Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Why surrender can be more powerful than control

Yesterday's blog got me thinking... there is a fundamental life paradox underneath my current situation.  Not that I wish to over-egg my small pudding at all!  But then, each and every one of our life's dramas hold within them the essence of the human story.

In this case, I was trying to push through pregnancy - get to month nine, stay fit, slim (was I nuts?!), start a business, etc etc etc.  I placed so many demands on myself that I tied myself in knots.  I was, very clearly, a product of my society...

Our society greatly values goals, goal-oriented actions, focus, discipline, control... As with all characteristics, these are desirable and have positive sides to them, however, as with any characteristic, they are not eternally appropriate, regardless of the situation.  If life were black and white, then perhaps they may be.  But life is not: it is composed of endless shades and nuances of gray.  And each shading invites us to look inside and consider how best to respond in the present moment.

For me, more 'female' characteristics were battling to be heard, but I didn't want to listen.  I didn't want to appear 'weak', or 'soft', even if all I wanted to do was curl up and sleep.  The conflict came about because there was a whole chunk of me crying out to be heard, and I did not want to hear it.

When I let go of my programmed need to control, I was able to notice those other thoughts, ideas and urges within... the knots I had created inside began to uncurl and I understood myself in a new way...  Unconsciously, I had been torn between wanting to be a full time mum and to work also.  I was so scared of what that would mean in practical terms that I forced it down inside.

Now that I've accepted this part of myself, I've started doing little things to satisfy it - like making those scones, or trying to create an aubergine and tomato stew today!  Maybe my path is not either mum or work, perhaps it's a mixture of both - of black and white... I don't know because I'm not there yet.

Pregnancy is like life, it's about the journey, not the destination.  And once I give birth, a new journey will start... and so it goes, each journey leading into the next.  Surrendering to the journey, rather than trying to force an outcome, has been a huge learning for me.

What I now understand is that when I stopped trying to control and manipulate how I felt, when I surrendered to having conflicting emotions and ideals, I felt a vast weight lift off my shoulders.  Going beyond black and white, beyond my fixed ideas of what was 'right' for me, allowing life to be 'messy' and unclear has, paradoxically, left me feeling lighter and freer.  Just like a parachutist, going against the wind is trying to impose control on nature when working with it would be a lot more powerful...

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