I’ve noticed I do a thing when I’m scared. If I’m not sure I can go the distance or if my reserves appear to be low, I get smaller and hold on tight. I hold my breath. I put blinders on and I try not to move very much.
I think, “it’s almost gone, the money, food, love, energy (or whatever it is), and I better ration what I have.”
One major problem with this tactic is that what I am then putting out to the universe is this: I don’t trust that everything will turn out ok.
I’m basically saying I believe in scarcity; I don’t believe in an abundant universe. And then this is the vibration I am putting out, and then this is what I get back.
And then I find evidence everywhere that it’s a finite reality we live in. “See, I’m overdrawn”, I say. “It’s true I don’t have enough money.”
“See”, I sigh, “my friend canceled our date to go to the movies. Nobody loves me.”
And, did I mention? I also stop breathing.
Today I have a little more energy than I have been having in the morning, so I decide to go for a run. In the rain.
I pull on my workout clothes, and my seemingly inappropriate footwear: vibram’s FiveFingers toe shoes. I gingerly prance my way down the driveway, slipping only mildly on the slushy ice and snow.
Once on the clear road, I set off at a trot, listening to my new go-to running soundtrack, music from the movie, Pitch Perfect.
My feet are cold, and my legs too. Silly me, I have cotton leggings on. After making it about five minutes down the road, I stop to take a picture of this telephone pole and then I turn around.
The wind is in my face now. Since I have decided not to “go the distance” today, I choose to make up for it in speed.
I set off at a sprint. Usually I last about 26 seconds on my first sprint. Today, I pass one telephone pole and as I reach for the second, I feel my body start to contract. My brain says, “this might be a stretch”, and my habitual reaction to this thought is to hunker down, make myself smaller, “conserve energy”, and basically stop breathing.
Whoa, I think. This is exactly what I was talking about with a friend last night. I was sharing with her about how I am taking a sabbatical, and as the money runs out, I notice myself start to hunker down and stop moving. She mentioned a neighbor of hers who lives in a house basically for free, just paying the taxes, and otherwise he doesn’t work much. She joked about how he mostly does nothing (or so it appears). “If I just stay very still, I won’t use much energy, and then I won’t have to buy much food to eat”, and so on.
I laughed at the truth in her playful banter. I laughed because I could see that in myself. I could see that there is a part of me that thinks the way to survive a “drought” in my life is to stop moving so I won’t get thirsty and then I won’t need to drink water.
I walk for a couple of minutes, letting my heart rate return to normal. “Don’t care about the money, money, money”, I sing along with the Barden Bellas.
I check in with my body about another sprint, and the energy seems available, so I set off. This time, as I get going, my mom’s voice pops into my head. “You don’t need to work harder to run faster, you just need to let go faster”, she says.
I’m momentarily transported to Steps beach on Nantucket when we were there for an overnight last August. I asked her for some feedback about my running. She is an Alexander Technique (AT) teacher, and I find her observations about movement so useful. She explained that in the model of moving with ease that the AT is based on, running faster isn’t about working harder, it is actually about releasing more, and more quickly.
As I pass the first telephone pole of my second sprint, I do my best to release more instead of working harder. I have some success, and feel a bit lighter. Still, I can tell that I am not using my breath fully, and there is a part of me that is scared to go for it, to really let go.
What if it doesn’t work? What if I don’t make it?
The thing is that this “letting go” business doesn’t really work when done half-assedly. I can’t let go part way and expect to feel the effects. Hanging on with one hand is SO MUCH MORE WORK!
Now I’m almost home and I feel like I’ve got one more sprint in me. This time, I really go for it. I release into the movement. I let my chest expand with great, full breaths. As I run, I can feel muscles working in my legs that I don’t usually notice, and probably don’t often engage either. It is as if I fully inhabit my body…all-wheel drive, in fifth gear–what power!
I am reminded of a paragraph I read in last year in Martha Beck‘s book, Finding You Way in a Wild New World. She suggests that,
“The only way…to live peacefully and abundantly in our wild new world is to let go of old models of thinking, working, decision making, and relating to others. If that doesn’t work, the only option is to let go even more. Surrender to the way things want to happen next, even though this often involves a vast and terrifying loss of control. Trust the magic that was born into your soul…so that the nature of your true self can emerge.”
The difference is incredible. I want more of this in my life–this power, this freedom. I want to let go…and expand into abundance.