Let Go

When I look back on my life, I begin to see what was probably obvious to everyone else: I’ve been a control freak. In college, I tried so hard to find new friends that I effectively scared them away from me. Instead of letting things happen organically, I tried to force it.

As more of a tomboy, I sought out the friendship of boys. And as anyone could guess, that often led to trouble during my college years. I found myself on accidental dates. Or worse: the time I asked an acquaintance out for coffee.

I really wanted a friend and he was someone I admired. I knew he had no romantic interest in me. I just wanted to talk and maybe become friends. He didn’t reply to the message I sent. That’s the last time I remember interacting with him.

There were so many times I did this to myself. I worried and clutched tight when I really needed to let go. Letting go is one of those things that sounds so simple yet always leads to a struggle. It could be key to happiness for so many people, myself included.

If I could just let go of my grip, some of the bad things would blow away. And that would leave my hands open to receive the good things life has to offer. This is the great lesson at this time in my life.

I switched to a new job. It’s not perfect for me, but I really can’t complain. The atmosphere is tenfold better, which was enough for me to accept a pay cut. Except I actually ended up with a raise instead.

Everything seems to be lining up, except one tiny detail: it’s temporary. It could end if funding doesn’t allow them to renew my contract. And as a recovering control freak, that is downright terrifying. (Perhaps this is when I am forced to recover? Can a control freak be forced to do anything she doesn’t want to?)

Maybe life’s trying to help me with this self-improvement project. This job could be exactly what I need in ways I could never have guessed. Worrying isn’t going to help my situation. So I’m trying to just sit back and enjoy the ride, wherever it may lead.

It’s time to let go of the worry, anxiety, and anger. It’s time to start fresh with open, empty palms. That way, when opportunity sweeps in, I’ll be ready to catch it.

Cheers to letting go.

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Photo credit: another.point.in.time via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

My One Thing

Childhood. Summer.

When I first told a friend of mine that I was engaged, she said, “I think you’ve finally found what you’ve been searching for.” It took me back. She knew me very well. I had never realized that I was searching for something, especially that singular special thing. I smiled and thought, “Maybe you’re right. Things are going to get better now.”

She was right in some ways. Marriage was something I had been searching for, whether I realized it or not on a conscious level. And my life has gotten better since then. I’ve improved as a person with the help of my very patient husband. I’ve taken many steps forward in a lot of different ways. But marriage was not the “one thing” I needed.

So, she was also wrong in some ways. There isn’t one single thing that settles you in for life. You always end up wanting more. After marriage, you want a house, or a baby, etc. There’s nothing that you can have solely by itself and be content. And if we did find the one thing that makes everything perfect for us, it would be a curse. Because life is full of so much more. If we found the “one thing” and we wanted nothing more, we would stop seeing all the other wonderful things life has to offer. We would miss out.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not meaning that marriage is not fulfilling or good. It’s just one piece of the bigger picture. It’s one thing of many. Marriage has not magically turned my life into a picture-perfect image. It hasn’t solved all of my problems. It hasn’t provided me with a continual, eternal state of happiness. And no marriage will. As every married person will say, marriage is hard work. And if you work hard on it, it becomes a very special and very fulfilling part of life. And it can make you very happy. But it cannot singularly complete your life.

I’ve been married over three years now, and all I know is that I’ve taken a step in a better direction. I’m happier than I was before marriage. I hold more promise for my future. But I’m still searching. And I don’t think I’ll ever stop searching.

Life is a journey, not a destination, so nothing will stop us on the path and make us sigh with utter completeness. Life is just not that perfect. We’ve got to bring those good things with us as we continue along. We are blessed with many things, not just one. And I think that’s a better way even if we don’t get them all at the same time. That means no matter how great things become, we still have something to look forward to.

So, ultimately, my one thing is everything. And no one can have everything. So I’ll just keep searching to see how close I can get. And there’s nothing wrong with that as long as I remember to hold onto the good things I bring with me and to let go of the things that aren’t meant to be mine.

 

Photo credit: ezhikoff / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Downward Dog

I don’t know if you have tried yoga before, but I would highly recommend it no matter your fitness level. I work at a desk job. I hate to admit that aloud because I always swore off of such a job during college. But here I am. A desk potato. Much to my chagrin.

Yoga feels so good after being stiff and still in a chair all day. It even elevates my mood. There’s just something so good about taking an hour out of your day to relax and be grateful for yourself.

Now, if you’re looking around the room at the accomplishments of everyone else instead of focusing on training your own body, you’ll probably end up feeling incompetent. The key in yoga is to focus inward.

If you’re a competitive person like me, you may have the tendency to go farther in the stretch than the person next to you. It’s always better to do what you are comfortable and able to do so that you don’t hurt yourself. The real competition is with yourself. Sometimes you have to push yourself a little farther to get the improvement you need, but it shouldn’t be painful.

My former yoga instructor (she’s since moved) used to keep us in the pose called Downward Dog. It is deceiving in that it looks easy, but I find it to be one of the most challenging poses for someone just starting out in yoga. Basically, you are on all fours, creating an equilateral triangle with your body (at least ideally). Your hips should be up, heels down, fingers spread, and your head hanging loosely. My instructor would keep us there for several breaths while she walked around the room and helped us correct the position of our hands and feet.

Downward Dog is an active pose; there are many muscles engaged in this pose. Maybe that’s part of why I like it. It’s more efficient and I feel like in encompasses many health benefits into one pose.

Another thing I like about Downward Dog is that you are supposed to relax your neck and just let your head hang. And if you are looking around the room at everyone else, you can’t really relax your neck. So you have a wonderful opportunity to really focus inward without paying attention to the distractions around you.

This is such a good metaphor for life. We should all spend a little more time focusing inward, fine-tuning the little things that make a big difference, and learning to ignore the petty distractions that surround us.

Namaste!

Photo credit: myyogaonline / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Photo credit: myyogaonline / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)