Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Simple Gifts

Sometimes you have to roll with the wave of your life. No matter where it goes, no matter how fast and furious, sometimes our job is to simply let go and see where it takes us. It isn't necessarily easy or peaceful or sane.

It just is what it is.

Sometimes, for better or worse, life moves that fast. Gratefully, it can't keep up the frenetic pace forever. Which is good, because neither can I.

For as much spirit as I mustered a week ago, by last Friday night, I was beyond exhausted. A "done" sort of exhausted. No spirit left whatsoever, just a deep painful desire to sleep, to heal and to rejuvenate.

"Survival" is a funny word. It speaks of Sisu -- that grim determination. It talks of stamina and will and tenacity. It talks of a fierce unwillingness to give up.

And yet somewhere in there, too, is the energy of surrender. The willingness to let go of what dances on the periphery of our lives, the things we think are important that we normally give so much attention and energy to, and focus single-mindedly on one thing -- what is required of us to get through to the other side.

It's hard not to put all our attention on the future...when will this all be over? It can be painful to be in the moment when it is wrought with intense effort and concentration and struggle. It can be hard to reconcile the thrill of success and pulling off the impossible, with the dire physical, mental -- and sometimes emotional -- costs of the prize.

One thing I was reminded of this past week was that sometimes resistance is just...plain...futile. Unless, of course, you enjoy banging your head against the wall. Which I did plenty of. As recently as this afternoon, as a matter of fact.

If you recall, I'm a bit of a stubborn fool.

I also took away the reminder that being in the present moment -- being in the truth of what is -- requires that we shift what we deem essential to our lives according to our circumstances.

I've written before about the importance of knowing what is essential to us in our lives and acting from that space in our day-to-day. When we slip into survival mode, when we no longer feel that we're even close to bringing the best of ourselves to our daily round, our list of what's essential must be pared back even more than before. Sometimes we're only truly able to focus on our most basic needs, namely food, water and sleep.

Sometimes surrender means letting it all go. Everything. Just for now. With the promise that we can pick up what we come to know really is essential when the time is right. And not one second before.

So that when we pick up the things we are absolutely certain we want and need in our lives, we can treat them with the utmost respect and honor, with a new dedication and commitment than we were able to offer before.

Who knew this place I'm stewing around in was essential??!?

The simple gift for all of us is to recognize that it is only from this most vulnerable place that we are able to really look at our lives and make a change.

The perfect holiday is a figment of my imagination. There, I said it. Whatever "perfect" means. But still, the truth for me is that I've chosen a profession whose busiest season is the busiest season...which just compounds the stress further.

So, what do I expect?

Still, I ask: Is there a way to get through the holidays feeling relatively sane (i.e., not lip-bumblingly-out-of-control)? I continue to hold out hope that this is possible, although I've finally come to realize it won't likely look the way I expect it should. seems my expectations might just be part of the problem, no?

Certainly, my trying harder to control it will not tame the beast...this much I've learned.

For now, I must be satisfied with having asked the question. With knowing that it is likely less effort than more that will get me closer to solving this riddle. And with having another whole year to work it through.

Perhaps, the answer is in always creating the space to appreciate the true simple gifts in my life:

Good night!//

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