The Art of Letting Life Come to You

What if you don’t always have to “do” to get what you want?

I am terribly impatient. My family often joke that my worst job ever would be that of driving instructor. I simply don’t have the serenity to deal with a cautiously-evolving pupil coupled with the frustrations of distracted and uncooperative drivers around us, on the road. (God help us all.)

I am also a doer. My natural state is one of action, drive, momentum and carpe diem, dammit. My son regards me as the Anti-Procrastinator.

Needless to say, for almost all of my life, my approach to getting things done — fulfilling dreams, chasing targets, completing personal and professional projects — has been based on the concept of taking action. Doing things, chasing opportunities, ticking boxes. I love to be busy, and I adore being productive.

Of course, this is truly wonderful when the path appears clear and I am sailing the seas of Life with the winds at my back. At times like this, I get serious sh*t done.

However, the challenge for me has always been when the energy or opportunity in a project begins to lull; when doors don’t open as easily as they used to, or things aren’t flowing as steadily as I would like; when I’m eager to “do” but there’s nowhere for me to put my ‘doing-ness’.

Faced with obstacles, my immediate response has always been to do even more; to push harder, shout louder, adapt, change, pursue. For God’s sake, my mind would say, just don’t ever stop trying. Cos, if you do, you’ll lose out. Miss your opportunity. Fail to move forward.

It’s a response many of us have, and I believe it’s because we have been taught this way.

In this modern world, we have become totally divorced from our natural impulses. Instead of understanding and cooperating with life’s inherent rhythms — ebb and flow, push and pull, activity and rest — we have come to believe that any moment — every moment — is the right time to take action. We have absorbed the idea that our progress is solely dependent on our commitment and application. Our success relies only on our personal capacity for doing.

And this approach often works. For a while.

But then something often happens in life, and the things that worked before don’t seem to pay dividends anymore. Doors of opportunity close; well-laid plans fall flat; processes that brought you great success no longer achieve results.

When things stop moving forward like this, our immediate instinct is to doubt ourselves and what it is we are doing. “Why isn’t the process working anymore? What am I doing wrong? How must I change to get things back on track? What if this is the end? What if I never get there?”

Thankfully, I have learned better.

Everything in nature ebbs and flows, and yet in our busy lives most of us ignore these natural rhythms.

My experience tells me that, if we can find the courage to step back when life appears to be offering us a “lull” — if we use these times to just catch our breath, focus on ourselves, review, rest and have some fun — the tide inevitably turns back to action at some point. The wind will, once again, return to your back and doors of opportunity will begin to open.

I have also learned that in this space of restfulness, it is easier to see when to take action, on what, and where. You are able to see the opportunities coming that are truly leading you to your desired target, so you no longer burn yourself out on needless, directionless, mindless and often unproductive doing.

And so, regardless of what it is you are pursuing — a career, a creative project, a heartfelt dream, a personal version of success — what if those inevitable “slumps” in progress are actually natural periods of sabbatical? What if, in a deep unconscious part of yourself, there is a primal need for isolation? Rest? Reflection? Self-nurturing? Hibernation? Review or, often, realignment?

What if you allowed life to slow down on occasion, and simply let it be?

There is an art in allowing life to come to you. But there is also a great reward in letting go of the constant demand for more, more, more, unrelenting progress. Certainly, what I have found is a stillness; a contentment. And ease.

Kim Forrester is an award-winning author, educator and intuitive consultant with over 15 years’ experience as a professional intuitive and spiritual teacher. She combines cutting edge science with traditional spirituality to offer the latest understandings of psi, consciousness and holistic well being.