Drop Resistance And Embrace Surrender
One of the sports I’ve most enjoyed learning in the past year has been paddle surf. Drifting through the clear crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean, following the path of least resistance and into the natural flow of sea current.
Practising this sport alongside an experienced instructor was probably the most in flow I’ve ever felt whilst in action. Our surfboards alongside one another in sync, no one overrunning the other, following the spontaneous action of the waves and both of us responding accordingly.
This extracted ways of being that don’t come naturally to me.
Trust, surrender and receiving.
I had no idea how tough this none-active way of being would be and noticed that up to that point, there was a deep level of resistance which had successfully seeped into most areas of my life.
How I paddled that day was how I, moving forwards was aiming to navigate through life.
Kellie Kuecha, master of business branding and identity stated;
How we do one thing is how we do everything.
Your character or nature refers to how you handle all the day to day things in life, no matter how small.
As I listened attentively to the instructor, initially I wanted to overthrow his instructions, do my own thing, overtake him or try and impress as a way of being a smarty pants.
Instead, I decided to follow his lead, or rather mirror him whilst using my individuality and intuition to stay firmly on the paddle without falling off.
I feared a wave would overthrow my surfboard, but I stayed on, not by fighting it, but by finding the most stable part of the surfboard — the centre, and used this as a foundation to stand up on the board.
Did I fall into the sea?
Each time I climbed back onto the surfboard, my resolve was strengthened and my technique more sound.
Imagine if we could fall into situations in the same way, pick ourselves up and aim to do it differently and better next time?
Navigating the spontaneous waves of life.
It surprised me how much I loved the process and the beauty of being in full flow of the water which served to carry me wherever I needed to go.
Trusting the natural order and being guided by the peaks of each wave and the flow of the ocean. Meanwhile receiving instructions and surrendering to what might emerge and responding accordingly.
The experience reminded me of how we often try to control, break away and attempt to navigate a thousand paces beyond where we should be, missing what is happening in between.
There is a beauty and wisdom in being guided by the path of least resistance and following the natural energy to see where it takes you.
Letting go of control.
There is often a dance between doing and being, each taking turns to lead.
Sometimes we have to let life be the leading dance partner. An experience is made a lot harder by our continuous resistance to it, attempting to go against the order of the flow.
Isn’t that what we often do?
Struggle to control and oversee the next stage of life, not out of flow but out of anxiety and fear of losing control. It’s all hands on deck. But yet the deck is already manned and there is a captain at the helm.
Following the path of least resistance is one of the hardest struggles I see my coaching clients stumble on, and one I have struggled with this myself. There is a misconception that the only way to live is to work hard, struggle and navigate from one disaster to the next.
What if life was easier than this?
Granted that life throws horrendous things in our path, unfortunately, it’s thrown a few unforeseen nasty situations at me over the past few years. But I know that during the times I’ve surrendered more, trusted and let go, difficult though it’s been, what has emerged has been far more fruitful and authentic.
Had I struggled and battled against it, the effects would have been a million times worse.
Truth emerges from letting go of control, allowing for your true nature and next step forward to emerge.
What if you could surrender, trust and follow the path of least resistance, rather than ploughing through life like a bull in a china shop?
Notice those who pace up and down complaining and throwing their weight about when a flight is cancelled, doctors appointment rescheduled or illness strikes. Who surrenders to what it can bring and who battles against this, wasting huge amounts of energy in the process.
The ego constantly needs to know, it’s fuelled by the knowing and to fully surrender, the soul needs to be fed instead.
A few months ago, I was volunteering at a refugee centre in London. I’m constantly struck by how much I learn from those who live in the space of ‘not knowing’ until it has become a way of being.
The refugee’s life is a process of never ending surrender. They are at the mercy of a system which either decides to allow them into the country or spits them out with no consideration for their humanity.
Their life is filled with being at the mercy of others deciding their fate.
A few weeks ago whilst at the refugee centre, I was supporting a Nigerian lady the same age as myself, She had been living for ten years in one room. Waiting to receive a letter from the home office to be told she was finally allowed to remain in the country.
She had been a nurse in Nigeria and was hoping to work in the UK upon her arrival. During this time, she was not allowed to return to her place of birth to visit family, could not earn money, no way of setting up a bank account, credit cards and no family around to support her — It was truly unthinkable to imagine not seeing family or my place of birth for ten years.
She had been reliant on a friend who gave her a small room to sleep during the long years whilst she waited.
The lady was one of the most divine people I have met, her face full of tears as she shared how grateful she was to have the refugee centre to visit once a month. There she had been able to meet others dealing with the same issues as herself.
I asked her how she found the strength to carry on without any support systems in place. She responded that she always had the end in mind and focused on this. Not for one moment could she allow herself to feel sadness or vulnerability otherwise she would have fallen apart. She had to keep it together to see the process through.
During the final week I saw her, she had received a letter from the Home Office which sealed her fate. She was finally granted a status and permission to work. She told me that now she could finally allow herself to feel the effects of what she had been through over those difficult years.
Her gratitude to the UK was immense. Allowing her a status of human being, rather than a home office reference number she had carried for so many years.
I meet so many like her who sit in uncertainty for years and their surrender is absolute.
With little if any support, isolated from their families and culture. Their determination and strength is unshakable and they are so used to not being defined by their possessions or bank balance, that their resilience is at a level most of us will never know.
When I contrast this with those I know who spend time complaining that their custom made kitchen arrived a week too late, or the spa hotel they had booked was not up to their expectations, I feel a need to walk away from the level of conversation. It’s not that I don’t empathise, but I actually don’t care to hear it.
I am humbled by those who at the face of uncertainty, can still use gratitude, still be gracious and can find a way to say thank you.
Showing a wealth of resources that are far beyond the monetary ones.
To show a stable predisposition and surrender when life throws the unthinkable and surrendering can be hugely challenging at first, but as you slowly begin to practice this in the tiniest of areas, it slowly begins to absorb itself into larger areas of your reality.
Life isn’t defined by what we can control. It is defined by all those times when we get thrown off the board and we graciously dust ourselves off, endeavouring to climb back on again. Resolving to learn from the lessons it teaches us and trusting that the path of least resistance is the more effortless path to a life of joy.
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