I’m currently reading ‘The Dance’ by Oriah Mountain Dreamer but this is not a book that I’m reading in chapter order. Instead I’ve been letting a Higher Power guide me – opening the book randomly – and reading whatever is being offered in that moment.
Today’s reading started with the question above. I opened the book to read just at the point where I was getting agitated and exasperated with my pace. You know the questions we ask as to why “it’s” not happening fast enough.
My “its” include:
- weight loss
- working out the details to a process that I developed to help my clients
- getting into a rhythm of maintaining my garden
- and dare I admit – achieving perfection in all I’m doing.
Yes I know that perfection is a useless goal but part of me still battles with wanting to do things perfectly and be seen as a perfect person. It’s part of the price I have to pay – my penance almost because there’s part of me that doesn’t feel worthy of achievement and so I spend most of my time in self-improvement – honing and perfecting.
And then – just when I needed it most – this question. And if that wasn’t enough – she prods some more:
- Are you willing for just one moment to let go of all your dissatisfaction? Of all your suffering about how things are?
- Are you willing to let go of all the worry and tensions in your body and simply breathe?
- Are you willing to be happy?
Willing…an interesting word. “The more you operate from being willing, rather than from the surface complaints and nattering of Monkey Mind, the more conscious you become, the greater the transformations in your life.” So says Dr. Maria Nemeth author of ‘Mastering Life’s Energies: Simple Steps to a Luminous Life at Work and Play’.
Willing doesn’t mean that you know HOW TO – it just describes your state of being. It opens you up to the possibilities – to explore and to examine. It slows you down and interrupts the chatter in your head. “How long is this going to take? Will I ever lose this weight? Am I really sure that I can do this?”
And then I come across this paragraph which sums up the length and breadth of how I feel and tears surface:
When we believe that we are by our very nature deeply flawed – self-indulgent, selfish, judgmental, sinful – our efforts to fulfill our soul’s longing to live fully become efforts to control, chastise, reshape, improve, and change ourselves. Believing we are by nature lazy and unworthy, we believe we will not change, will not become the people we want to be unless we are pushed or forced by suffering to do so. Given this belief, we use methods that do not cultivate mercy and compassion for ourselves but rather foster a hardness toward our own suffering and the suffering of others who are failing to cur or rise above their basic nature. And in the face of these methods we do not learn to swim or dance or dream or be all we are. We do not really learn to love fully or allow ourselves to receive love freely. We’re too busy surviving.”
I found myself, just by the mere mention of the word “willing”, begin to soften up.
It will take practice I know, when self-flagellation is such an ingrained habit. When you can’t seem to allow compliments to slip into your consciousness less you get too cocky and stop working as hard. No time to acknowledge that I’m doing OK or I’m making progress…just need to put my shoulder to the wheel and never give up.
But I can remember that being willing opens me up to accept and appreciate where I am right now and know in that moment that there is enough and that …
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