Monday, May 24, 2010

Trust Fall

I heard something at a recovery meeting that really struck me.    Someone was describing how he can get caught up in "living in the wreckage of the future".

I loved that, and I understood it immediately.   The beauty of having a safe harbor to go to and just listen, simply exist in a sea of grace for an hour or two, is that I always hear something that nudges my consciousness the right direction.

I do this; live in the wreckage of the future.  I do it a lot, in fact.   I ruminate, speculate, play out scenarios in my head endlessly.    I have conversations with people when they aren't even there (first I'll say this, then he'll say this, then I'll be all like NO WAY, then he'll get mad....).   It's exhausting.

There are some things going on in my life right now over which I have no control.    I like control.   I whip out my crystal ball and try to figure out how it's all going to play out, so I can be prepared.   But, of course, it's all a bunch of white noise.    I don't have control over people, places or things.   It can be drummed into my head thousands of times, and I'll still resist.   

It's hard, very hard, for me to just sit with a negative feeling.   I like things all wrapped up with a bow on top, thank you very much.    I leap in with both feet, try to wrench control, push things towards a resolution that is the least painful, the straightest shot from point A to point B.

Imagine you're in a car that is speeding out of control, no brakes, no ability to steer.   A voice whispers in your ear to take your hands off the wheel, close your eyes, and pray.   It tells you to put the outcome in God's hands.  "Have a little faith," this voice says.   

But keeping your white knuckles wrapped around that steering wheel makes you feel that you're making a difference somehow.   Madly pumping the brake, to no avail, gives you the illusion that you still have some control over the outcome.   

So I clench tighter, pump the brake, and things still turn out in ways I never could have predicted.   Not better or worse, necessarily, but different.   All that ruminating, anxiousness and speculation didn't have one damn thing to do with how things turned out.   It just made the journey to the outcome more stressful, more painful.    

I'm still figuring out my spirituality.   Or, perhaps more accurately, I'm working on NOT trying to figure out my spirituality.    I'm learning to be comfortable with all the not knowing, the not being certain, about a Higher Being.   When that voice whispers to me, what I'm starting to hear is, "get out of the way, Ellie".   I try to keep my heart and mind open, receptive, willing to believe in an energy that moves through us, around us, and that doesn't have anything to do with me or my will.   

It's like a trust fall into the ocean, having faith that the currents will take you where you're meant to go, and will only pull you under if you fight against them, vainly swimming towards what you think is a safe harbor.  

For someone like me it's counterintuitive to simply roll onto my back, spread my arms wide, and float.   Every now and then I'll forget, and start flailing about, afraid.  When I don't surrender, when I give up my acceptance, it's like I come to, look around and all I can see is that I'm alone, adrift on the ocean, and I'll feel like I'm the only one that can save myself, because I can't see the deeper powers at work, gently moving me in the direction I'm meant to go.

Every time I pass through unchartered waters and come through to the other side - every time I have a little faith - I end up in places I never could have imagined.  

And so, I float.


  1. This one really hit home for me. I could have written this same post. Sometimes it's nice to have a float along and enjoy the scenery.

  2. I also live in the wreckage of the future. I usually chalk it up to being an only-child-type-A-perfectionist-- a humorous way to avoid the problem. I have been trying (I won't say, 'to no avail', but it is so darn hard!) to let go. To give it up. To have some faith that good and bad will happen, no matter if I am white-knuckling it or not!

  3. Wow, I could really relate to your post. It is very hard to live on this planet and not get caught up in the past or the future. In fact the post I wrote today - which is different from most of my posts - is very much about this same thing.

    I'm glad I found your blog.

  4. Very powerful and so true. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  5. As a recent convert to Catholicism (3 years now) I too, have a hard time "giving it up to God". I do, however, find so much peace when I'm at Mass. On my knees, just praying and humbly asking for strength and/or guidance in my life. It helps me. Really, it does.

    I'll never go one to go with the flow, but I am learning to give up on the crap that I can't control or manage on my own.

    Hope floats. So does Ivory soap, but yes, Hope floats.

  6. So beautifully, powerfully put. Thank you. This was along the lines of the topic of my meeting last night. I must really need to hear this message.

    I love the image of the car careening out of control and being told to take your hands off the wheel. It takes a lot of faith.

    And the ending image reminds me of the "Odyssey." In the end, what Odysseus needed to do to get home, was to give himself up to the current.

    Thank you for this lovely, inspiring post. It was just what I needed today.

  7. I love this post. I'm so smack in the middle of so much of the same. Thank you.

  8. I love this post. I'm so smack in the middle of so much of the same. Thank you.