It was the weekend, and I've been looking forward to it all week. Events I planned to attend. Conversations I planned to have. People I planned to see. And it all went differently than I had planned.
I woke up Saturday really exhausted. I haven't felt that tired in ages. I had a mixed bag night the night before. Spending time laughing and catching up with a friend I haven't seen in ages. We joke that we have bi-annual dinner dates because it's so hard to schedule time together. As I sat at dinner at one of my favorite restaurants talking about all things taboo (something only and I do best) from sex to one night stands, to dating, to religious doctrine, to feminist thought I felt my phone vibrate. A text message. From another person on the line waiting to connect. I wanted to honor the friend in front of me and the one reaching out on the phone and I felt pulled in different directions. I opted to keep my attention with the friend in front of me. It ended up being a costly decision, but strangely I wouldn't haven't it any other way.
The story behind the mystery text message on the other side of my phone is a long and winding one that I'll save you right now. It's both extraordinary and ordinary. What matters is that my unresponsiveness set off a firestorm that lasted throughout the weekend. A firestorm that triggered survival mechanisms, actions that sparked more fear on both sides, and insight.
As I sat in bed staring at the ceiling on Saturday without a returned phone call or text message back after reaching back out I knew I was in the shit. I knew I had disappointed. I knew I was in a dipping moment of life. Assessing my energy I knew my body was asking for rest. For alone time, after spending countless hours the week before leading classes, teacher training sessions, and coaching clients. My soul was asking for rest despite all of the fun activities I had planned.
I found myself in a periodic moment of internal fighting. One part of me pushing myself to get off of my behind and start getting ready for this brilliant day I had planned. And another part of me that said...be still...be silent...be with you. I opted to honor the quieter voice and it absolutely was the right decision. Saturday felt scrumptious and decadent as I hummed each minute to the tune of my own tone, stayed in my pajamas, and sought internal perspective of the text message debacle from the night before. In a moment of processing and still feeling raw from exchanges over the last 24 hours I sent a text message that my mind told me was absolutely mindful. Turns out it was the spark of firestorm number two. Go figure. And as I found myself waking up early Sunday morning to meditate ahead of teaching a private yoga student, I found my phone screen sprinkled with reactive texts from a deeply hurt soul on the other end of the line. My heart sunk.
I did what I could to center myself so I was in a different energetic space before my student came. After teaching on Sunday morning, my phone rang and there they were..the hurt soul, the deeply loved "things are complicated" person in my life, calling on the other line. Enter firestorm number three where we both stepped into the ring of our survival mechanisms and fought a good fight. Plans to get together after not being able to connect for some time were taken off the table as both of us found ourselves exhausted, spent, and spinning in confusion. How could two people so devoted to being mindful, end up in such a tailspin?
My body ached with grief all day on Sunday. Muscle spasms continued into Monday and Tuesday. My soul was aching. But most of all, my soul was asking for the one brave thing I was resisting most...radical faith. Faith that despite the devastating pothole in this road...it was perfect. It had purpose. It was teaching me. It was a strange gift...for both of us.
Life is a process. It invites us to have this immense radical faith in THAT process. In the messiness of it all. To be still in the moments when we are spinning. And perhaps sometimes even to let go from trying to grip and stop the spinning to just let yourself spin away. It all unfolds with perfection and in retrospect, we often have no doubt about the glorious tapestry that the Universe has been weaving all along, lovingly, whether we are nuzzling the fabric of it, or throwing a tantrum attempting to rip it apart and throw it out the window. It keeps weaving. It keeps asking us, dear children, to have...faith.
As I was reading the Power of Now again with one of my students this weekend Eckhert Tolle's words on process said it all: "There will be periods when you are highly active and creative, but there may also be times when everything seems stagnant, when it seems that you are not getting anywhere, not achieving anything. A cycle can last for anything from a few hours to a few years." The compulsion for us to "do something" during low cycles is where we create the problem. It makes it impossible for us to surrender to the process. To the cycles. And my body ached because deep down inside, I was fighting the process.
Physical health, energy, mental focus, relationships...what is free from the process of cycles? Nothing. And yet so often we cling to certain cycles that we like and want to keep riding those. To stop the process at one point thinking we have "arrived." Or this is "perfection."
For this week's Joy Tip Wednesday, I'm inviting myself and you to have some radical faith starting with a 24 hour experiment. To dig down to the depths of our souls and to absolutely trust the process, let go, and let it unfold. What if the problem didn't need to be solved? What if doing nothing was the best thing to do? What if an intention of faith was enough? Here's some ideas on how:
- See your process. Check it out and notice the process of your life. What's going on? What are you surfing with? What are you fighting? What are you trusting? What are you distrusting? What ambiguity has you squirming? And what ambiguity has you dazzling?
- Set an intention to have radical faith in your life for a day. To trust the all encompassing process and the mini ones located deep inside. For 24 hours...intend to practice radical faith.
- If you notice a compulsion to do something...choose to do...nothing. The text message you are absolutely convinced will solve the problem. The phone call you're burning to make. I'm not saying don't ever do it. I'm saying, maybe...just wait. For a moment. For a day. And see what it's like to "be in" the process versus trying to direct it.
- Reflect. Spend some time at the end of your 24 hour experiment and notice what did you learn from exercising radical faith? How do you feel? Calm? Agitated? You could journal, talk with a friend, meditate, color, you could even e-mail me and tell me about it! Remember...it's all information and it's all useful.
- Feeling inspired? Go for round number two the next day and try steps 1-4 again. What does a 48 hour experiment in radical faith feel like? What shifts in your mind? Your body? Your energy? Your actions?
If you have any sense of drive, goals, aspirations, ideas, expectations,...hell if you are human...you probably struggle with radical faith. Maybe sometimes. Maybe all of the time. I know in moments when I've had radical faith...miracles have happened. I just have to fall out of radical faith time and time again to relearn how important it is and how much easier life is when I stand in it.
What does that mean for text message firestorms for me? It's been having radical faith that it is absolutely OK that this person is still upset with me. That their own process of the unfolding experience is perfect. And that perhaps if I have radical faith in that, and allow their process...my own process to unfold...it will unfold perfectly as it should without me trying to grab the steering wheel for us and direct it otherwise.