Thursday, February 26, 2015

On NonGrasping Impermanence

"It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small.
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all ..."
              - Let It Go/Frozen

I admit it. I'm a fan of the movie Frozen. I am not sick of the movie or the characters or the song which topped charts and iTunes download records immediately upon its release. It doesn't bother me that the Elsa costume was more popular than any other this past Hallowe'en. And I enjoyed the arc on Once Upon A Time that featured well-cast actors in the key film roles.

Why do I love this movie so much -- despite the abuse by retailers and the mass inundation of all things Frozen over the past 12 months? (Let It Go is NOT a Christmas song -- seriously.) I like the theme of this Hans Christian Anderson/Disney-blended tale. It spotlights two strong, independent and kind-hearted women -- sisters who love each other and honor each other. I like that their story allows them to explore and eventually discover who they truly are, concluding only when they embrace their different paths and their own personal truths and uniqueness.

For those of you who know me, you might say that I'm a rather, um, Type A personality. Like Elsa, I tend to hold things in and shut myself off. I like to feel in control and I cling tightly to my perceived power, managing my existence and seeking to affect occurrences with my own willpower.


As Let It Go played endlessly over the past year, I made the choice to select it as the theme-song for my own personal soundtrack. I've learned something from its animated tale. Elsa held so tightly to everything in her life that she caused devastation when the pressure built up and she inevitably lost control -- and she lost the people most dear to her. She ran away. She shut herself off. But in the end, she faced her fears and discovered the beauty of her uniqueness and the strength inside her heart. She learned to love herself for who she was. Only then was she able to find joy and truly Let Go.

Now, I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions. I believe in Intentions. In Hopes and Wishes. And I believe in listening to the subtle whispers of the Universe as it nudges me toward people, places, projects, ideas, etc.

How could I ignore a message that resonates with me so strongly? Especially when it seemed to come from everywhere. And, just in case I shook it off as a fluke or wasn't paying attention, the message came from another source ... then another ... and another ... and so on.

It was Suzanne's yoga class a few weeks ago that truly gelled the idea within my spirit. (It's been kind of an ah-ha game the Universe and I have been playing until I finally got it.) See, so often we find ourselves struggling against the elements or trying to affect control on the people and events around us.  Control is an illusion. I've said it before and I'll say it again. All things have their own flow and move at their own speed and in their own time. And, it's not all about us all the time. Sometimes we have to sit back and wait for things to happen or change or whatever. Sometimes we can't manipulate, script or force it to play out "our way." 

Sometimes??? Well, most of the time ...

When we hold too tightly to something or someone ... when we attempt to control when or how a person behaves or an how event transpires, we damage it ... them ... the relationship. Only when we surrender and allow things to flow on its own can we truly appreciate the ride and the experience and the person ... or whatever it is we were once attempting to "manage."

It applies to everything ... this idea of Non-Grasping Impermanence.  In cooking you add ingredients and then step away as the baking occurs. In a book -- be it fiction or non, you read from beginning to end, awaiting the next chapter, character choice, discovery or revelation. With friends, you reach out and then step away and wait for a response or a word or a comment or a conversation or an evening where you spend time. With children, you teach and guide and then step back. With flowers, you plant them lovingly in the ground and offer food and light ... then you step away and watch them bloom. 

If you hold too tightly, you loose control. (Thanks .38 Special for telling me that 30 years ago. Wish I'd listened then!)  And in holding too tightly or trying to control the "flow," you damage and miss the beauty. Sometimes, you even lose what (or who) it is you're trying so desperately to control.

In yoga, we flow from pose to pose. Sometimes there is one that is more challenging. When I find myself in a difficult pose, my mind and body struggle. I realize then that I'm fighting myself, attempting to control the pose and its affects. Sometimes it's better to step away -- to get out of the "pose" that is causing the stress. Another option though is to ease your grip on your body and your mind and relax. Breathe. Remember that what is happening truly lasts only a few moments. Then, you might find beauty in the subtle struggle.You might be able to settle into it. You might even discover a little extra strength as you relax and truly allow the endorphins to flow.

Okay, okay, I say to the Universe. I got it. Let It Go ... Surrender. Embrace the idea of Non-Grasping Impermanence. And like Elsa did so beautifully, Sparkle On and Evolve.

How to accomplish said Intention you ask? Ah ... that's sharp of you. See, for the first time in forever ... I don't know. I don't have a little list of steps or expectations. It's kinda neat. Like I don't know what pose is next for me in a Yoga class, I don't know what awaits me in the days ahead. But, I intend to honor and celebrate and enjoy them, resisting the urge to control, spin, manage, maneuver or bend the people and experiences I encounter to my will, My hope and wish is to meet what comes without swirling and seeking in my frenzied Type A control-freak way of old to shape the people and experiences into what I think they can be ...

I challenge you to discover the Beauty of Non-Grasping Impermanence. After all, any illusion you have regarding your ability to control what comes next is just that ... an illusion. Explore surrender and enjoy the beauty that comes back to you and the stress that falls away.

Let It Go ... Let It Go ... Can't hold it back anymore.... I once thought I should. But then I realized that Surrender offers its own unique gifts. Time to enjoy the surprise and adventure that greets me when I don't hold tight. 
                                                                                                                         -- Jenni