Hey, sweet folks. I’ve got a question: You ever feel like you’re trying so hard to align and make sense of everything, only to feel like everything you do is still misaligned + makes even less sense than before? Like you keep working at something, only to feel like nothing is working and possibly getting worse? Like it’s all out of balance? Well, I’d say that all of 2020 feels like that for all of us. Oh how we are all seeking balance, right? Every time something happens, something equally bad or even worse happens in the next month, or next week, or next 24 hour news cycle. I really don’t want to bring you down, but…
Australian fires – Airplane crash in Iran – Almost Iran/US war – US President impeached – COVID-19 – quarantine – travel bans – working from home – no summer vacation trips – death – economic crises – floods – racism – Black Lives Matter – protests – George Floyd – Breonna Taylor – everything about the fucking US president – hurricanes – millions of people laid off – riots – isolation – earthquakes – hospitals + treatments cancelled/postponed- climate change – digital learning – restrictions – explosion in Beirut – mental illness – climbing death rates -California/Oregon/WA wildfires – the US election…
The thing is, it’s not just one thing and then something else… most of these things are all happening at the same time and continuing right this moment. And there’s so much more than my brain doesn’t remember right now. Their effects are heavy and long-term. So, if you’re feeling off, give yourself a break. I’d say it’s normal and pretty fucking amazing that we’re all existing + functioning as we are, actually. Seriously, though, take a long, deep breath + give yourself a break.
It’s not just the world that is out of balance, though. I must also admit that my personal life really feels all misaligned and out of balance right now. These global issues are affecting me + my life, just as they are affecting yours in one way or another. Making it all deeply personal and painful. For a while, I stayed fairly balanced through it all I think. But, as time passes and as the shit piles on, the less in-balance I feel. So, I try to fix it + deal with it + push on + breathe through it all. But, the more I try to align, the more desperate I become to find some balance + the more out of alignment I feel. And that right there might be the problem. I am seeking balance. I’m trying to align.
I was standing by my kitchen window the other day and I noticed one tiny, golden leaf fall from the big, mostly green tree, just across from me. It floated down slowly and then got stuck in the middle of a chainlink fence. It was fluttering a bit in the wind, but most definitely stuck real good. I thought to myself, “what a shame that that little leaf might just be stuck there…not able fulfill its destiny and complete its cycle of returning to the earth.”
And, immediately, I recognized myself in my own words. I am that leaf. Or, in that moment, I felt like that leaf. Stuck.
I felt so sad for that little golden leaf. Just hanging there. With no way to save itself. And it wasn’t even a particularly windy day, so there was no hope for a gust of wind to set it free. But, more than that, I felt so helpless for the leaf – unable to do anything at all to loosen itself from the fence and softly continue its journey to the earth.
As I fell deeper into a melancholic state because of this poor leaf, suddenly, slowly, quietly, the leaf simply fell. It softly floated down + found its resting place on the ground. Oh how happy I was. How free I felt, projecting my own emotions onto this leaf.
And, then, I realized a deep truth. That little golden leaf really was me. Or a lesson for me. She did nothing when she got stuck on her way down. I was the one worried about her. I was upset that her autumn destiny had been interrupted, that her journey from the tree to the ground did not go as planned. The little golden leaf couldn’t have cared less. She simply let go and surrendered to the fall. And, when she became stuck, there was nothing to do but be. Out of nowhere, after a while, she fell from the fence to the ground, again not doing anything.
The thing is, this is the key to it all. Nature’s pace isn’t just slow. It’s also the way of abandon + release. To let go + surrender, the accept + release, is not something to do… it is something I am.
I’ve been trying for a few weeks now to really focus on aligning my life. Working hard to do certain things at home + at work that bring me calm. And, while spiritual practices and rituals/routines are important things to do, they are not the answer. The answer lies in the magic of being, of flowing + accepting + releasing + surrendering to the moment. Of being open to the unfolding of whatever happens. Flexible, mindful, aware, grounded in just being.
The thing I need to do is to stop trying so damn hard.
But, that ain’t easy. I want to affect change. I want to make right what’s wrong. I want to bring into balance what is out of balance. I want to align what’s misaligned. And I can do all of those things, all of those things will come to pass, but I must simply trust the process + the journey. And stop trying so hard. Like the little golden leaf.
To stop trying is to simple be. It is to be in that grounded place where I breathe deeply, stay true to myself, and simply let go. Trusting that life is unfolding. Knowing that I will make a difference + that I will live a life of bliss when I am simply me. In every moment + with every breath.
I am on my own journey, like the little golden leaf. So are you. And there will most definitely be times that we will get stuck. Unplanned challenges, moments, and happenings. Like all of 2020. The thing is, while we may feel like we’ve been stuck for a long time, release will come. And the more we try to align + wiggle free + do things that might bring us back into balance, the more stuck we become. To find balance is to release our need to control. To find balance, all we need is to be who we are, where we are. Seeking balance is unnecessary. Because balance happens naturally.
Oh god, I know this stuff isn’t easy + it doesn’t make sense really. And the temptation is to think that we are being doormats and just letting shit happen to us. But, that’s not really so. We will get unstuck, we will continue to protest, work for justice, make peace, inspire others, and create our lives… but in order to do that effectively, and without burning out, we must be laser-focused on simply being. On putting ourselves, our sense of grounded-ness, our willingness to flow, and our presence in each moment first. This is how we live. Being is our priority.
When we are stuck, when we are falling, when we are living through hell on earth, we are still flowing in the cycle of life. We are still in rhythm with nature. All things flow + change constantly. Nothing lasts forever. Impermanence + evolution are what life is.
The return of autumn in September reminds us of that. Every year, millions of little golden + orange + red + brown leaves surrender, let go, and make their seasonal fall down to the earth. The tree stands bare all winter long, seemingly dead. And, yet, every spring, buds appear + leaves burst forth, growing into full, deep green maturity all summer long. Only to surrender + fall once again come the next autumn., starting the cycle over once again.
So it is with all of life, including us. We are part of nature, our bodies also working in cycles of birth, growth, death and rebirth. Always flowing. Admittedly, times like these are seemingly death times. So it isn’t crazy that we feel stuck. It isn’t a wonder that I needed to take a day off from work last week just to regroup + rest. We all need to do that.
Perhaps being stuck is actually just a way to learn how to stop, rest, and trust. Like the little golden leaf on the fence.
We will not be stuck forever. 2020 will not last forever. The pain + pressure + problems will not stay with us forever. Like the leaf, as long as we simply stay true to ourselves + focus on being present, nature will run its course, the seasons will continue to change, and we will continue to grow + evolve.
That sweet little golden leaf. What a simple reminder for me to surrender and let go. To release my worries + my need to control.
No more frantically trying to align, fix, solve, and get unstuck. No more desperately seeking balance. Autumn is arriving now + nature’s balance is happening as the seasons change. So may it be with all of us. Release, breathe, and and just be.