I’m not sure when I broke through, but I realized it after Yin yoga on Sunday night. After an all day session of teacher training that started with a heated 75 minute Power Flow, Yin did what it does to me most of the time…it put me to sleep. As I lay there folded over on my blocks in Deer pose, I was dreaming that I was going to be called on for a answer that I couldn’t give, because I was asleep! Besides the sleep being so dreamy and appreciated, I realized, as we talked through the sequence after class with the teacher (another part of teacher training), that I have turned a corner in my life and truly know how to surrender…once again bringing the near daily tears to my eyes.
Surrender doesn’t happen because everything is exactly how I want it or because I have some checklist that has finally been attained. It’s definitely not because I’ve somehow become immune to challenging, or worse, harmful things happening to me or the people I love, something this life will never assure us. That fearful feeling of something dreadful happening was what brought me so much anxiety for many years after Matthew’s near drowning accident. For so long, I would have a burst of fear that would make me leap from my seat and go to find my kids to see that everything was ok. That feeling was usually not instigated by any major event, but rather an unexplained and irrational shock up my spine that annoyed people around me and probably made me look a bit crazy. It's taken a lot of work and strength over time to be able to release from that feeling but it has giving me so much freedom to choose and work to create a life that I see for myself. Anxiety is paralyzing, surrender is freedom.
These days though, my energy and focus is going into pursuing both what I love and what challenges me, and I have high hopes that what it produces overflows for the people around me. I attribute this higher energy in large part to this ability to surrender and not waste time on things that are out of my control. I’m trying to define what I have learned that has changed my mindset and, as usual, it can be easily stated, even if not entirely simple to follow.
1. Make choices for what I want to happen, rather than what I am trying to avoid.
Putting my energy into creating what I want to happen leaves a lot less time to think about the pitfalls that life may offer. When my energy shifted to creating my vision, and fear became more of a motivating factor than something to avoid, calm was much easier to find. For me surrender to the unknown comes both from faith and through the practicality of the work to create and foster what we already know we want, but just haven’t attained yet. Ambition, with a good plan behind it, curbs the fear of the unknown because all the sudden, the unknown becomes exciting instead of scary..the promise of potential. Hard work covers what it needs to to achieve, and faith gets to handle what is outside of my control (and as a mom, that feels like a lot of things!)
2. Have the confidence to bet on myself, unattached from others judgements or thoughts.
This week I made my one woman show a party of two and hired someone to help with with the technical parts of web design and social media that are not my forte (thanks Abe!). I want to use my talents, and since time is a finite issue, I now get to shift the weight of the tasks that were slowing me down to him, and do more of what appeals to me. His expertise also pushes me to do things that spread my reach but that I'm not necessarily comfortable with yet (ahh!! cameras!). In making this decision there were competing opinions and plenty of self doubt, but in the end, I’m betting on myself to succeed and that comes with the ability to surrender to the possibility of failure. I’m not risking the roof over our heads or food on the table, but learning to believe in my own potential rather than the voice of self doubt or the doubts of others is a big step towards any successful venture. The great thing about a growth mindset though is that failure becomes less of a focus when we we realize that there really is no failure, just lessons to learn, and if we keep learning, our potential is limitless.
3. Learn to use my voice, not just my written words. The more it comes out loud, the less scared it sounds...but man did it sound scared on FB Live this morning! It's ok..I'm going with it. Putting my voice behind my ever percolating thoughts out into the universe is scarier than writing and I had no idea it would make me so emotional! I've got a lot of old patterns to challenge, but my belief that we have so much to learn between generations is greater than my fear. Connecting those generations of people, whether they be friends, family or in the athletic or creative world is my purpose. And having a purpose is like coming home complete to flowers and a fireplace.
I got to use my voice on Tuesday and had so much fun interviewing two AVP athletes about their ride at the Manhattan Beach Open…the “game of life” is always fascinating and getting to be part of generational storytelling live is right up my alley. You can catch my first interviews on The Optimist Journal Facebook Page.
So today I surrender, to my lack of control, to what other people think, to the judgement that lies around every corner. We aren’t here to live other peoples lives and when we try, the comparison or lack of understanding between us is a sure happiness killer. I am here to connect and tell stories, to surrender and to look for the commonality in all of us. Be confident and surrender to the unknown, define your process and see where it takes you...amazing stories and real connections are right behind that.