I grew up near the beach and often played a game where I’d stand knee-deep in the waves and direct them to come and go, like a miniature bikinied traffic cop; it was one of my favorite games. The issue? As an adult, I kept doing this with everything in my life and forgot it was only a game.
Maybe you do that too.
For those of you who don’t yet know, now you do in 3…2…1…: Kyle and I are about to have a baby. As in, in about a week. And several things have become abundantly clear to me during this pregnancy. First, that nausea is one of my least favorite sensations. Secondly, that I’m absolutely so honored and over the moon to be on this wild adventure with this amazing man I love with all my heart. And third, that when we think we as the identity are in control of our lives, that we’re so, so, SO very…mistaken.
And we stress ourselves no end, cutting off the experience of joy in our lives.
Here’s where I’m coming from:
While scientists and their studies and experiments are in many ways necessary, interesting, informative and useful, they cannot make a mosquito from scratch, let alone a human being. The best we seem to be able to pull off is a facsimile that somewhat resembles the human form, with very un-human machine insides. For all the science fiction movies out there, if you doubt me, take a gander at the Netflix doc on sex robots (if you’re feeling brave); you’ll get my point. Ew.
So what am I getting at? We as the identity are extremely limited. Sure, we can move a lot of dirt, build pretty fantastic shelters, design fancy metal boxes that go fast, and even repair a human brain to some extent—all impressive stuff no question about it—but it seems to me that with all our abilities to do certain things, we somehow also lump in there that we run our lives on a much more influential level than we actually do.
This isn’t a religious thing here. I (as the identity) am not a religious person per say. But if you’ve been following this stuff I churn out for any amount of time, you know that my take is that God is Love, and Love is the ground of being. When my attention (conscious awareness) is out of my mind, so to speak, I’m quite aware of the only sensation being Love. There aren’t words for any of this, so that’s about the best I can do there. And here’s my experience: Kyle and I did not create this baby. We simply facilitated the force (that I call Love) that creates everything to move through us and into this new tiny form that will grow into a human. It’s the clearest thing to me, carrying around this brand new being in my abdomen, feeling her grow and move and hearing her heart beat, that I as the identity did not and simply cannot create in this way.
Nor is the identity the force that animates me in my daily life. And here’s my point.
This force, just as it enters form when we are “conceived”, exits that same form when we “die”. People in general seem to be able to stomach that part pretty well. I think what we tend to forget or not acknowledge, once we start to think in terms of “my life”, is the knowing that we’re not the ones in actual control, as if this force simply moves aside for us as intellectual beings to take over complete control. We begin to move as if we as the identity are keeping ourselves alive and controlling everything. When we no longer rely on our parents, then the job, the income, the house, and/or relationship (whatever it is that seems vital to us) starts to become the thing we think of as our way to stay afloat, without which we will quite literally die or at least fall into circumstantial dire straights we want no part of.
And we start to hang on and try to control like crazy (excuse me, like crazy???).
But…when I do something even as inconsequential as wash the dishes, did I really plan this with my brain? Or more often do I simply watch myself move to do whatever I’m doing? Indubitably B. The same goes for coming up with a new idea for and writing a blog post, or deciding to take a walk or text a friend. I sometimes call it inspiration, but that still almost implies it’s the identity that’s calling the shots. When overthinking and meta-analysis doesn’t cloud the perception of reality, there’s merely an action, a being (which is not to say that this life force doesn’t come through thoughts or ideas or take the form of a plan—I’m talking source here). Byron Katie is great on this: she even calls what we might normally refer to the self as “it”—there’s just this simple awareness/consciousness that watches while the form acts. Oh look, it’s getting angry. It’s making a snack. It’s reading again. It’s grocery shopping. All on its own.
So is there anything BUT inspired action? I believe so. I believe it’s possible to feel the inspiration and rationalize why it doesn’t make sense, why we don’t have enough money, or time, or resources, and to talk ourselves out of it. I used to be a master at this until I started to question whether this was the only way to live, what the implications were and whether or not that just maybe there was something bigger going on right under my nose. So yes, I believe it’s possible to be in the habit of only relying on the intellect, as I did, and after awhile, becoming completely unaware that there’s anything underneath our life choices BUT the take-charge brain. Depressing. And decidedly un-fun. But…The good news is that Love, life force, inspiration (whatever you want to call it) is always there if we get quiet and tune back in; it’s just waiting to show us that life actually is the adventure we’d always secretly hoped it would be. Re-learning and remembering to listen and then act on this guidance, however, can take some practice (which, conveniently, is the topic of my book Guided By Your Own Stars).
You know what the beauty in all this is? It’s in knowing that this force is taking care of the form and that we’re actually totally free to play, all the time. Don’t believe it? Watch what happens when you touch a hot stove or get hungry. It moves to pull the hand away, and to find something to eat. But it doesn’t stop there; it’s not just reflexes. If you allow it, this force will also inspire you to write a book, to dance, to hug someone, to create a campaign to save slaughterhouse turkeys, to take out the trash. I know because I now live this way. Mostly. Sometimes I forget and perceive there’s a struggle, and it’s here that we run into pain.
In my experience, when we disconnect from the knowing, from the life force, is when we tend to fall. But sometimes falling is exactly what we need to show us who’s not so much in control. It’s here, however, where things stop feeling like a fun new project or a planned challenge and we start to do the real work of finding out who we really are. This CAN be terrifying if we perceive our safety results solely from our intellectual control. Or if we’re trying to get somewhere, circumstantially.
But if you really and truly want to find out who’s really running the show, buckle that seatbelt, you’re in for quite a ride!
When I first got an inkling that perhaps my life experience was not actually under my conscious intellectual control, I had to see what was under there (one of my mentors, Amir Zoghi, used to have us stare into the mirror and repeat “Show me who it it is who moves this form” until we started to actually see—try it). There was so much fear in me, even just thinking about allowing something other than my intellect to run my life. I remembered nothing else. Wasn’t it my intellect, my brain, my planning and making myself follow through with those plans that got me through school, found me a job, put food on my table, paid my rent and allowed me to leave the house looking somewhat put together?
What if I “followed my inspiration” and just laid around on the couch all day watching Netflix, never went to work and then became homeless and starving? What if I never wrote anything again? What if I told all my friends off and became a lonely old lady with 92 cats?? What it came down to was a (terrified) okayness with all these things happening. If they did, I figured, I’d deal with it one way or another. I was, in essence, willing to see what happened, willing to fall apart.
Well guess what? None of that happened. Sure, it often felt like everything was out of control and going off the rails, but what actually occurred, when I moved purely from intuition despite the fear and anguish of having zero idea why I found myself giving much of my stuff away, packing the rest into boxes and relocating to another city 300 miles away all on my own was that I also noticed…a client surfaced (through insane, unlikely connections that happened a teensy inspiration at a time that I couldn’t possibly have foreseen, anticipated or planned results from) that provided enough for me to pay for rent. I effortlessly wrote a book, the dishes got done, I felt inspired to live a healthy balance of social and alone time, to exercise, and I didn’t need to think about what or when to eat or rest. Even though I initially executed much of this inspiration half-drenched in fear, I discovered that everything seemed to fall into place, all was taken care of in a timely manner, and I wasn’t planning and stressing and trying so hard anymore. It just happened, without knowing the why or seeing the big picture, one little inspiration, one tiny step at a time. It was a revelation that changed my entire life. Whatever this force was that moved the form seemed to have a way better big-picture understanding than my intellect ever had. Incidentally, all of these tiny inspired actions landed me in the best relationship, about to have this precious baby, enjoying the most exciting adventure.
Even when I thought I understood what was happening, or I’d put together a plan out of fear, I was never right, and the plans inevitably fell apart. Thank goodness. I never could have planned anything this amazing!
Remember those plastic steering wheels we had as kids? Yeah. That. At least it was fun when we knew it was pretend, right?? What if we remembered that and actually rode the waves instead of impotently directing them??
I’m just saying, we could bypass a lot of stress and pain by realizing that the brain and body are in service to this life force, not in control of it. We could enjoy. We could float. We could relax. We could have a great time! I invite us all to lean back into the knowing that will tell us what and when to eat, will move us to quit the job at the right time or marry the person, cut the grass and wash the dishes and pick up a birthday gift on the way home. Less controlling, more enjoying. Fewer wrinkles, more laugh lines. Adventure every moment. Yeah. LiveLove&BU, friends.