me to achieve, and to receive affirmation and recognition for achieving. And that is exactly the point at which life started to become more of a struggle for me. Things that had previously seemed effortless now took a whole lot more effort and energy and became difficult to achieve. In fact, I even started to attach my ego to the fact that I was able to accomplish things that were considered a challenge. However, self-doubt and fear that perhaps I would not achieve the standards and therefore the recognition that I desired, also started to manifest.

As an adult my ego-reality had become that I had to work really hard and long hours and show a whole lot of dedication, perseverance and resourcefulness and then I would achieve most of what I had set out to achieve. But, even when I achieved my goals, my elation was always tinged by a whisper of fear that perhaps next time I would not be able to achieve the same success. After all, you’re only as successful as your last deal, right? Life is just an ongoing struggle, isn’t it? Well… I’m not so sure of either of these statements any more!

Lately I’ve been asking myself whether life really needs to be a continual exhausting struggle or whether there is another way of being. Is it possible to recapture that feeling of effortlessness, of being in the flow, which I remember from my childhood? Wouldn’t it be great to have fun in the moment and really enjoy the process rather than obsessing about the outcome all the time?

These questions are particularly pertinent to me as I am experiencing the transition from an egocentric mode of being to a more heart-centric mode of being. My heart tells me to set my intent and then to relinquish attachment to the outcome and simply be present, enjoying the NOW. My ego tells me this is absolute BS! How will anything ever be accomplished without constant, focused attention to detail and endless driving? The difficulty is that the reason I now have the luxury of 2 years in which to find my purpose and to express my heartsong is that I have been rather successful at the egocentric mode of being! And when something has really worked very well, it is extremely difficult to give up on it and try something else. Particularly when the pressure increases (for example when our house is taking longer to sell than we had anticipated or when I contemplate the endless to-do lists required to move from the city to the country).

Of course we all know that when the stress levels increase, we tend to fall back on the old coping mechanisms, so, I have found myself applying all the strategies and techniques that have enabled me to be a success in the corporate world to my transition to the forest. And, to be perfectly honest, it’s simply not working! Which is hardly surprising, if one thinks about it for a minute. How can I be in my heart if my ego is forever trying to micro-manage every single detail of this transition? The reality is that all I am doing is causing a whole world of pain and suffering for myself, as I get increasingly frustrated and annoyed when things aren’t working out according to the schedule and plan, as set by my ego.

But, when I do relinquish control, bring myself present to this moment NOW and simply allow things to be what they are, then suddenly… miraculously… things start to fall into place. Suddenly the impossible is completely do-able. Suddenly I start to see the absolute perfection of the way things are working out, which is: far more joyfully and perfectly than my limited ego-plan would have been able to engineer.

I suspect that it is simply a choice between whether to struggle and suffer and work myself to a standstill or whether to stand back, view the whole picture and stay open to the miraculous. If I am unable to see the perfection of this moment now, then perhaps I am simply standing too close to the picture? Doesn’t it make a whole lot more sense to relax and remain in the flow rather than to struggle and fight for ego-control?

So, here’s how I think it works for me. I very clearly set my intent as to what I want by using my imagination to visualize the desired outcome, spending time on imagining the way I would feel if it were already true and accomplished. Then, I take care of the minimal admin (doing) that is required for it to happen, relinquish control and attachment to the outcome and sit back and enjoy the ride. And, amazingly, miracles ensue.

And they truly do. Since taking the decision to create my reality in this fashion, our house, which has been on the market for 4 months, has sold at a really great price and several other long-outstanding elements of our new life have fallen effortlessly into place, often in delightfully surprising ways. In addition, I’m feeling far more relaxed and having far more fun this way.

Of course I always have the choice to make my life a difficult struggle, but I think I would prefer to take life, and myself, far less seriously. What about you?

Next: Self Sufficiency

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