Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Art of Allowing

The Tao Te Ching was the first literature to speak to me about allowing. This ancient philosophy dates back to sixth century B.C. China and is the work of Lao Tsu. Many versions and translations of the esoteric Tao have been published and all carry a message of allowing things to happen in their natural order, allowing what you want to come to you, allowing being a faster means than doing, taking action, or being driven to make things happen.

I was drawn to this "less is more" notion - also known as The Way - by our action-oriented, multi-tasking, nano-second culture. Compulsive doing and busy-ness was taking its toll not only on my mind and heart, but my body. As I continued my readings and attempted to practice the art of allowing, I noticed how much more got accomplished and ahead of time and that it was easier on me physically to allow things to happen rather than forcing them.

Case in point: Ever notice when you're trying to balance your bank statement against your check book ledger and hours go by without reconciling the numbers. So you get up and walk away for hours or days. When you come back, it's easily resolved. Not because you did or did not do something. But because you simply forgot about it for awhile...and it happened to clear the air between the ears.

Case in point: Trying to get certain people -the kids, the spouse, the visitors - to load the dishwasher the "correct" way. When you stop dictating, demanding, managing and manipulating and begin to allow, something happens. Suddenly the realization hits that CORRECT PLACEMENT OF DISHES is low on the priority scale and high on the small stuff scale.

Allowing affects every aspect of our daily journeying. Consider the perfect career, the job you always wanted, but couldn't figure out how to get. Or the dream once hoped for and now long forgotten. I've been life-coached, ESTed and tested, but am still not in the dream I dreamed of long ago. Although, there was the one Ph.D. Career Counselor at Florida Atlantic University who, after giving me a battery of tests, came up with the career choice of a lifetime: Hosting Sexy Lingerie Parties. Two years later, I showed him my Masters degree. And no I didn't take him up on the profession. In the career counseling milieu, setting goals rates an A+. Set those achievable goals I did...and.........nothing happened.

Allowing works. It means that slow motion gets you there faster and getting out of the way so the Way -the Tao - can do its work. It sounds like a spiritual principal. And it may be.

Grown ups know that allowing does not leave you tired or worried about the outcome. Allowing is letting someone in the lane in front of you when you're late for work, allowing the kids, the pets, the spouse to have natural consequences to their actions (within reason). It means incredibly to allow yourself to receive when you don't have a clue how to achieve. Allowing a lizard to leap onto paper on its terms in order to be set free instead of rearranging all your furniture in an effort to capture the critter. It means allowing the body to sometimes heal itself. The cells know precisely what their job is and would appreciate you leaving them alone to do their work.

Allowing is the difference between struggle and ease, peace and anxiety. It quiets the soul and offers respite when civilization is anything but civilized. The best thing I learned was to allow the people to go who want to go and allow those people to come in to my life who want to be there.

It's a small, small, small, small world

Each morning I sit in front of a large picture window and write the stories I see passing by. This morning I hear the leaves rustling on a bush directly in front of the window, but there's no wind. I fix on a leaf and see a lizard boasting with all his might that he's the one for the cute lizard two branches below. I look closer and a few levels down I see her - hiding.

He pursues her jumping from leaf to leaf then sticks out his colorful throat fan just knowing this will seal the deal. She jumps farther away and hides.

"But you are the loveofmylife," I hear him pleading. She darts in and out of hiding places. I want to tell him, "Dude, she's not interested." But he wants her and eventually they get married and have children.

I think lizards were reincarnated dinosaurs, a sort of payback for rampaging all over the Earth scaring the hell out of the entire animal kingdom. Now the small creatures are scared of everything and get out of the way of the giant feet coming toward them.

I recognize these ancient beings as far away distant cousins who have to hunt and gather, mate, and keep the home and hearth safe and tidy in much the way we do, all the while looking for signs of calamity.....I never saw a single lizard when Hurricane Wilma came blustering through. Now the playing field is somewhat leveled and a certain trust is blooming up from the dark wetness of their earthen landscape.

To wit, I saw a baby lizard two weeks ago trapped inside my bedroom. He was an albino and clearly wanted to go home. I decided to catch him without scaring him and got a piece of paper to carry him outside. The paper wasn't working. He ended up crouching on the bathroom floor in a corner, then jumped up on the door frame - eye level with me. This is what I said to him, or it, or her, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to help you get out of here." He looked directly at me, eyeball to eyeball. 'Houston we've made contact.'

Very slowly I tried the paper again - this time not pushing it against him, but allowing him to make the big jump on his terms. Ever so lightly, he jumped onto the paper and stayed there until I opened the door and let him out. "There, have a nice life."

There are three things I'm good at. I can find anyone on the planet and I can rescue tiny creatures from inside my house. The third thing I do rather well is allow. More on that in tomorrow's window. Now it's time for breakfast.

P.S. To All my lovely creature friends living at Essex Gardens, the landlord does not use pesticide on the lawn. And the lawn is watered with well water. For the babies just born, the worms don't have any toxic stuff on them. Bon Appetit!