When I think about ‘trying’ to do something, I picture either attempting something & failing, using a lot of effort or working really hard and never actually achieving the desired outcome. I realized I was ‘trying’ (and failing miserably) to control certain aspects of my life, instead of just ‘being.’
If you picture the words soften, lengthen, float, melt in relation to your ribcage, and then think about the words flex, connect, brace, contract, you should be able to feel the power words have on your mind and body.
I practice Qigong weekly with our practitioner Jeanne Steen. Qigong is a gentle moving meditation that promotes the flow of qi (or life force energy) by ‘allowing’ the qi to create the movement. For the first few months I struggled to get my brain to grasp what that really meant, and translate it into how I moved my body. Then one day I had an epiphany during class about how to ‘allow movement’ instead of ‘creating it.’ Over several years I have trained in Strain Counterstrain techniques and as an Integrative Movement Specialist. In both the focus is on very precise joint positioning to reduce nervous system firing, which in turn reduces tightness & pain. So I decided to apply some of this knowledge to my Qigong practice.
Rather than focusing on my shoulders and hips as my arms and legs moved, I put my attention on creating the right conditions for movement in my body. I visualized space between my vertebrae to create length, decompression and stability in my spine and I spread my planted foot and toes to create a stable base for a one legged stance. Once the conditions were set, I let go of everything else and thought about floating my other foot off the ground. I found this allowed my hip flexors to just do their job (instead of concentrating on the alignment of my hip and choosing which muscles I thought should be working the most). The resulting leg lift was effortless and I felt completely stable with no compression in my low back. The qi did it! Or that’s how it felt at least, as if it had just floated into the air.
From that one leg lift I learned that if I just stay present in my body and focus on creating the space to allow movement to happen (instead of sticking my nose in where it doesn’t belong and trying to control how my subconscious mind wants to lift my leg), there is a lot less effort required and things turn out just right. Of course maintaining that level of mindfulness every time we lift our leg is a challenge, and it doesn’t just start to happen that way once we figure it out, but the goal is for it to happen more frequently with practice.
I could have chosen to create continued suffering around losing something irreplaceable, but instead I allowed myself to be sad for a bit, and then just let it go. What good would that suffering do? It wouldn’t bring back the stone. Since that day I’ve found it much easier not to hold material possessions in such high regard.
I still have a tendency to stare at the pipes under the wall mount bathroom sinks at Tribe in utter disgust sometimes, which I notice happens on days when I am feeling a little off my game or stressed about something else. But I have learned to move on. In the grand scheme of things some ugly U-pipes are insignificant compared to the zillion other issues humanity faces on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean of course that I don’t have a plan in place to box in the pipes. I now just ‘allow’ the pipes to sit there in their ugliness until that day arrives.
As for attachment to an outcome and worry, I could say that I’ve been ‘trying’ to give them up, but I won’t. Lets just say they’re a work in progress. I’ll have to get back to you on them...
If you interested in trying some of the modalities that have helped me through this process of learning to let go and allow more, Jeanne teaches QiGong 3 times per week and the first class is free. Hypnotherapy, offered by our practitioner Karen has been invaluable in taking control of the annoying little voice in my head (like someone who won't stop talking during a movie). I have learned how to politely ask it to pipe down. #talktothehand