There are times in my life when I feel like everything is falling into place. I make choices that are in alignment with who I want to be, meet amazing people and feel so much connection and power within things happening in my life.
Then there are times that no matter how great my intentions are and how hard I try to make things happen, they just don’t. And since I’m so passionate and hold the belief that I create the things that happen in my life, I end up forcing it. The result is feelings of disconnect, overwhelm, and way too many expectations. This, for me, was last week.
Outside the small town where I grew up there was this amazing river that we spent literally hundreds of hours on in the summer. It was long, shallow and mellow enough that we would grab our inner tubes and floating chairs (and maybe a few beverages) and float for hours.
For the most part the river was pretty calm and the trip down was smooth. However, depending on how high the water level was there were always a few rough patches. If you surrendered to the situation and let the water take you, you would come out the other side just fine and have some fun with it. However if you resisted, your floatie would capsize sending you into the (glacier fed) river and perhaps even worse, spill your beer.
We had one friend, Jenalee, that seemed to no matter how hard she resisted would always find herself stuck. I really don’t know how she did it. It was like she was a magnet to the edge of the river and fallen trees. If there was an eddy, she would find it. Drink in one hand and desperately trying to get unstuck with the other. Poor girl, but honestly it was hilarious to watch and almost 10 years later it’s still a running joke in our circle of friends.
Then there was Callie. Callie was always in charge of the cooler, which evidently made her very popular. It was a tough job having an extra dingy attached and having to navigate through the rapids with the extra weight, but she did it with ease. She was also always the first one to initiate the topless tubing portion of our river journey. Callie had no trouble navigating around potential hazards (rocks, hitting bottom, eddies, young boys with binoculars). She was always in control, rarely if ever got stuck, and even with the cooler in tow was often the one to rescue Jenalee.
Looking back, Jenalee was re-active. She would let the river take her and only take action when it was too late and was overwhelmed.
Callie on the other hand never resisted. She was constantly aware of what was going on around her, and was proactive to correct her course.
After reflecting on my week, I’ve learned that I’ve been forcing my way through the rapids and getting stuck in the eddies. Instead of going with the natural flow, I’ve been swimming upstream.
I know my situation is common. We see a goal, get so excited and force our way forward. Forgetting there’s a natural flow to help us get there.
That’s the beautiful thing about surrendering. You’re not giving up. You’re just saying, it’s not supposed to be this hard. Instead of forcing things to happen I’m going to let the universe help me a little.
There`s something in coaching we call big ‘A’ Agenda and little ‘a’ agenda. Big A agenda has to do with your soul’s purpose. What you feel called to do not matter how hard, unlikely or illogical it seems. This voice still may be very quiet and hard to hear, but I promise you, it’s there.
Little ‘a’ agenda has to do with the voice in your head. This is the logical one. In fact, it rationalizes everything. It tells you that you can’t do something for a multitude of reasons. The time isn’t right, you don’t have the money, you’re not pretty/smart/educated enough. It’s filled with “should’s” and “have to’s”. This voice is designed to keep you in your comfort zone. It’s very easy to listen to and always present.
I’ve learned that when I feel overwhelmed I’m listening to my little “a” agenda far too much. I commit to things because it’s the “right” thing to do, not necessarily because I want to. Things that other people say I should do to get ahead, not ones I know are right for me.
A common question for a coach to ask is “Where do you feel that in your body?” This is a good way to immediately connect with where it’s coming from. If it’s coming from you’re gut, chances are it’s a Big A.
The other phrase I’ve heard people say is being honest with yourself. Which ironically, is the hardest person to be honest with.
This comes from recognizing what your big A is, and having the courage to admit it. Once you admit to it yourself, it’s not long before you can admit it to those around you. Then something amazing happens, you’re back going with the flow of the river. And after that, grab your floatie (and your beer) and enjoy the ride.
*Note all names have been changed to protect the parties involved