How often do we try to make things happen in our lives, then become frustrated or disenchanted when those things don’t seem to come fast enough or they don’t seem to be significant enough? We want a successful career, a great body, a happy life, yet it’s never quite good enough nor does it come fast enough. We want to live life on a constant high with instant gratification. We build a grand plan and attempt to make life work at all costs, even if it means shoving a square peg into a round hole. If we push hard, remain persistent, get ahead and keep our nose to the grindstone, success will come!
For a long time, I thought that was the best way to succeed; the only way to succeed. I thought if I worked long, hard hours, went above and beyond to “do” more than everyone else that eventually the success, the paycheck, the big corporate title and the acknowledgement would all be mine.
What if I told you that life is unplanned and when we believe it should be otherwise, we inflict deep pain on ourselves?
When I was a girl, I would spend a few weeks each summer with my grandparents who lived in Huron, Ohio on Lake Erie. Their home was very small, but a perfect fit for a retired couple. The tiny cottage was roughly 200 feet from the shoreline; close enough to hear the waves roll in at night or to receive a spray of water when a storm hit from the Northeast, but far enough away to safely avoid any significant damage.
One of my favorite activities when visiting was to walk down to the lake, sit on my favorite rock and watch the waves ebb and flow from the middle of lake to the shoreline. The favorite rock I gravitated to was like a platform that extended over the lake; my own lookout point of sorts. This rock was large enough to spread a blanket upon and rest peacefully; it was my safe haven. I could sit there for hours watching those waves and felt so grounded doing so. At 10 years old, I had no idea what feeling “grounded” was, but I knew it was serenity at its best.
At low tide, the water would wash over the rocks around me and I would remain safely positioned on my platform. As the day progressed and the tide began to shift closer to shore. I loved observing the waves as they moved in closer and closer to me. Sometimes I would sit and wait for the waves to strike a neighboring rock so that I could be directly sprayed. Other times, I would get up and reposition myself proactively. It just depended on the events of the day, how populated the beach was, what time it was or possibly even my mindset that particular moment.
Regardless of my proactive or reactive positioning from the change in tide, I always ‘went with the flow’. This was one of the few places I could just “be” – it was simple and effortless. Even though I was an overweight child and struggled with my self-esteem, I was able to escape the prison of my negative self talk temporarily by watching the ebb and flow of the waves. It gave me peace, it made me happy…and all I had to do was be present and allow myself to become immersed in the power of “here and now”.
Last year as I enrolled in the Martha Beck Institute, I quickly learned one of the most valuable teachings offered: Wordlessness. Martha describes this in Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, “Wordlessness shifts your consciousness out of the verbal part of the brain and into the more creative, intuitive and sensory brain regions. Which is more powerful? Well, the verbal region processes about forty bits of information per second. The nonverbal processes about eleven million bits per second. You do the math.”
The concept seemed so simple, but as I began to practice it over time, I was amazed at how much time I could spend in wordless bliss. Wordlessness allowed me to take in the beauty of nature, to be, to breathe. My life became more peaceful while at the same time, I became more “awake”. I also began to realize an insurmountable level of clarity evolving inside me. My truth began to emerge from within and resonated so clearly.
As I was speaking with a friend yesterday, I was sharing some changes I had made in my life and the various “to dos” I thought might be prudent as I was trying to plan out the next steps in my life. Graciously, my friend reminded me that I have been taking small steps in the right direction and that even a small change in a different direction can be significant over time. As we discussed my intended structure of life, I realized life is unplanned and when we believe it should be otherwise, we inflict deep pain on ourselves.
My friend then suggested perhaps there are no “to dos”, perhaps the only action is “to be”.
In this moment, the clarity was overwhelming.
As if it were yesterday, I imagined the platform rock, the lake, the waves and the peace I felt as I watched those waves for hours as a child. It hit me like a ton of bricks…I have practiced wordlessness since I was a child. I was also reminded that every time I’ve practiced wordlessness, even as a 10 year old, it led to greater peace, bliss and clarity.
If you’ve always been a “do-er” and feel that “doing” no longer works for you, I encourage you to sit in a quiet place for 60 seconds and practice wordlessness. Notice your breath, notice what you feel in your body (try finding your right big toe), notice your ability to BE.
I invite you to stop the glorification of ‘doing’ and would love to be your guide on this journey of life. My coaching packages are designed to create a gradual transformation from the one who does it all, gives it all and pleases all to an individual who experiences freedom, understanding, self-worth and peace.
Schedule your free 60 minute “Be Heard and Understood” strategy session with me today.