Life is a Creek. There are countless analogies out there but one of my clients mentioned it last week and it really stuck with me.
You see, I’ve had a pretty interesting few months. For someone who likes to think she “gets it”, who has perfect faith in her spiritual/philosophical belief system, I’ve had one hell of a big Awakening.
It started with a physical ailment; some serious back pain. It’s not like I’ve never had ‘serious back pain’ before: this was different. This didn’t actually involve the disc bulges or neural pinches I’ve typically experienced in the past. No, this was just plain old muscular seizure. My physio was a bit puzzled. My yoga teacher wasn’t.
I was aware enough to recognise it was due to Stress. Work stress. I’d taken on a fourth job… for a variety of reasons, but in all honesty, money was the ‘deep’ motivation. I thought this opportunity might also lead me in a new direction, widen my scope for ‘Success’ because it involved one of my passions.
Suffice to say, I was wrong. I’d had what I thought were rose-coloured glasses on. I’d ‘pushed’ myself under the belief that I was being pro-active, but I came to realise, I was actually being driven by a deep-seated ‘desperation’. As always happens, the awakening came in a series of realisations.
Firstly, on the physical level, I realised the culprit muscles seizing in my back were only doing what they were ‘taught’: in the Past, the physical treatment for my injuries/pain required me to be in a specific postural position for relief, release & recovery. Five or so years of this particular ‘rehab’ position had trained certain muscles to respond (that is, created a new pattern or ‘habit’) to any Stress, by immediately contracting to ‘protect’ that area that I had led myself to believe was inherently weak.
I knew what I had to do; from my philosophical/spiritual point of view (to which neuroscience is now alluding also, incidentally) it was simply Common Sense. My Yoga teacher didn’t really have to tell me. I knew it. And my Physio agreed. I had to Stop. Rest. Meditate. As much as possible. So relaxation/healing meditations were added to my daily routine.
When the root of my Stress was elicited by my acupuncturist (he didn’t actually have to dig it out of me – it seemed to be a case of just being ‘the right time’ for the words to spill out of my mouth) he gave me some more focus for my meditations and breathing that addressed my physical as well as emotional pain. And I practiced.
I had also been reading a book recommended to me by my yoga teacher (even better; she had presented it to me in a pile of books and I had been the one to choose it from the stack… another perfect example of “cosmic timing”) It had taken me awhile to get through because I simply had so much other stuff to attend to, but I had caught glimpses of clarity as I worked my way through it.
The kicker came towards the end of the book.
Dammit, I know this stuff. I’ve read heaps of ‘new age’ literature and it all makes perfect sense to me. How could I not have seen this and more importantly lived it until now?
The author – himself a yogi – wrote of his own ‘Illumination’ and his three simple words struck a huge chord with me.
“I don’t know.”
I have struggled with this forever. It’s the deepest source of my Depression.
Describing the weight that lifted from him when he spoke those words out loud to no one in particular, and moreover, the revelation that it didn’t matter – none of it mattered – Blew. Me. Away. Forget the light bulb, I had a hundred floodlights in my face.
The source of my deepest struggle instantly dried up.
I always knew I was the master of my life: heck, I have read enough to know that. But to strike at the heart of one of your most dominant Concerns is totally liberating.
I can fully practice what I have learnt now. In one fell swoop, my Fear of the Future has gone.
So now I’m focusing on being a Leaf.
As my client put it, if Life is a creek and we are all fallen leaves being freely carried by its running waters, we are bound to be washed up against debris, pooled & eddied. Most of us get stuck: trying to fight, resist or control. What leaf ever moved a rock or fallen tree trunk out of its path? These struggles and challenges are an absolute and unavoidable part of Life. I’m ready to let go of resistance, to let the waters carry me where I’m meant to go.
I am finally ready to really Trust.
I have found renewed Faith. And god, it feels amazing!