Earlier in the week I sat with someone who told me she had been thinking of me as she was looking through some cards she uses in her own spiritual practice when she got the feeling she was to share a particular card with me. The message of the card? ” I surrender joyously to the ebbing and flowing of life.” It went on: “The Universe wants you to know there are times to hold on for dear life, and times to simply throw up your hands and let go. Release the stress of needing to control things, wanting to determine the outcome of a situation, or expecting others to act in a particular way. There is a simple grace and beauty that unfolds when you truly let go.”
Luckily I like this person a lot. Otherwise I might have thought she had ulterior motives. Was she really saying I am a control freak? But since I am sure she didn’t I will just trust whatever source led her to think of me when she read this message. And what a perfect message it was for me! In a week that has lots of details and agendas pulling in many directions, this message of surrendering…..joyously….couldn’t have been more perfect.
This experience caused me to reflect on the times when I am present to others who are trying so desperately to control an outcome. Sometimes it is the simplest thing….the flow of a meeting, a child’s less that stellar behavior, the frustration of stop and start traffic. Other times this need to ‘hang on for dear life’ is truly that. In the face of illness or life challenges the desire to try to control outcomes is a much more multi-layered tapestry. The threads take on a magnitude that threaten to overwhelm which often leads to holding on tighter and tighter. It is a natural human reaction.
Perhaps there is wisdom in practicing letting go especially for the times when this is really the only choice we have. If we practice in the little things maybe we will cause ourselves less pain and suffering when the bigger situations present themselves. It is just a thought. Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he pointed our attention to lilies of the field and birds in the air reminding us that worrying, trying to control all the outward things of life, would only lead to frustration and a less than sacred walk in the world. Instead we should learn from the fragile lives of blossom and bird.
This message seems to hold particular wisdom on these bitterly frigid days. This cold that has come to visit we have no control over. It will last as long as it will last. We can, of course, bellyache about it, try to wish it away through sheer force. Or we could surrender to it. Bundle up and head out to notice how, when it is this cold, there is a fine, white, almost-snow that hits your face as you walk. What is this called, I wonder? And then there is the brilliant blue of the sky and the crows that seem to be blacker and more vivid as they wing their way in the air. Dogs sniff the air with a greater intensity. What are they detecting that I am missing? People’s eyes seem brighter in their cherry cheeked faces. We have the ability to see the air that fills our lungs and keeps us alive. Isn’t that a gift in and of itself?
O.K. Maybe I am pushing it with embracing these temperatures too fully. But, in the surrender to the cold, there is always the ability to daydream about the gifts that lie just below the frozen ground, holding themselves tight against root and soil. Soon they too will surrender to the softening, warming earth. They will throw up their equivalent of hands and push through to show us their green and colorful selves. And won’t we be glad they did? This surrendering to the ebbing and flowing of life….joyously….has much to offer.