I’m in a rather interesting place in Life. “Surrender”, my guiding word for the year (but really since last fall), has seeped deeply under my skin. It’s ironic that it’s such a seemingly passive word but so very forceful in my compliance to it.
I simply can’t NOT surrender.
Life and this current path is not allowing me to do anything that is not in total alignment, that does not come from my core, (that does not challenge the shit out of me in my ability to trust and allow and accept).
I begin to pull myself back into habits or “Well maybe just this once” and it snaps me back to me center like a brand new rubberband – sometimes including the sting.
Paradoxically, it’s been challenging and easy. It’s been all flow and simplicity, but with up-bursts of fear and panic and WTF.
And every single time my head starts spinning, I brought back around to Surrender.
In that Surrender has been a practice of self-acceptance – surrendering to Who I Am, what I need, what is a fit for me and what isn’t.
I’m letting go of things, releasing what I was once excited about, admitting that it’s not the ideal I assumed it was. My work has changed. Our family has changed (radically and in hard and beautiful and humbling ways that I can’t fully process and articulate yet). My perspective has changed.
My self-communication has changed.
I like to say Yes! – in fact, I sometimes find myself jumping in and committing before I’ve really sat with it. I have caught myself many times ignoring that Echoing Stillness within whispering that the answer is, in fact, a No.
Case in point: Speaking at conferences.
I knew about a month ago that speaking is out for me. I don’t enjoy standing in front of a crowd, talking TO them. I want to sit within a circle, and speak WITH them. I want to dive in together, to create and hold space for deeper communication to take place, to guide and ask hard questions and receive hard questions that have no answers.
So when the request to speak at this year’s Rethinking Everything conference came in, I was already quite comfortable saying no to speaking and yes to facilitating a circle.
But just as I was about to say “Yes, I’m in!” Life and its little instigator, Surrender, snapped me back to my core, my spirit, my center so I could hear that inner guidance that won’t let me go astray.
It ached a little to admit it was a “no”. To sit with the thoughts and fears that arose, of sitting out instead of standing out. To acknowledge my Highly-Sensitive nature would be at its worst with two birthdays, an anniversary, a family reunion, and air travel already in August. To honor my needs for quiet and white space in the months ahead.
To honor my heart as it whispered a tender no.
Honoring what is a no for us doesn’t always feel wonderful.
Sometimes there is a pang as we release what we wish would fit in order to practice or embrace what actually does.
Sometimes we don’t want to say it aloud, afraid of what it will say about us (that we can’t hack it, that we’re not good enough, that it means XYZ), afraid of the stories running in the background of our mind, afraid what will come of it if we miss an opportunity or back out of the party.
Sometimes honoring our No will mean listening to all those stories that arise with our answer. Examining them with self-compassion and gentleness (without buying into the idea that their presence is somehow saying something terrible about us), so we can release them.
But honoring a No also means noticing the Yes we are honoring in ourselves too.
By my saying No to a conference (my favorite conference, I might add, one we all freaking love) means saying Yes to a month of celebration without stress or overwhelm. It means saying Yes to down time and deeper connection and the slower pace we nomads have been craving. It means honoring the Yes to self-love and self-acceptance, a Yes to allowing my highly-sensitive nature the environment in which it thrives.
Ask yourself: What do I need to say “No” to, and what am I saying “Yes” to at the same time? Part of the Sisterhood? Share your thoughts on the forum.
P.S. The above journal page? I knew I had some stuff to DIG IN to and process but had no words for them. I had no idea what was going to come out but am falling in love with the way art journaling has added another tool to my own Digging Deep process. As soon as I started creating it, I could tell I was putting down on paper exactly where I am in surrendering to the work-life balance shifts that have been happening in my world. If you’re working through the Digging Deep process yourself and ever feeling stuck because the words won’t come, I can’t recommend enough the power of playing with color and texture. The words will often come later (as these ones are – I’m filling in that page above with the words now).