12 July, 2009

upstream or downstream?

I’ve reached a point in my life where I realize, with a certain level of practiced detachment, that I have no control.

Let me clarify.I have no control over anyone but myself.Of course, you say, we all know that.We all know that none of us have any control over anyone but ourselves.And to that I’d say, well yes, you, we, are all consciously aware of it, but how many of us actually know it?

Not too many.

For those of you who are familiar with my blog, you are aware, more or less, with the journey that I’ve been on for the last several years.My life has been a series of lessons, of trials and tribulations if you will, through which I believe the universe has been guiding me ever closer to the source of my purpose.

Part of that journey has been a series of releases.Release. Letting go. Pruning.Call it what you will, but it’s been an ongoing process of studying and surveying what is important and why it is important.Getting to the bottom of what really matters and why.And in getting to the bottom of what is truly and essentially important in my life and leaving the superfluous by the wayside.

In the process of survey, question and release, there are items that come to the forefront that require additional thought and processing.This ‘should’ be important by society’s standards, but isn’t important to me… why?Why do I allow this person or this situation to continually vex me?What part in that continued frustration do I allow myself to, either consciously or subconsciously, play?

At what point is it okay to let go of anything that isn’t beneficial or fulfilling?How brave or courageous do we have to be to not only let go of those issues, but also of other people’s expectations of us in any given scenario?

How hard is it to relinquish the control that others attempt to have over us and be our authentic selves?

Buddhists have a philosophy/theory that Westerners refer to as practiced detachment.While going through my divorce, I became quite the student of practiced detachment, as it allowed me to deal with my now ex-husband without completely losing my mind.In the process of learning to cope with him on my own, through detachment, I also found a strong well of compassion for him, and for myself.I began to see how little control I had over anything outside of my own physical body and mind, and how much control he was trying to exert over our small situation.

You might ask how detachment and compassion can even be related.I certainly did.How can I feel compassion for this man who could make me cry with one glance, and yet, after much practice, detach myself from situations involving him in an instant, allowing me to think rationally and calmly?Doesn’t detachment infer some level of lack of compassion?No.Not at all.Studied detachment, which differs greatly from aloofness, allows you to take a step back, so to speak, to look at the situation/person/whatever, without emotional/mental issues that can cloud the judgment: possessiveness, defensiveness, jealousy, and passive aggressive behaviors, just to name a few.

What I began to see was that nothing I could ever do would have any effect on this man.

I had no control.

It was an earth-shattering revelation for me.Whaddya mean I have no control?I’m intelligent, witty and can argue anything with anyone.Yes, that’s all fine and good, but I still have no control.Nothing I do, NOTHING I could ever do, in attempting to control this man, or this situation, will ever work.

It was maddening, frightening, and yet utterly and completely liberating.

I sat back and pondered, why was I arguing to win?Win what? The marriage was already over; there was no value to proving a point other than fighting to be right.But…at what cost did I want to be right?

So, I stopped trying to swim upstream. What does that mean?I didn’t know at the time, I just knew that I didn’t want to fight anymore.I didn’t want to feel anger and resentment and hostility, towards anyone.I had had enough.Just because I knew I could be right, didn’t mean that I should be right, or that being right was worth the cost I had to pay.I was bone-weary of feeling what I thought was righteous and justifiable anger and resentment, but then feeling beat all to hell and back after proving my point of being right.

The only person I had control over was myself, and I made the conscious choice to not continue to swim upstream.Please don’t misunderstand, there were other control issues in my life.For the majority of my life, I lived life on someone else’s terms, living up to other’s expectations.When I started having these self-realizations about compassion and control and detachment and a million other things, I truly started seeing everyone, everything in my life in a different light. Others would try and tell me what they felt I was doing wrong, based on societal views, or lifelong views or their own personal expectations of me.

Quite simply, I didn’t want to hear it anymore.

It took a long time for me to both consciously understand and realize that I can be my highest, best self, and do it the way that I want to do it.I don’t have to follow anyone else’s conventions or theories to get there.I have to be still and listen.In the silence that follows, I have to actually hear my heart.In actually listening to my heart speak, I have to allow my intuition room to breathe and react and l have to listen to it as well.

For me, right now, in this moment, it’s all about not swimming upstream anymore.There’s a larger, metaphysical lesson I could go into here about vibrational energy and the laws of attraction and source energy, but I won’t.You can learn more about vibrational source energy and the laws of attraction, here.( I will briefly add this disclaimer.. it you are new to metaphysics, this all could sound a little weird, but if you give it a chance, it will probably make sense to you). Short version is this, when you consciously want something, when you positively affirm it in your continued thoughts on the subject, the universe/source energy hears you. When it hears you, it begins to actively work to give to you that which you want most.However, more often than not, we are the largest impediment to getting to where we want to be.We, most of us anyway, live life on someone else’s terms. We fight, upstream, to get where we are ‘supposed’ to go. To where other’s have told us we are meant to be.

Have you ever felt unhappy or beat up, or wondering why you are doing what you’re doing?Wondering to what end you continue to trudge in what has become the daily direction of your life?That’s what swimming upstream feels like.

When I stopped fighting upstream, against my natural current, I didn’t do anything drastic.I didn’t start immediately swimming downstream.I just let go of the fight.I relinquished control over those things/people/situations I can’t control, namely, everything and everyone outside of my physical mind/body.I still go to work, but I don’t stress over the people and situations that use to drive me batty. I still pay my bills, but I don’t stress over what I can’t pay.I can only do what I can do. I still parent my children, but I also am aware that, especially for my older kids, their path is their own.Outside of a guiding hand and love and compassion, they are on their own journey and as such, are out of my control.

What I’m finding, as I am guided downstream, is that life is easier.I’m living a more gentle life and as such, I’m happier.Life isn’t such a fight all the time.I’m being guided, when I listen, towards those things that truly make my heart and my soul, sing.I’m more in my element and able to stay a step removed from drama and doubt and worry. I see it, I acknowledge those situations for what they are, but I do my best to not consciously engage in the drama and the doubt and the worry.Why? Because I have no control over any of it, outside of my own self and my own actions. I can only control my responses to any given stimuli.

I’m still not actively swimming downstream. I’m going with the flow, if you will. I let go.And my life is still moving along at a fairly rapid pace, only this time, it’s moving more in the direction of my vibrational energy.As such, I get through my days feeling a hell of a lot less beat up.

And you know what?It feels kinda good to have no control…

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