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.