Miranda: I Surrender
Many of us grapple with a mounting sense that things aren’t quite right. Life is beautiful, in lots of ways, but if we could just shift this or that or accomplish X, the pieces would fit together better and we could make it all work. At that magical moment, we’d finally arrive at that elusive place of “balance” that everyone always talks about.
With trumpet fanfare in the background, we’d finally figure out how to raise happy children while holding down a job, reading two books a week, keeping the house spotless, fitting into our skinny jeans, growing heirloom tomatoes, and making mind-boggling progress in our creative work that results in a finished project that ultimately brings fame and fortune.
I’ve spent many (most) years of my life pursuing support systems and strategies that I believe will enable the flow and sense of ease that we all yearn for. I often seem tantalizingly close ~ if I could just tweak my organizational systems a bit or come up with a few more ounces of self-discipline then I would really be at the top of my game. I’d be able to do all of the most important things and stay constructively focused on my priorities.
Well, not so much. Despite my deep, abiding affection for all things organizational and relating to time management and life design, I must acknowledge that my addiction to these tools is often just another distraction. The truth is, I can’t get this messy, often chaotic life to “balance.” The pieces are big and unwieldy and no matter what I do, they’re going to fall on my head. And you know what? That’s OK. Balance isn’t really the point.
Increasingly, when I feel uncomfortable or anxious, I am able to take a breath and say, “This, too.” My preschooler has another toilet-training accident on the living room carpet? This, too. A client miscommunicates a marketing project outline and I end up having to start all over again? This, too. I can’t find time to finish that art project with the kids? This, too. The collard greens I’d planned to steam for dinner have gone wilted and weepy in the crisper? This, too. It’s the resistance that causes suffering.
I’m learning how to let go into things that are seemingly unpleasant or upsetting. I ask myself, in the refrain of Buddhist teachers, “Is this worth sacrificing my ease?” Because in truth, 99% of the time, whatever irritation or anxiety I’m experiencing is really not worth losing my sense of peace. Ease is always there, always within grasp, if I chose it.
When you start choosing ease as a matter of habit, you begin to realize how much you used to get carried away by the utterly minor dramas of daily life. You begin to notice how other people around you seem to complain a lot and are constantly fixated on what isn’t working. You can’t help but observe how so many others unwittingly opt for disharmony.
You can’t change other people, and that’s OK. You can’t be all things to everyone at the same time. You can’t do everything you want to accomplish today, right now. You can’t fit your many passions into a simultaneous funnel. But you can learn to wake up in wonder at the start of each new day.
This piece was reprinted from a past issue of the Creative Times, our monthly newsletter. Click here to subscribe!