Let’s talk about the polarity to resignation: control.
I recently received a question from a reader about how when she pushes herself to ‘figure things out’ she feels overwhelmed, anxious and eventually drained. Yet when she errs on the passive side she feels like she is not being proactive enough.
Can you relate? Do you work hard to make things happen until you are so exhausted that you throw in the towel of surrender (when really it’s resignation!)? And then start to panic because you are not doing enough so you throw yourself back into trying to make things happen?
Whenever we are bouncing between two extremes like being extremely proactive and being patiently passive, we end up getting nowhere because it’s impossible to really gain any momentum when our attitudes and behavior keep flip-flopping. I call this “penduluming” because it creates a back and forth in our consciousness, never giving us an opportunity to find an equilibrium.
Finding the balance between doing and being is a delicate one. We know the importance of letting go, yet control in the forms of certainty and planning is seductive – especially for all y’all do-ers and achievement junkies. Surrendering can feel quite unnatural and scary.
So which is a “better” approach: being extremely proactive or allowing things to happen organically? The answer is neither.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience. So unless you are going to go be a monk and meditate on a mountaintop all day long, becoming passive and allowing all things to happen organically is not an option. There is a level of doing required to take care of our basic needs. Plus, the infinite potential and creativity we have inspires a desire to co-create things in our life beyond just survival.
On the other hand, pushing ourselves to control things creates anxiety because our ego takes over and we forget that we are spiritual beings. We buy into the misunderstanding that it is all up to us, and set goals that we feel 100% responsible to identify and attain. Wet get super control-freaky. Then we tend to shut down because pushing ourselves as a form of motivation almost never works.
So what is the answer? It is the middle way: a balance of what I call aligned action and observant surrender.
Let’s start with examining aligned action. If you start to feel overwhelmed when you move into proactive mode, this generally means that your focus is either too big or too vague. It’s great to have a long-term vision, but if you are looking out too far ahead it’s natural to feel overwhelmed because your brain is trying to process all of the steps you have to take to get there. So instead of pushing and trying to make everything happen, ask yourself “What is one step I can take that is aligned with my long term vision?”
Now, if you are saying, “But I don’t know what my long term vision is!!!” that is not a problem. You don’t have to know the exact form it is going to take; all you need to know is the essence. For instance, you may not know what career you want but you do know the type of things you’d like to be experiencing in your job. So if creativity and collaborating with others are part of the essence, take an aligned action step today that puts you in the energetic experience of being creative and collaborative.
As you begin to take more aligned action steps, practice observant surrender. This is a process of letting things happen organically while being attuned to the feedback you are getting from the Universe. For example, if you keep taking aligned action steps toward getting a job in entertainment, however absolutely nothing is happening, simply observe that the form you are taking steps toward may not be the best container for the essence you are seeking to express. That is okay; it just means it’s time for a session with your inner guidance to reroute you a little bit. One of my most favorite prayers to practice observant surrender is: God please support me in knowing what my next step is and/or recognizing it when you put it in front of me. And bless me with remembering that everything is happening in perfect Divine Timing.
You don’t have to have it all figured out right now. Not everything is supposed to manifest at once.
Continue to take aligned action (one small step at a time!!!) and then practice observant surrender.
With so much love,
Christine Hassler has broken down the complex and overwhelming experience of recovering from disappointment into a step-by-step treatment plan in her new book Expectation Hangover. This book reveals the formula for how to process disappointment on the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual levels to immediately ease suffering. Instead of wallowing in regret, self-recrimination, or anger, we can see these experiences as catalysts for profound transformation and doorways that open to possibility. You can find more info on her website, and follow her on Twitter and FB.
Image courtesy of jarmoluk.