In life we often plow ahead and plow through everything. If we want to get it done, we will. We may bitch and moan about it, but there comes a point we will put our noses to the grindstone and we will take up the yoke of whatever “it” is and do the work. Whether it is in our work, with our friends, with our families, or cleaning the house, or doing the dishes. I know people where even if the car is making funny noises, they will continue to push the machine until it can’t go any further. Whatever it is, we all know that feeling. There were moments I undertook the entire journey of life like that. Constantly waiting for the shit of one day to simply fall on me and then I would figure how to uncover myself, shovel by shovel, until I could breathe again. And then I would do the same thing the next day. Or even if I was having a good day, I’d rush through it thinking I was still working for something better. I literally thought that was life: living every day prepared for the absolute worst, hoping there wouldn’t be too much to dig out of today, and then exhausting myself. I had no clue there was anything different. Many of us live like that and we think it’s normal. It is not.
I’ve had to come face to face with some personal demons over the last month. Things that I thought were simply part of my personality began to destroy my life and I had to evaluate if those things were really me or if they were just things I was doing because they were habit, part of the plowing ahead with the singular focus. I’m specifically talking about the control demon. Part of my issues is that I’ve always believed we have entire control of our lives in the respect that anything can be broken down to get to where we want to go. Yes, anyone can lose 100 pounds, or get their degree, or change a habit simply by breaking down the why they want it and taking the steps to get there. I stand by it, that is TRUE. But that doesn’t always mean it’s the right thing to do. It doesn’t always mean that the people around you feel the same way or will undertake the same changes and steps willingly. When you try to make them, even if it’s a goal you’ve agreed upon, that becomes control. I’ve also had to come to terms with the fact that not everything is in our control. Life will find a way to do what it needs to regardless of your steps or your plan. In fact, those moments have a funny way of making us question moving forward and wondering if we can do what we sought to.
So, in the middle of a break down about control, life being unfair, and quite frankly being hurt, I had a moment where a light went off for me: I’m not sure I love myself enough. I spend all this time working with people and telling them to take care of themselves and love themselves, I thought I was an example of it myself, only to find that I don’t know if I REALLY love me. I’ve wanted a certain kind of life and I did things for people hoping I would get something in return. I KNOW it’s the wrong thing now. All I needed to do was authentically be me and allow the right people to fall into my life. Like everything, I needed to take my hands off the wheel and go gently. I’ve been trying to drive 40 cars at one time, and even when I let someone else behind the wheel, I was still trying to tell them what to do. That isn’t living. But it all comes down to the fact that I don’t love myself enough to feel worthy that what I want will unfold so I’m trying to control the outcome. Sure, results sometimes happen, but it’s EXHAUSTING.
So while I was breaking down over my place, wondering if anything I’ve ever done has been real, I started to realize this isn’t something I can plow through. Finding authenticity is also about authentically listening to yourself and others. That means taking the time to hear yourself, hear the response in yourself to others, hear the response of the universe so you understand your feelings. It means being gentle. It isn’t about control at all. The flower doesn’t bloom because you pull at the roots or peel open the bulb. It blooms when you offer it what it needs and allow it space to grow. The same is true for you, for me, for the entire world. When we are gentle, we are showing trust that the universe knows what it’s doing and that, no matter what it looks like, all is as it should be. Gentle is not about letting go, it’s about setting the course and taking your hands off the wheel and nudging in the direction we need to go as the winds change. Gentle is one of the most powerful things you can be. It opens to the love we need, to the person we really are. Gentle is the answer when the world gets a little too tough.