I returned to my midwestern hometown last week for a family foundation board meeting. I have been living in New York City for over a decade, and the change in pace gave me whiplash the moment I stepped off the plane. From retrieving my luggage, to getting coffee, the friendly, deliberate, congenial purveyors made my errands feel like they were in slow motion compared to the frenetic pace of the big city. As I finished my errands, I drove straight to my meeting realizing that I was running 10 minutes behind my desired schedule. I could feel the jolt of cortisol starting to flood my stomach with the stress of keeping to my timeline. I drove at a clip, and made it to my destination in the knick of time. As I walked through the doors, however, the conference room was a buzz with frustrated members. As their complaints unfolded, I found out that a water main had broken along the exact same route that I had driven. Had I been ten minutes earlier in my timing—had I been one minute earlier—as I had desired, I would’ve gotten caught in a massive and aggravating gridlock with the rest of them. Instead, I sailed along my route, and made it right on time…sans the road rage.
The bottom line: Life has got our backs.
The universe is always looking out for us; it is always taking everything into consideration. And if you let it, it will take you along the path of least resistance to everything that you truly want…which is also the rub. It’s super important to get in touch with what you really really want. Because if it is freedom to explore your passion, then the path of least resistance might manifest in the form of a lay-off from your drudge day job. It could come in the form of a relationship breakup or divorce, but rest assure that life is always allowing for you to actually live what your heart truly wants. So there is no need to stress.
Yes, I know, easier said than done. We cling so hard to our behavior, our habits, our belief that struggle, stress and strain are somehow badges of honor—because our societal mantra is that “nothing worth having comes easy.” We compete with one another over who toils at their job for the most hours per week, who gets the least amount of sleep per night, etc, and then we wonder why we want to numb our exhausted bodies with caffeine, nitrates, nicotine and alcohol. The truth of the matter is that the circumstances of life, relationships, jobs, and experiences will offer enough challenge for us. We don’t have to exacerbate things by fighting the flow. We don’t have to compound or create more stress for ourselves by gripping our expectations with such white-knuckle rigidity. We can relax. We can ease up on the ‘hows’ of our journey on the way to our desires. The hows are not our domain, they are life’s expertise, and we can hear life’s guidance through our hearts. Closing our eyes, breathing deeply into the silence, allows our connection to our inner being—to our heart—to speak clearly. It shows up in our bodies—a gravitational pull towards what we really want to do, and the best first step, or next step to getting there. Our bodies, our hearts, our lives, they tell us what to do one step at a time. And if we are willing not to stress out, freak out, numb out about not being able to see the entire path sometimes, then we are open and primed for an incredible journey. One step at a time…which—for the record—is all that we can ever take anyway: One step at a time. A smoother journey. A better-feeling, healthier, freer journey.
The tiny minutia of each day is not worth the crippling toxicity that stress bleeds into our bodies, our minds, our lives. It is the most resistant emotion—it bucks against the current of our lives, our circumstance, our health most—and can be greatly reduced by simply choosing to release our death grip on the ‘hows’ of how we get there, and instead focus on the destination of what we want. Focus on what an incredible feeling it is to envision having what you want, and let that pervade.
If you need to, start small. For instance, I now know that if I can put my hand over my heart, breathe deeply, and feel my body, that I am present, and in the moment. And from that space, I can set an intention of something that I want to do—like get to my meeting in perfect time—and then let go of how exactly it happens. I now know that life is taking into consideration everything—even that which I cannot see, like a water main break—and has already set my course on the path of least resistance. I now know that I am free to enjoy the journey. I am free to look up, look around me, join the world again without having to be so clenched and myopic along the way.
Life truly is a wild and amazing ride. We have the opportunity to surf the flow of what is right in front of us, to have fun with what we experience…
…if only we can embrace a change of pace every once and a while.
Happy, healthy holiday season to you all. ENJOY IT…we all deserve it.