Sunday, October 27, 2013
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
A cool breeze rifles my hair from the hammock under the vanilla tree just steps from the aqua blue waters of the Pacific ocean off the coast of Maui. A week ago I arrived as a newcomer to this island, and a stranger to the fourteen other cancer survivors who shared this special place with me. Now we, as well as the staff and other teachers we have had the good fortune to interact with this week are ohana – “family” in Hawaiian.
As it is National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week (April 1-7) it is appropriate to reflect on how far we've come. Thirty, or even twenty, years ago, there were no services for young adults with cancer, and probably most oncologists wouldn't even recognize that young adults got cancer at all. Now, there are a number of programs, camps and other services for those of us diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 40.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Sunday, April 1, 2012
I am a control freak. I didn’t realize this until recently, but it is becoming clearer that, as a visionary, I nearly always have an idea in my mind about how things should go. And because of that, I like for things to actually go the way I envision. When they don’t appear to be doing so, I tend to get somewhat bent out of shape about it. There are both positive and negative aspects of being “visionary,” obviously, but recently I have been bumping up against the downsides repeatedly and painfully.
As a student of the Law of Attraction, I know that visioning is the first and perhaps most important part of the process of manifesting what I desire. To get what I want, I first have to know what that is, and then be able to see and feel what it will be like when I have it. I don’t have to know exactly HOW to get to that desired end-point, however, and this is where it gets tricky. I often DO see a path forward, and by the time I’ve gotten out my map, chosen a route and spent some time and energy planning it all out, I feel pretty invested in that direction.
Plans are all well and good until those pesky “other” people come into play. They often have ideas of their own, and they occasionally (frequently) differ from mine. Drat! At that point, there are a few techniques I typically employ to try to get MY way:
1. Explaining why I am right. I diligently and firmly explain why my plan is the best one. I really lay it on thick, because obviously, as soon as the “other people” truly understand the merits of my plan, of course, they will jump on board enthusiastically. It doesn’t typically occur to me that I am striving to persuade anyone of anything. I am just letting them know why I am right. I wonder why this isn’t usually effective?
2. Repeat Step One. Clearly, I didn’t do a good enough job explaining the finer points of my plan, so I do it again, more forcefully this time, and sometimes in a louder voice. How are they not getting this? There must be something wrong with them.
3. Telling them why they are wrong. This one is hugely popular, as you can imagine. It usually involves some aspects of points one and two illuminated now in a more condescending tone, and topped off with a good dose of all the flaws of the path they are charting. By this point I am super full of myself, which we all know is totally endearing, right?
Two recent situations have helped me see the benefit of surrendering my need for control and relinquishing my vision of how something would play out. One involved work and the other a personal relationship. Both were extremely challenging to me over an extended period of time, and I’m sure caused no end of angst for the “other people” involved as well. But once I made the decision to surrender, a weight was lifted. I felt lighter, more at ease and freer. Though the “rightness” of my stance still sometimes rears its ugly head, I can also feel freedom in the knowledge that along with control, I can also let go of the weight of responsibility for making things work out, and rest easy that other hands are carrying some of the burden.
About a decade ago, Laura Doyle ignited a firestorm with her Surrendered books for wives and singles, suggesting that women surrender to their men, and stop trying to control the way the relationship was going. She advised respecting men’s decisions for their lives, practicing good self-care, expressing gratitude for the things others do for you and allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
The idea of surrendering stirred up controversy among some who hadn’t read the books, and who misinterpreted the premise to be about submission to men’s desires and needs at the expense of our own (something perhaps women tend toward already). One human rights activist even went to so far as to liken this approach to slavery, suggesting that the author expected women to subvert themselves entirely to their man, becoming a kind of puppet.
I remember the hubbub around the books when they came out, and admit to feeling a significant amount of distaste for the idea of surrender, even buying into the feminist outrage about the misrepresentation of this concept. I had no interest in reading the book then – why would I want to surrender my control?
I am absolutely intrigued by this idea now, and totally see the power of this concept. To me, surrender simply means ceding control. It goes beyond gender issues, and speaks only of letting go, and knowing that I don’t have to try to steer the outcome of every single thing in my life. Whew! What an incredible feeling to trust other people to take care of it, trust the process to produce a great result, or even, as my intuition whispered to me recently, trust love, and know that whatever form it takes, it is real and I don’t have to manipulate it in any way.
Even though there are sure to be moments that scream for me to wield some sort of influence, assert my opinion or just feel strongly that something must be WRONG, surrendering, in and of itself, is nothing short of blissful. I recognize there are numerous routes that lead to the same end, and that the view from the passenger seat can be really great and quite relaxing. The destination itself may even look different than expected, and that is ok too.
What are you trying to control that is stressing you out?
What does the idea of surrender look like to you?
To what or to whom could you surrender in order to feel freer?