Giving up the struggle

August 5, 2011

Last month I participated in a Tai Chi workshop given by Rob and Erich Völke with the focus on relaxation.

One of the exercises required me to stand across from another person with my hands on their chest. The goal was to slowly push them off balance without taking a step or exerting any force. The only way this worked was to relax deeper and deeper vertically while still maintaining a strong upright posture and structure (ie, the bones and muscles were working but not tensed), and slowly moving forward from your centre.

My partners tended to be large, muscled men!  I couldn’t budge any of them.
The first time I got it, though, when the guy keeled over, I thought he was putting me on.  Yet, I had also felt the shift in myself. It was a state of total trust and letting go without the least bit of forcing. It was gentle, and it overcame the full resistance of a man tens of kilos heavier than I.

Interesting I didn’t make the link with other parts of my life until recently when I tried the ‘You can try (or give up) anything for 3o days’ challenge.

I decided to give up worrying about how I wasn’t doing enough about marketing. Things were very low professionally when I decided this back at the beginning of July. My book had been published, but as far as I knew wasn’t really taking off; copies of it were lying at the bottom of 2 foreign publishers’ slush piles (for 6 months!) ; my shop was quiet-no, dead; my craftwork didn’t sell well at the fair-   dead ends everywhere.

So I stopped worrying or even thinking about selling my work for 30 days.

I had a pleasant month of creating, thinking, and giving my body a chance to heal after a hectic year in 2010.

How ironic that during that time commissions, projects, and much desired opportunities for collaboration came flowing in as if they’d all been poised waiting there for me to just give up.

It seems to work in my life that the more I struggle the less I achieve. Wouldn’t it also be true that the things I get as a result of struggle only reinforce the idea that you don’t get anything without struggle?

I loved the feeling of gentleness overcoming resistance when I could push over that big guy almost through concentration alone.

And I’ve enjoyed not worrying, planning, scheming, trying to sell my work or create opportunities for sharing my skills professionally.

Regarding my work, I think the Tai Chi teacher would have said to me,’Keep an alert, strong stance, keep your intention clear, let go and relax and it will all work out’.

I think I will continue not worrying for another 30 days!

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